Membership Manual

REVISED – 2010


Rotary was started in Chicago in 1905 by Paul Harris, a young lawyer who wanted to form “a fellowship composed of just one man from each of many different occupations, without restrictions as to their politics or religion, with broad tolerance of each others opinions.” Meetings were rotated between the offices of the initial members, which gave rise to the names of “Rotary” and “Rotarian.” Rotary is the oldest and one of the largest of all the “service clubs.”

Rotary is now officially defined as “an organization of business and professional persons, united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”

Although Rotary began as an all male club, the Rotary Clubs of the United States led the movement to include women in the organization in the 1980’s. In 2001 Rotary International officially precluded clubs from limiting membership based on gender.

The Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club was founded in 1960. It is within Rotary District 6540, which covers the northern third of the state of Indiana.

The club is one of more than 24,000 local Rotary Clubs chartered by Rotary International operating in over 160 countries. There are over 1 million Rotarians throughout the world.


The official motto of Rotary International is “Service above Self.”


Rotary can also be defined by the Object of Rotary:

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

First – The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

Second – High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

Third – The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business, and community life;

Fourth – The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.


Rotary operates outside of the political arena and clubs are prohibited from issuing partisan political statements or from exerting pressure on government or political authorities. Rotary can operate as a platform for educational programs and discussions concerning political issues insofar as the topics affect service to vocations and the community as well as the pursuit of the Rotary objective of world understanding and peace.

Rotary also expects that clubs will comply with the laws of the country in which they exist and will operate in accordance with sensitivity for local customs and traditions.


The Rotary 4-Way Test is intended to be a measure of ethical conduct. Rotarians are encouraged to know and apply the 4-Way test in their private and professional lives. The 4-Way Test is:

Of things we think, say or do

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


One of the ways by which Rotary encourages fellowship is through the custom of addressing fellow Rotarians by their first name.


New Members may be assigned to serve as Greeters throughout the first year of their membership in the Club so that they may become familiar with their fellow Rotarians.  Greeters sit with the Secretary and Treasurer and help check-in Rotarians arriving for meetings.  New members will be assigned as Greeters by the Club President and will rotate as weekly meeting Greeters with other new club members.


Rotary has two types of membership: active and honorary. Each active member is classified by his or her profession. A club may have 5 persons per classification, or 10 percent of the membership in a single classification if the club has 50 or more members.


Rotarians are encouraged to wear their Rotary lapel pins, which identify their status as Rotarians. A pin is provided to each new member, additional pins may be purchased from the club secretary.


A membership badge listing the name and classification of membership is provided to each new Rotarian. Members are expected to wear their badges during meeting. The failure to wear a pin and badge at the meeting can result in a fine.


Membership in Rotary is by invitation. Active members may propose individuals of good character, business and social standing as prospective members to the club by submitting a membership proposal to the club secretary. The board of directors and the classification committee review the proposal and approve or disapprove the proposed membership. After board action, the proposer should be notified about the board action and if favorable, the proposed member shall be informed about Rotary and encouraged to make formal application for membership to the club. Upon receipt of a membership application, the name and proposed classification is published to the club and any member may file a written objection to the proposal within ten days of publication. If no objection is received within the allotted time period, the prospective member may be inducted. If a written objection is filed with the secretary, the board of directors reviews the proposal and can either approve or disapprove the proposed membership.

All regular members are urged to be on the look out for prospective members as they go through their business day. Occasionally clubs will conduct an organized membership drive for the purpose of strengthening their membership.


An initiation fee of $25, payable upon induction, is assessed of all new members.


The dues for the Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club are $110 per year, payable in installments of $55, twice a year. A portion of the annual dues is forwarded to the district and a portion is forwarded to Rotary International. Part of the international dues pay for individual subscriptions to The Rotarian for members.


Members are responsible for paying a monthly meal fee. Fees are due in advance for the entire month, payable at the first meeting of the month. Due to the need to establish a minimum meal guarantee with the club’s caterer, monthly meal fees are nonrefundable and there is no credit for missed meals without a make-up. The current price per meal is $9.

Members who are unable to eat the regular meals due to dietary restrictions may request of the board that the weekly fee be waived.

Members with seasonal residence or on extended vacation may request of the board that the weekly meal fee be waived.

Members who submit a make-up from another club for missed meetings will receive a credit of $9 for each make-up received.


The sponsoring member pays meal fees for guests. Visiting Rotarians pay their own meal fees. The club pays meal fees for guests who present programs.

The planning committee for the event sets meal fees for special events such as the installation banquet or Christmas party.


