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Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas The challenge: Rotary is old — in more ways than one. Founded in 1905, Rotary Club is an international service organization with 34,000 member clubs dotting the globe. They do everything from leading polio vaccination campaigns in developing countries to raising money for children’s charities. But — as you might expect from a club founded by white businessmen — it’s old in another way too: Your typical Rotary group gathering has more than a few gray hairs and jowls going on. This isn’t a blockbuster observation. They’re more than aware of the image problem; indeed, there’s a playfully grumbled admonition among members that Rotary must be careful lest it become too “male, pale and stale.” “‘Rotary? Isn’t that an old man’s thing?’ We get that a lot from people who don’t know what Rotary is about,” says chapter President Betsy van Deusen, president of the Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas. The solution: With a boost from some longtime valley Rotarians, Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas launched in September 2010 as part of a “new generations” initiative to de-gray the organization. Not only do Red Rock Rotary members skew younger — most are in their twenties and thirties — but their chapter boasts other key differences that aim

to attract Gen Xers and Yers. For instance, rather than ask members to reach into their pocketbooks, they more often ask them to reach into their calendars — and set aside time for the hands-on projects they attack each month. (In November, they’ll be walking dogs at Lied Animal Shelter and making chew toys; in December, they’re helping foster kids pick out clothes during the “Santa Clothes” charitable shopping spree.) “They’ve proven to be one of the most active of all the Rotary clubs in town in terms of hands-on projects,” says Dave Cabral, a longtime Rotarian who helped shepherd the club along to fruition. And no sleepy country club lunch meetings for these guys. Dues are kept low and the weekly meetings happen after work — and at a lively southwest valley bar, no less, where the young Rotarians unwind with a glass of wine or beer (on their own dime) before diving into the dirty work of saving the world. “I’m from a small town — Elko — where people don’t hesitate to help each other,” says member Patrick Sullivan. “That’s what I was looking for in Rotary.” He and other young people found it — and now they want to share it. (redrockrotarylv.org) — Andrew Kiraly

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Desert Companion - November 2012  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada

Desert Companion - November 2012  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada