Denton has always been a service-minded town full of civic groups – heck, local “town & gown” education took root in large part due to the combined efforts of social clubs – and there’s likely a club for almost every cause you can think up. Problem is, a lot of civic service organizations are struggling to refresh their aging memberships, despite indications that so-called Millennials possess a strong dedication to public service. One new upstart group is messing with the formula to attract young professionals and entrepreneurs to downtown Denton Evening Rotary.
The Denton Rotary Club (#1779) has been locally active since 1920, and there are currently eight rotary clubs across Denton County. Rotary International started in 1906 as an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world but especially within our communities. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 member clubs worldwide and 1.2 million individuals called Rotarians have joined its ranks. "Service Above Self" is the primary motto of the organization. “[Rotary] helps make the community a better place, and it helps me become a better person,” assistant governor Gerald Robinson explains. “And getting this established helps makes the community better through service and service projects.”
The new Denton Evening Rotary club chapter began as a bold experiment for attracting a younger demographic by holding bi-monthly meetings after the workday in a more casual environment. With the sponsorship and guidance of experienced district Rotarians, the club is about to be chartered as a full-fledged organization on Monday March 27th. The evening club has already jumped into several community projects, helping the City of Denton with their spring planting on the downtown Denton Courthouse Square and collecting canned goods for families in need, among others. The enthusiasm of volunteers for pitching-in with community improvement projects is indeed encouraging.
One sure-fire way to overcome malaise is to get involved with local projects and organizations that can make a big difference in your own backyard. You can search a list of local nonprofits or maybe just search out a cause that is important to you, but one thing is certain: you will never regret becoming more active and involved in improving your community. The only way we can preserve and protect the community we want is to roll-up our sleeves and get out there to create it.
So what do you love to see in Denton? Be sure to tag your Intagram and Twitter pics with #WDDI so we can see and share all the coolness that you find!
Shaun Treat is a former professor at the University of North Texas and founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog, and is forever indebted to the great work of our local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s intriguing past. Be sure to check out our local museums curated by the fine folks at the Denton County Office of History & Culture, and follow @Dentonaut on Twitter for local happenings.