The rotating Sergeant-at-arms is responsible for extracting appropriate fines from the club membership for a wide variety of indiscretions. Offenses such as the failure to wear a pin, badge or tie are common transgressions. The maximum fine at a regular meeting is $1 as established by the “Cahoon Amendment,” named in honor of the past member responsible for the fine ceiling. There is no ceiling on fines at special events, however fines have traditionally been limited to a maximum of about $5.

The “Cahoon Amendment” was recently modified (7/2010) by the “Albert Addendum” that raised the maximum fine that can be levied at a regular meeting to $2.


At the beginning of each month, the club sings “Happy Birthday” to those members celebrating their birthdays. Members with birthdays pay a $5 fee for the serenade.


The club has periodic “white elephant” items provided by volunteer members for auction at regular and special meetings.


Additional revenue for the club and its service projects are sometimes raised through special pledge campaigns and fund raising projects. Our fund raising projects are usually product sales such as Christmas Greens or dinners such as the Fish Fry or the Barbeque Chicken sale.


The Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club currently meets on Tuesdays at 11:45 a.m. in the Library Service Center, Chesterton. Attendees begin the meetings by eating lunch, followed by the formal portion of the session.


Rotary has minimum attendance requirements. Effective July 1, 2007 Rotarians must maintain 50% attendance in any 6-month attendance period or their membership may be terminated for non-attendance. 30% of the attended meetings must be at the home club. Rotarians who have special temporary circumstances in their personal and professional lives are asked to communicate their problems and may ask the board for a leave of absence from membership and attendance requirements until such time as the special circumstance may be resolved.

A member who has a combined age and years of membership in Rotary equaling 85 years may request of the Board to be excused from meeting attendance requirements.


One of the benefits of Rotary is the opportunity to meet fellow Rotarians throughout the world through the practice of make-ups. Rotarians can maintain their attendance percentage through making up missed meetings by attending the meeting of another Rotary club. Make-ups must be made 14 days before or after a missed meeting. Attending monthly Board meetings and attendance at service projects can also be counted as make-ups. Make-up slips are available from the secretary of the club visited. Rotarians are still required to maintain at least 30% regular attendance at their home club without the benefit of make-ups.

The meeting dates, places and times of all Rotary clubs are listed in the Rotary International Directory. The Rotary International web site has an online meeting directory.

Make-ups can now also be made on-line by visiting the Rotary International web site at


Members who decide to leave the club need to submit a written resignation to the board. Otherwise the club will continue to pay dues to the district and Rotary International on behalf of an inactive member and be required to pay the caterer a minimum fee based upon the club’s total membership.


It is a tradition for visiting Rotarians to exchange club banners with the clubs that they visit. The Chesterton – Porter club already has banners from most all of our immediate neighbors and from many foreign clubs. We hope to have images of the banners we’ve collected posted on our web site soon. If you plan a visit outside of our area, please see the secretary for a supply of banners to be exchanged.


Rotary encourages its members to bring guests to its meetings, but the luncheon expense is the responsibility of the host unless the guest is providing a program.


Every Rotary club should make visiting Rotarians feel welcome at club meetings. Members should introduce themselves and insure that visitors are part of the fellowship of the meeting. Visitors are responsible for their meal fee, but are traditionally not fined.


The Sergeant-at-Arms is an officer of the club and serves a two-year term of office. Members may be assigned to serve as the sergeant for individual meetings on a rotating basis.


The Officers and Directors of the club are as follows:

  • President
  • President-Elect
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Sergeant-at-Arms
  • Director of Club Service
  • Director of Educational Service
  • Director of Community Service
  • Director of Community Service
  • Director of International Service
  • Rotary Foundation Director
  • Past President

The Sergeant-at-Arms and Directors of the Avenues of Service serve 2 year terms of office. The remaining officers serve 1 year terms. When elected to the office of Treasurer, it is the tradition of the club for that member to “move through the chairs” up to the office of President.

The duties and responsibilities of each office are those normally assigned to the office in other organizations with the addition of some Rotary specific responsibilities. For instance, the President-Elect has traditionally been responsible for coordinating conference and assembly attendance.


Rotary activities are usually organized into 4 avenues of service: Club Service, Educational Service, Community Service, and International Service. A Director is assigned to coordinate the activities and committees of each avenue of service. There is also a Director for the Rotary Foundation although the Foundation is not considered a formal avenue of service by Rotary International.


