By LANDON WOODROOF
One of the jobs of a Rotary Club president is to recruit new members. John P. Holt Brentwood Library Director Susan Earl knows this well.
Earl is a past president of the Brentwood Morning Rotary Club, and it was in that position that she began to notice that some potential Rotarians just could not make the meetings.
“I‘d ask people if they wanted to come to the morning meeting and they’d say, ‘What time? 7 a.m.? No way,’” Earl said.
Hearing that same refrain time and again gave Earl an idea. She decided to try to start a Brentwood Evening Rotary Club that would better fit many people’s schedules.
The Brentwood Evening Rotary Club is still in its early stages. It needs to reach 20 members to get an official charter. But it is already having regular meetings on the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Brentwood Suites Hotel at 622 Church Street. The meetings start at 6 p.m., but people start arriving at 5:30 or 5:45 p.m.
Earl’s intention is for the club not only to be a place that offers its members a more convenient meeting time, but also a place where people can come to in order to find a sense of community and a call to service.
That last point is crucial for Earl.
She envisions the Brentwood Evening Rotary Club as one that puts a premium on community service rather than just collecting donations.
“What we want to do is more active,” she said. “A lot of clubs I’ve visited they’re all into attendance or they’re into giving the money and not their time.”
That message seems to be resonating with people with whom Earl talks about the club.
“What I also got from the people who want to join this club so far is they want to give back,” Earl said. “Maybe they don’t have an outlet. Maybe they haven’t found a church yet that they want to attend or a temple, but here in Rotary you’re able to give back to the community.”
Many of those people, Earl has found, are busy parents who are shuffling kids to school in the morning and thus find it difficult to get to morning meetings.
So far, the burgeoning club’s 12 or so members have been brainstorming about possible charities that they want to help out. Earl said they are focusing on organizations in Williamson County first, but would be willing to consider any charities in Middle Tennessee that could use the club’s time and energy.
The club’s meetings are a little bit different than some others. For example, it meets just twice a month, another strategy to get people with busy schedules involved.
The plan is for one of those meetings to feature a speaker, as is typical at many Rotary Clubs, but the other meeting of the month will be dedicated to coming up with game plans for different types of community service.
Earl stressed that you do not have to live in Brentwood or even Williamson County to join.
“If you live or work close to Brentwood, we’d welcome anybody who wants to give back,” she said.
It costs $15 to join the club and then there is a $100 quarterly fee as well. As of late February, Earl said the club had signed up about 12 out of the 20 members it needs.
If you are interested in joining the club, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org