“This is a special club. I have heard so much about Cleveland in the time I have been in this district, and I was really looking forward to coming here,” Bailey said.
During his talk, Bailey focused on this year’s theme of “peace through service” and this year’s goals of the organization. This theme was chosen by 2012-13 Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka.
Tanaka will be holding four peace summits in support of this theme. One of these forums will be in Oak Ridge, according to Bailey. Bailey said this peace forum will focus on peace through science and technology as well as peace through human understanding.
“Tanaka has encouraged and challenged every club worldwide to have some kind of peace-related forum, peace-related activity this year,” Bailey said.
Bailey said there were a number of topics that clubs could focus on. One club in the district coordinated an anti-bullying program at a school in its area.
The governor also reminded Rotarians of the goals of their organization.
“The No. 1 goal of Rotary International this year is the eradication of polio,” Bailey said. “When Rotary first undertook worldwide leadership of the eradication of polio some 25 years ago, there were upwards of 350,000 new cases of polio per year. As of this week, this year, 150 cases.”
There are only three countries — Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan — that have never been totally free of the disease.
In order to be declared completely polio-free, a country must have no new cases for three years.
He said emphasis in the United States is still important.
“We have not had a case in the U.S. since the late 1970s, but we are one plane ride away. All it would take is one infected individual and we could have an outbreak,” Bailey said. “Only 88 percent of all American children have been vaccinated for polio.”
Bailey commended the club on its continued support of the Rotary International Foundation, which funds the organization’s global initiatives, including providing polio vaccinations in developing countries.
“Rotarians in this district last year contributed over $440,000 into the Rotary Foundation, and your club has been a real leader in that,” Bailey said.
The foundation also provides funding in the form of grants to clubs for individual projects, such as building wells.
Another goal of the organization is to encourage strategic planning within individual clubs. Bailey said this would serve as a blueprint for what the club hopes to accomplish in the next five years. Nationally the organizations is offering clubs the opportunity to receive training in strategically planning goals and growth.
Finding and cultivating community leaders is a major part of this. Bailey experienced this when he was a member of a Rotary Club in Florida, where a fellow member challenged him to become club president.
“If he had not challenged me that day I would probably still be sitting in the back row at a Rotary meeting, or I might not be a member at all,” Bailey said.
Bailey said determination is what creates successful leaders.
The governor said when people know what Rotary does it makes them more likely to become members.
Bailey said his wife, Pat, has been very supportive of his work in Rotary.