Posted by Bob Juettner
I just got back from two days in Phoenix and my brain got fried! I am going to punt and include an article from RI Today. I am not suggestion that we go rock climbing or have a paint ball fight but there is a lot to consider if we are going to attract younger, family members to Valle Verde Rotary.
 

After hours: Rotary Club of South Metro Minneapolis Evenings  

As the sun sets over the Minnesota River, it casts a nearby hotel into silhouette. Young people trickle through the hotel’s front doors and gather at a long wooden table in the bar for happy hour. It’s not actually happy hour, but that’s what they call this casual gathering before their club meeting.

Rotary Club of South Metro Minneapolis Evenings members Ashley Taylor, left, Krysta Peterson, Matt Lunde, and Kristen Schlough.

Twice a month, the Rotary Club of South Metro Minneapolis Evenings (SMME) meets here. It’s a nontraditional club, but that has less to do with the members’ average age – 33 – than the fact that they meet after work and tend toward activities not usually associated with Rotarians, such as rock climbing, WhirlyBall, and escape rooms. The club also organizes one or two social outings (such as rock climbing) every month, and another focused on community service. Those have included serving breakfast at the local Ronald McDonald House, planting trees, and reviewing résumés for English as a Second Language students.

SMME’s mix of social and service – of doing and giving – has been key for drawing young people. Take Matt Lunde, who, at 36, is now one of the club’s elder statesmen. He sits at the far end of the table and has brought a prospective member, a woman who once skied in the Junior Olympics. Lunde was one of SMME’s charter members, and, like many in the group, he isn’t from the Twin Cities. He came from Fargo, North Dakota.

Not long after he moved to Minnesota in 2008, Lunde learned from a fellow Fargo transplant about a new Rotary club that might interest him. “I liked the concept of it being after work,” he says, “not in the middle of the day, and not every week – but still being able to have some sort of community and to give back.”

When happy hour is over, the group walks down a carpeted hallway to a conference room that feels a little too cavernous, though no one seems to mind. 

“Eli, you want to recap paintball?” asks Ashley Taylor, the 2017-18 president. 

Eli Johnson is succinct: “We shot balls of paint at each other. It was really fun. And it only kind of hurt.”