If you can’t find a club, start one
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Rudy Balmater

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Rudy Balmater

By Rudy C. Balmater, membership committee chair, Rotary Club of Jakarta Gambir, Indonesia

In early 2019, I received an online membership inquiry from Dicky Armando, who lived in Pontianak in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. Pontianak is about 735 kilometres away from Jakarta and reachable by airplane in less than two hours. For many years, there has never been a Rotary presence in Pontianak. I realized that this was an opportunity to expand Rotary’s presence on the biggest island of Indonesia.

I called Dicky to learn his motivation for joining Rotary and determine how I could help. He said he  wanted to set up a library for children and enrich the quality of the reading materials available to children in the area. I told him we could help him with his children’s library. And to sustain his community project in the long run, I encouraged Dicky to set up a satellite club by inviting some of his friends in Pontianak to form the core of the satellite. I sent him several Rotary materials on how to set up a satellite club and the application form.

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Dicky Armando

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Dicky Armando

Within a short time, Dicky submitted the profile of eight candidates for satellite club membership and I forwarded these for the review and approval of my club’s board. Our Club President Faridz Dompas submitted the profile of the Rotary Satellite Club of Jakarta Gambir Pontianak to RI’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and within eight days, we got approval to form the satellite club in Pontianak.

Since then, our club has supported the satellite club with donations to buy more reading materials. The library has a bigger selection of reading materials and has been frequented by many children who live in the area. We also donated funds to help the satellite club purchase 20 water tanks for hand washing stations during this COVID-19 pandemic to be put in traditional market and public areas.

I regularly shared Rotary information with Dicky and also invited his members to join virtual meeting of our club. They have been attending most of our virtual meetings as well as district level virtual meetings. We hope to nurture them and motivate them to grow their club since our ultimate goal is to eventually transform the satellite into a regular club with a minimum of 20 members.

Following our success, I realize that opening a satellite club in new areas is one of the easiest ways to establish Rotary presence in far-flung places and also aids Rotary’s response to disasters if they occur in these remote areas.

Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of posts for Membership Month which Rotary celebrates in August. Learn more about managing your membership leads in My Rotary.

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