From Rotaractor to Rotarian: Embracing Service, Fellowship, and Leadership

By Randell Balasan | Posted on July 1, 2024

The journey from Rotaractor to Rotarian is marked by a deepening commitment to service, fellowship, and leadership. For Rotaractor turned Rotarian O’Neil Nick Paira, this path began over a decade ago, culminating in his induction into the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City West on November 5, 2021. With 12 years of experience as a Rotaractor and nearly two years as a Rotarian, Nick’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of Rotary.

This article explores his insights into the qualities that make an effective Rotarian, the dynamic relationship between Rotary and Rotaract, and practical advice for young leaders striving to make a difference through Rotary International.

PDRR Nick with IPP Ernan Natividad and an official from Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 during the harvesting of the Cultivar en la agua project of the Rotaract Club of ZC West

How long have you been a Rotarian?

    I was inducted as a Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City West last November 5, 2021 during the Club Governor’s Visit. I was inducted by PDG Edwin To. I am on my 1 year and 9 months as a Rotarian, but 12 Years as a Rotaractor. 

    What would you say is the best thing about being a Rotarian?

      The best thing about being a Rotarian is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the local and global communities through service, fellowship, and leadership. 

      Rotarians are committed to promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, supporting education, and addressing various social and humanitarian challenges. Being a Rotarian allows us to collaborate with like-minded individuals who share a passion for making the world a better place.

      In summary, the best thing about being a Rotarian is the chance to be part of a dedicated group of individuals who collectively strive to create positive change in the world while fostering personal growth and connections along the way.

      PDRR Nick during the Tree planting activity of the Rotaract Club of ZC West in partnership with Marine Battalion Landing Team 11

      Rotary-Rotaract Relationship

      As a leader who creates hope for the world, what do you think are the ideal characteristics of a Rotarian should a Rotaractor emulate?

        Presently, I am a dual member (Rotarian-Rotaractor). As a leader who creates hope for the world, a Rotarian should embody a set of ideal characteristics that can serve as an inspiration for Rotaractors and others alike. These characteristics not only contribute to the success of Rotary’s mission but also create a positive and lasting impact on the communities they serve. Here are 8 qualities that a Rotaractor should emulate which I learned from a Past District Governor and a youth advocate (not to mention a name):

        1. Service-oriented: A Rotarator should have a strong commitment to serving others, whether through community projects, humanitarian efforts, or volunteer work. Putting the needs of others before oneself is a fundamental trait of effective Rotarian leadership;
        2. Integrity: Integrity is the cornerstone of a Rotarian’s character. Upholding high ethical standards, and being honest, transparent, and accountable in all actions foster trust and respect within the Rotary community and beyond;
        3. Compassion: Showing genuine care and empathy for others is essential. A Rotaractor should be able to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate understanding and compassion, especially when addressing social and humanitarian challenges;
        4. Leadership: A Rotaractor should lead by example, displaying leadership qualities that inspire others to take action. 
        5. Collaboration: Rotary is built on the power of collaboration. A Rotaractor should actively seek partnerships and collaborations with other individuals, organizations, and communities to maximize the impact of their efforts and promote sustainable change.
        6. Adaptability: The world is constantly evolving, and a Rotarian should be adaptable and open to change. Flexibility in approach and a willingness to innovate can lead to more effective solutions to complex challenges. 
        7. Diversity and Inclusion: Embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity is crucial for Rotary’s success. A Rotarian should respect and value differences in culture, perspective, and background, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and heard.
        8. Continuous Learning: Learning is a lifelong journey. A Rotaractor should be curious, open to new ideas, and committed to personal growth and development, both in terms of leadership skills and understanding the complexities in their communities.

        By embodying these qualities, a Rotaractor becomes a beacon of hope, leading by example and inspiring others to join the cause of creating positive change in the world. These characteristics not only contribute to the success of Rotary’s initiatives but also contribute to building a better, more harmonious society.

        Spray and Neuter project with the members of the Rotaract Club of ZC West

        What are some ways that Rotarians and Rotaractors can work together effectively?

          Rotarians and Rotaractors can work together effectively by leveraging their unique strengths and collaborating in ways that maximize the impact of their efforts. Joint projects present compelling avenues to pool of resources and expertise, with Rotaractors infusing youthful energy and innovative ideas, while Rotarians provide experience and guidance. Skill-sharing initiatives allow Rotarians to offer insights like project management and fundraising, while Rotaractors bring their contemporary skills in technology and communication to the table. Furthermore, fostering mentorship relationships permits Rotarians to impart wisdom to Rotaractors, aiding in leadership development and career growth.

          Collaborative planning not only ensures well-rounded efforts but also encourages diverse perspectives and enriched decision-making. Engaging in joint meetings, events, and social activities nurtures a sense of camaraderie, and strengthening ties between Rotarians and Rotaractors.  

          By working together in these ways, Rotarians and Rotaractors can create a dynamic synergy that benefits both groups and amplifies the positive impact they can have on their communities and the world at large.

          How will you strengthen the relationship between Rotary Clubs and their sponsoring Rotaract Clubs? How can you encourage Rotarians and Rotaractors to form good working relationships?

            As a Rotaractor, I was also struggling before on how to strengthen the relationship between our sponsoring Rotary club. So here is my advice on how to build good working relationships with our Rotarians. 

