New president updates what membership looks like – with the Commons and at the Rotary

“I don’t fit the mold,” says David McKellar, the new president of the Rotary Club of Sackville, as of this year.

He is referring to the club and its unconventional relationship with the Sackville Commons. Sackville’s Rotary club belongs to Rotary International, an international service organization that brings together professional leaders who serve communities at the local and international levels. 

As a member, the club currently rents one of the Commons’ storage cells and does their weekly toonie count in the conference room, which has been “the maximum amount of our involvement,” according to McKellar. 

“[But] we want to change that,” says McKellar, speaking on behalf of the club. “We are willing to increase our role as a member.” 

Currently home to over 30 members, including business, tax, and legal professionals, the club boasts a professional network of potential great value to entrepreneurs and young professionals. 

“We’re kind of an unusual member

of the Sackville Commons, but I think

we have a lot to offer.”

McKellar sees the Rotary as being a resource for other members of the Commons seeking financial training or advice on tax, law, and company or partnership formation.

Yet McKellar’s statement also holds true for the changes currently happening at the club. Under its new leadership, Sackville’s rotary club is beginning to break out of its mold of same-time, same-place weekly breakfast meetings.

These meetings – and the attendance rules that accompany them – have been the familiar set-up to long-time Rotary members. However, the traditional meeting structure has proven incompatible with the lives of younger professionals.

A Rotarian celebrates with the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park on June 2019. / photo submitted by Rotary Club of Sackville

“Traditional clubs tend not to track [monitor the participation of] younger people, especially nowadays where in a young family both parents are working and have no time,” says McKellar. “We are trying to find a way to allow young people to choose to attend meetings as they can.”

McKellar has also done away with other traditional elements of Rotary meetings – specifically, the rituals of singing the national anthem and saying Christian prayers.

“I’ve just blown that up, and said ‘No, we’re stopping that,’” says McKellar, “We all know the national anthem, but there is a time and a place, and this is not the time and the place.”

The meeting changes are not the only initiative towards attracting younger members. Nationwide, the Rotary has introduced a new membership category, the young professional category, with more affordable membership fees. 

McKellar hopes that the new membership structure will not only attract new members, but also bridge the gap between the Rotary and Rotaract, the Rotary-sponsored youth organization active on the Mount Allison campus.

The Commons can also look forward to new membership changes. Under the newly introduced “corporate member” category, McKellar looks forward to the co-operative becoming a member of the Rotary.

“I don’t think it’s ever been done quite before,” says McKellar, who is currently unsure what this type of membership would even look like.
One thing is certain though: While the relationship between the Commons and the Rotary club is still young and underdeveloped, it is full of promise. “We’re kind of an unusual member of the Sackville Commons, but I think we have a lot to offer,” says McKellar. 

Rotary and Rotaract members mingle at the 2018 corn boil.
/ Photo submitted by Rotary Club of Sackville

Rotarians are currently looking forward to their community service project with Salem and Dorchester public schools. Rotarians will be handing out picture dictionaries to grade three students on Oct. 10 and 11.

If you’re interested in joining Sackville’s Rotary club, new members are welcome to its weekly meetings. Be sure to check the times and locations, which are posted on the front page of SackvilleRotary.ca.

Questions can also be directed to rotaryclubofsackville@gmail.com

Curious about what the Commons has to offer? We are open weekdays 9–5 at 64 Main St. Our team will be happy to show you the space and discuss how our flexible membership plans can suit your needs.

Information about our member categories and perks is also available at coworksackville.com/memberships.