Before COVID-19 made in-person Rotary meetings impossible, one Rotary Club had already begun to meet online.
Members of the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland talked about the transition to an online club during the Oct. 29 Waunakee Rotary Zoom meeting.
Judith Neal lives in Oconomowoc, but is a member of the club, which is based in Edinburgh. Joining her on Zoom were Gordon, the secretary, and Lynne Nelson, the president, both founding members.
Lynn said their club had 25 members and was based in the businesses park. As their members moved away for jobs in other countries, their membership dwindled, and they were unable to do projects on their own, only in partnership with other clubs.
The members decided they didn’t want to be a traditional club, meeting in one place weekly with speakers and with all the different routines. They knew they would have to make a change or give up.
The worked on a website and began to meet online, and soon, members from all over the world began to join. Another attraction for some members was the reduced membership fee, since they don’t have a meal at the meeting.
Judith happened on the club when she was living in Scotland and waiting for a ride from her husband. She met a woman and struck up a conversation after complimenting the woman on her dog. The topic of Rotary came up, and Judith learned the woman was a member of the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland and then joined herself.
The club has been using Zoom for five years and some members work on projects on their own.
The e-club also works on projects at a school in Malawi.  There they are raising funds to rebuild the Thondwe Primary School Bridge, which was wiped out in a storm. Once restored, the bridge will allow the students to access their school. They have also built toilet facilities for the children and fundraised to pay carpenters there to build desks.
Members did a virtual fundraiser run for reforestation in Malawi, as well.
“There’s no end to the projects,” Judith said. “We’re still at the beginning.”
Lynne said it is something the members can all get excited about.
Likely, Rotary Clubs in Scotland won’t get to meet in person again for a long time, Lynne said. She noted that the country had just gone on another lockdown, closing bars and restaurants.
As clubs throughout the world are learning about the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland, they are reaching out to learn more as they try to maintain their club’s viability during this pandemic.

Other news:
-There is still time to participate in World Polio Day.
Birthdays: Nov. 5, Nick Mischler; Nov. 9, Ryan Knight; Nov. 10, Troy Salisbury.
Anniversaries: Nov. 6, Tom and Kari Roepke; Nov. 9, Bill and Jeanette Erickson.