Posted by Erik Jorgensen

District Governor John LoBosco joined us on Friday, October 19 at the italian Heritage Center to bring us up to date on happenings in our sprawling District 7780, which extends from greater Portland through the New Hampshire Seacoast region, and into northeastern Massachusetts. Three months into his year of service, DG John has been focusing on refining the district’s strategic plan and promoting the many good works being conducted by clubs.

The plan, which was developed following input at “visioning sessions” held across the district, focuses on four areas: public image, membership, collaboration, and leadership.  

John noted that in the past year, our district membership has increased, which is good news. Currently the membership stands at about 1600. He is hoping to see that number ramp up to and pass 2000 and is urging clubs to shoot for 10% growth per year. This is a figure which has to be higher in fact, to offset the fact that Rotarians age and move. And while he did admit that the average Rotarian age is on the older side, he hastened to note that Rotarians tend to live longer. No joke. 

The challenges facing Rotary membership development are not unique in a world that is apparently moving faster than in the past. Lions Clubs and Kiwanis for example, are experiencing similar challenges. He spoke of some inter-club cooperative projects that have been successful and urged members to think broadly about how best to serve, even if it requires consorting with Lions. 

The District is promoting “Little Free Libraries,” those small “leave-one-take-one” book kiosks that have sprouted up in recent years. He believes that every club should consider installing and maintaining one of them. He is considering an interclub construction project, whereby clubs could join forces on a weekend and build a bunch of them together. 

He had good things to say about many of the club projects being undertaken in Portland and elsewhere, noting “Crutches4Africa,” “Hearts and Hands” and the new work that started in our club around finding ways to address the opioid use disorder crisis, among others. He also spoke about the rise of RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). Watch for a new interactive map of international projects from the district on the website, with the goal of sharing expertise, best practices, and collaboration.

Finally, he announced a special district conference to occur next spring, a family picnic in June at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth. There will be kite flying, kids’ events, and a glimpse of the new Children’s Garden at the park, which the South Portland – Cape Elizabeth Rotary club has been involved in developing. Stay tuned for more information on that event.


(Photo L-R:  District Governor John LoBosco, President John Curran and Assistant Governor Bill Anderson.)