            Chaired the 16th DRRETS 2023 for the incoming District Rotaract Representatives of the Philippines held in Zamboanga City

            First, it’s important to create regular opportunities for both groups to meet and interact. This could involve joint meetings, workshops, or community projects where they work side by side. Open communication is key; sharing ideas, plans, and successes helps build understanding. Rotarians could offer guidance and mentorship to Rotaractors, helping them learn and grow. In return, Rotaractors can bring fresh perspectives and energy to the partnership. Recognizing each other’s contributions, even in small ways, boosts morale and shows appreciation. Overall, by focusing on teamwork, mutual respect, and shared goals, Rotarians and Rotaractors can build strong, friendly relationships that benefit their communities and the world.

            Rotaract Advice

            In Rotary, networking, collaboration, and cooperation are essential. What advice would you give to Rotaract Clubs that wish to expand their network for better project implementation?

              Expanding a Rotaract Club’s network for better project implementation is a valuable endeavor that can lead to increased resources, knowledge, and support. Here are some pieces of advice for Rotaract Clubs looking to enhance their networking, collaboration, and cooperation:

              1. Attend Rotary Events: Participation in Rotary meetings, conferences, and events provides an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, and learn from experienced Rotarians. These gatherings foster a conducive environment for networking and partnerships.
              2. Leverage Social Media and Online Platforms: Utilize social media platforms, such as Facebook, and Instagram, to connect with other Rotaract Clubs, Rotary members, and potential collaborators. Join online Rotaract District events and discussion groups to exchange thoughts and experiences.
              3. Engage in Community Activities: Get involved in local community service projects and events. This does not only help in making a positive impact but also exposes your club to potential partners who share your passion for service.
              4. Engage in Inter-District Initiatives: Collaborate with Rotaract Clubs from different districts or regions. This broadens your reach and exposes your club to diverse perspectives and experiences.
              5. Focus on Shared Goals: When seeking partnerships, ensure that the potential collaborators share similar goals and values. This alignment increases the chances of successful cooperation.

              Remember, networking and collaboration are ongoing efforts. Building meaningful relationships takes time and consistent engagement. By following these guidelines, Rotaract Clubs can expand their network and create a stronger foundation for impactful project implementation.

              During the Patak Polio project of the Rotaract Club of ZC West. A 2-hour walk going to the community

              What will you suggest to the Rotaractors to increase their donation to the Rotary Foundation and End Polio?

                I had been the Rotaract District Rotary Foundation Chairperson for the past 3 years in District 3850, serving 3 DRRs of our District. During these years, I have increased our contribution to TRF and helped Rotaract clubs understand the benefits of donating to TRF. I am a regular donor of the TRF too. Here are my suggestions on how to increase their giving to TRF. 

                1. Raise Awareness: Educate Rotaractors about the importance of these causes and the impact of their contributions. Attend Grant management seminars for Rotaractors in your district. 
                2. Incorporate Fundraising: Organize events, campaigns, and initiatives to raise funds.
                3. Recognition: Recognize and celebrate members’ contributions to inspire others.
                4. Share Success Stories: Highlight the positive outcomes of these initiatives to showcase the difference donations make.
                5. Engage with Rotary: Attend Rotary events and collaborate with Rotary clubs to enhance support.

                Through this, Rotaractors will get more knowledge about TRF and will contribute more. As I always said every TRF talks, “If you want to do good in the world, The Rotary Foundation is the best entity we have. Even small contributions create significant impacts and contribute to positive change worldwide”

                What do you think inspires Rotaractors to become Rotarians? How will you influence Rotaractors to continue their leadership journey as Rotarians?

                  It took me 5 years before I decided to join our sponsoring Rotary Club. What made me join? The shared commitment to service, personal growth, and making a difference often inspire me as a Rotaractor to become a Rotarian; I would influence Rotaractors to continue their leadership journey as Rotarians by highlighting opportunities for impactful projects, mentorship, global networking, and higher leadership roles, emphasizing alignment with Rotary’s values and the lasting social impact achieved through sustained engagement. Continue your journey with Rotary— you’ll know your purpose in life. 

                  By underscoring these aspects, Rotaractors can be motivated to transition into Rotarians and maintain their leadership journey, contributing to Rotary’s mission of creating positive change in the world.

                  PDRR Nick with the members of the Rotaract Club of ZC West during a 2-hour walk in the community of Sitio Imelda, Tolosa, Zamboanga City for the Patak Polio Project

                  What advice will you leave to the young leaders who are just starting their journey as part of Rotary International? This question applies to both dual members and newly inducted Rotaractors.

                    To the young leaders starting their journey in Rotary International, whether as dual members or new Rotaractors, I’d advise embracing the ethos of service and learning. Engage enthusiastically in community projects aligned with your values, while also using Rotary as a platform for personal and professional growth. Build relationships with fellow members, seek mentorship, and fearlessly step into leadership roles. Uphold Rotary’s values, leverage technology, and remain open to continuous learning. 

                    Remember that your involvement is a two-way street, offering both the chance to contribute and the opportunity to gain invaluable experiences.

                    I always quote this in every Basic Orientation Seminar: “The things we take for granted is what someone else is praying for. So, together, let’s commit to putting the needs, expectations, and growth of our members and community at the center of all we do.”

                    PDRR Nick assisting the Veterinarian in Spay and Neuter project in partnership with the Office of the City Veterinary of Zamboanga

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