The theme for the 2014-2015 Rotary year is “LIGHT UP ROTARY”.  A perfect theme and concept as we Rotarians in Idaho’s District 5400 look for ways to strengthen our clubs, contribute our part to eradicate polio, and serve humanity around the world.
How do we LIGHT UP ROTARY in the world?  I suggest we start right here in our clubs and take time to learn the “international” part of Rotary International.  Let’s take time in our club meetings this year to learn about the global impact of the Rotary Foundation, and how our clubs are part of that great movement.  Let’s talk about polio eradication, knowing that experts are predicting that this horrific disease will be eradicated from earth by 2018.  Make sure every Rotarian meets and talks to one of our Rotary Youth Exchange international guests.
How do we LIGHT UP ROTARY in our communities?  I have come to believe that every Rotary community in our district is stronger than those without Rotary influence.  Look at the parks, the monuments, the community assets built by earlier generations of Rotarians.  Now it’s our turn; we LIGHT UP ROTARY in our communities by sinking our Rotarian claws into meaningful, relevant projects in our communities so that all citizens from all walks of life want to become part of what we are.  I suggest the Rotary International global polio eradication project started in 1985 can serve as a model for any community based project…..audacious, huge, relevant, and one that other powerful individuals and organizations want to join.   Each club must ask whether their community projects are more like eradicating polio, or more like having a bake sale.
Finally, we must LIGHT UP ROTARY in the hearts of our Rotarians.   Sometimes we get so busy with the what of Rotary, we forget the why.  Let us never forget Rotary’s unique selling proposition; Service Above Self.  I use poetic license to slightly re-arrange the words of the beautiful prayer of St. Francis:
    Lord, make us, as Rotarians, instruments of your peace.
    Where there is hatred; let us, as Rotarians, sow love.
    Where there is injury; let us, as Rotarians, bring pardon.
    Where there is discord; let us, as Rotarians, teach harmony.
    Where there is error; let us, as Rotarians, defend truth.
    Where there is doubt; let us, as Rotarians, demonstrate faith
    Where there is despair; let us, as Rotarians, deliver hope.
    Where there is sadness: let us, as Rotarians, bring joy.
    Where there is darkness; let us as Rotarians, be a light
Let us LIGHT UP ROTARY in world, in our communities, and in our hearts.