The following outline lists the committee structure for our club:


  • Attendance
  • Membership Development
  • Invocation
  • Classification
  • Public Relations (includes web site and weekly bulletin)
  • Installation Banquet and Christmas Party
  • Programs
  • Game of Chance
  • Ed Pearson Award
  • Nominating
  • Fellowship/Social


  • Job Shadowing
  • Career and Job Fair
  • STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education)
  • CHS Interact
  • RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)
  • Scholarships
  • Student of the Month
  • Literacy


  • Movies in the Park
  • Wine Tasting
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Food Pantry
  • Christmas Greens
  • Fish Fry
  • OZ Festival
  • Poinsettias


  • Youth Exchange
  • Rotary Convention
  • Group Study Exchange
  • Polio Plus


  • Rotary International Foundation
  • Paul Harris Fellowship
  • EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year)


The President-Elect has traditionally chaired all conference activities.

  • District Conference
  • District Assembly
  • Rotary International Convention
  • President Elect Training Seminar (PETS)
  • Club Officer Training Seminar (COTS)


The Attendance Committee is usually comprised of the Secretary, who is responsible for monitoring attendance and notifying members of attendance deficiencies. One of our Past District Governors pointed out that we do not terminate members for non-attendance, they terminate themselves.


The Membership Development Committee is charged with the responsibility of seeking new members for the club. It is through the addition of new members that we can expand our ability to serve.


Members are encouraged to sign up to lead the invocation at our weekly meetings.


The Classification Committee reviews proposed membership classifications and assigns the formal vocational classification for our new members.


The Public Relations Committee is responsible for publicizing our programs and services to the public. The committee is also responsible for communicating with the membership through the club’s web site and weekly bulletin.


The Installation Banquet and Christmas Party Committee plans, coordinates, and executes our 2 major social events of the year.


Quality programs are essential for a Rotary Club. A Program Coordinator is assigned the task of scheduling the weekly programs with the assistance of the Program Committee. It is recommended that programs be scheduled well in advance if possible and the schedule be given to the President and the Editor of the newsletter for publicity. Members with program suggestions are encouraged to forward them to upcoming committees.


The self proclaimed “hardest working committee in Rotary” holds weekly ticket and card drawings to raise supplemental income for the club. Sometimes the pot is 50% of the amount raised, sometimes an amount accumulated over time until a specific card is draw from a deck. If the drawing amount has been accumulated over time, the “Bob Gerometta Rule” is followed. The rule allows non-members to participate in the drawing, but winnings are limited to $50. If a non-member does win the card drawing, the remainder of the money rolls over into a new deck.


The Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club awards the Ed Pearson Award annually to the Outstanding Rotarian of the Year from the club. The award is named in honor of one of our Charter Members and Past Presidents. The 3 most recent recipients select the next winner.


The Nominating Committee is usually comprised of the 3 most immediate past presidents and serves to nominate a slate of officers and directors for election at the second regular club meeting in December. The terms of office begin on July 1, and end on June 30.


The Fellowship/Social Committee is responsible for planning and conducting other fellowship activities such as group outings and special dinners.


The Job Shadowing Committee works with the High School to arrange for students to shadow members and other professionals in the community to learn more about the normal activities of their day.


The Career and Job Fair Committee coordinates membership participation in the educational event.


The STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) Committee coordinates a program where a Rotary Club works with a high school for the purpose of motivating students to improve their school performance during their senior year. The major aspect of the program is that it is student driven and only facilitated by Rotarians. This program is FUN, INTERACTIVE, and can involve each and every Rotarian!


The Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club is the proud sponsor of an Interact Club at Chesterton High School. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting. Interact Clubs perform a minimum of 2 community service projects per year, one of which is intended to foster international understanding and goodwill.


For many years our club has sponsored students from our area to receive a Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA). The award entitles the student to attend a weekend leadership program at Camp Tecumseh.


The Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club awards a number of scholarships annually to Chesterton High School seniors.

  • The George Krivisky Scholarship is awarded to a student pursing a degree in Education.
  • The Alfred P. Nelson Scholarship is an open scholarship, awarded to a student seeking a degree in any field.
  • The Warren H. Canright Scholarship is awarded to a student seeking a degree in vocational studies, including nursing, drafting and industrial arts.
  • The Carmichael Young Leader Competition is a scholarship competition promoting the qualities of leadership in CHS senior high school students by showcasing their writing, public speaking, and creative skills. Participants will be judged based on their academic record, essay, talent, and short responses to topical questions during the live event.

There is also a graduate scholarship program operated through District 6540. Our club often seeks and selects candidates for the competition. Christmas Greens sales raised enough money for the construction of 2 foot-bridges at the site of the new Chesterton High School. The bridges cross the Swanson-Lamporte Ditch on the southeast corner of the property off of County Road 1050 North.


Another educational activity is the Student of the Month program. During the school year, the club honors an outstanding student from the school by inviting them to lunch. The student is asked to address the club and receives a certificate of recognition and a savings bond.


The Literacy Committee is charged with improving literacy in our community and the world. One of the projects in the past was to collect books to be placed in school classrooms.


The Movies in the Park Committee organizes the sale of popcorn and pop to the public for the traditional summer concerts and movies in the park. Rotary volunteers are encouraged to sign up to pop corn and swat skeeters.


The Wine Tasting Committee is charged with presenting the annual wine tasting fund raiser for the club.


The BBQ Chicken Committee organizes the annual chicken sale.


The Food Pantry Committee organizes fund raisers and assistance for special events needed to help support the pantry.


The Greens Committee organizes the annual greens sale that provides funding for our local student scholarships.


The Fish Fry Committee organizes our annual fish fry.


The OZ Festival Committee sells Green River floats at the festival.


The Poinsettia Committee purchases and delivers poinsettias to the residents of our local nursing home at Christmas time.


Rotary sponsors both an in-bound and out-bound youth exchange program through Rotary International. Exchanges can be either short or long term. A long-term exchange is made for a 1 year period. For each in-bound student we accept, we can nominate an out-bound candidate. Students usually stay with 3 or 4 different host families during the year that may or may not be Rotary families.

Our club has hosted numerous students in the past and has found the program to be a very rewarding endeavor. Hosting a student is a tremendous obligation and should not be taken lightly. All members are encouraged to participate in hosting duties except for member Jim Anton.


Rotary International holds a convention for all Rotarians somewhere in the world each year. Members of our club have attended some of these conventions and enjoyed learning more about Rotary and its good works as well as enjoying good fellowship with their fellow Rotarians.


Rotary operates an international Group Study Exchange Program through which teams of non-Rotarian professionals visit another country for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Local clubs nominate candidates to the program from within their area and host visiting teams. Our club has frequently cooperated with other clubs in the district in hosting teams.


In 1985, Rotary International undertook a program to immunize all of the children in the world against polio in an effort to eradicate the disease. The Polio Plus program has proven to be an amazing success and Rotary is well on the way to completing its goal.


The Rotary International Foundation functions as the educational and charitable arm of Rotary International and operates programs such as Scholarships, Group Study Exchange, Special Grants, and the Polio Plus program. Contributions to the Foundation can be made through individual donations or through the club.


The Chesterton – Porter Rotary Club awards an annual Paul Harris Fellowship Award to an outstanding individual through a contribution of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. Although Paul Harris Fellows are often named from among the membership, they do not need to be Rotarians. Past recipients select the current recipient.


A Paul Harris Fellowship Sustaining Membership program is currently in existence. Participating members make an annual contribution of $100 for 10 years and a member from the pool group is selected by lot each year to either receive or designate the recipient of the annual award.


The Paul Harris Society recognizes Rotarians and friends of The Rotary Foundation who contribute annually $1,000 or more to the Annual Programs Fund, PolioPlus, and PolioPlus Partners, or the Humanitarian Grants Program. Paul Harris Society Members are recognized annually by the District and are entitled to wear a PHS device on their Rotary pin. Receiving the device has been affectionately known as “earning your wings.”


Contributions to the Annual Programs Fund through the Every Rotarian, Every Year (EREY) initiative are the primary source of funding for Foundation programs, which cover more than 160 countries and geographical areas on seven continents. Rotarians are encouraged to contribute $100 per year to the program and their contributions are credited towards the Paul Harris Fellowship Sustaining Membership program.


There is usually an annual, regional World Affairs Conference for high school students. The conference usually examines a topic of international import through participative discussion. Our club usually transports a team of students from our district to participate.


Our district usually holds an annual district assembly and a district conference. The assembly provides a stimulating day of information and education about district and international programs for committee chairs and other members. The district conference serves like a mini-international convention for inspiration and fellowship. Spouses are encouraged to attend the conference.


The district provides an annual training seminar for the incoming Presidents.


The district also provides training for incoming club officers.


Perfect attendance for the year is recognized at the annual Installation Banquet. Multiple consecutive years of perfect attendance are also honored.


The District Governor visits all clubs within the district sometime during the year to evaluate their programs of service and to provide inspiration.


Being selected to be a Rotarian is considered an honor, but it also has its responsibilities. Rotarian’s are frequently admonished not to be a member to “eat, burp, and run” a maxim frequently recited by our former member George Kriviskey. Like many any other service organizations, Rotary provides its members with maximum satisfaction only when they participate in Rotary’s activities and contribute to a worthwhile program of service on behalf of the club and its community, while remaining faithful to the ideals espoused by Rotarians everywhere.


The Rotary International web site is

The Chesterton-Porter Rotary web site is

The club also maintains another, more content rich site at

Service Above Self