By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Communications & Conferences
Sertoma is lucky to be an organization full of members and volunteers devoted to improving the lives of others through Service to Mankind. We have been known as leaders in our communities since our founding in 1912, and 112 years later, we are proud to say that this hasn’t changed.
Part of being of service as an organization is creating a culture of harmony and kindness within our clubs. Many clubs operate with few, if any, substantial interpersonal issues. However, there are always isolated incidents, and it is during those times that we want to remind our members about the importance of acting benevolently and in the best interest of the club.
This is especially true when external factors and touchy subjects have tensions running high. Election years are a perfect example, reminding us that it’s always best to keep political beliefs and decisive issues outside of our club meetings and volunteer work.
It can also be helpful for key club leaders to decide as a team early on what will be permitted as far as allowing candidates to attend, participate in or speak at club events and meetings. Make sure to communicate those decisions to your fellow members and to set basic ground rules for conduct should an issue arise. Sertoma Executive Director Jason Camis is a great resource if your club needs help with ideas on how to handle the delicate situation of election-year politics. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An editorial in the Alberta Lea Tribune piqued this topic in the minds of our staff in January. The author shared the story of a disheartening incident between members at a local, non-Sertoman service club meeting. The editorial board made sure to note in its conclusion that its intention was not steer people away from joining, but rather, to remind them that clubs need service-minded people to become members. It’s vital to serving the needs of our communities.
As you think about this topic within your own club, we suggest taking an honest inventory of how your club conducts itself both privately and publicly. Do you present a welcoming environment where newcomers and veteran members alike feel welcome? Are your meetings contentious or must-attend gatherings? Do your board and key volunteer teams work well together?
We are at our best when we are working together. Make sure that you are conducting yourselves, individually and collectively, like an organization that you would want to join if you were just learning about Sertoma today.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford