Vocational Service
Related Pages
Photo Albums
Vocational Service at Rotary Club of Guelph
Vocational Service Leaders 2022-2023:   
Vocational Service has been a major emphasis of Rotary since its inception by Paul Harris, in Chicago in 1905.  
“No matter how much we like to think that Paul Harris and his friends created Rotary for such noble ideas of humanitarian service, goodwill and world understanding – it just was not the case.  Rotary was started for business reasons and professional purposes.  Paul Harris had the unusual idea that friendship and business might mix and result in even more business!” 
With this in mind, originally only one representative from each business or profession was invited to join a club.  
“So from the very beginning, Rotary membership was based on classifications, and classifications were based solely on one’s business, profession or vocation. But by 1912, Rotarians were no longer required to exchange business with one another. And gradually ‘Service Above Self’ became the Rotary slogan."
The Forgotten Avenue of Service
Of Rotary’s five Avenues of Service, Vocational is the hardest to define, so it is sometimes called the “Forgotten Avenue of Service.” While other Avenues usually involved groups of Rotarians, Vocational Service is generally conducted by individual members “encouraging and fostering high ethical standards.”  
Today in the Rotary world and specifically in the Rotary Club of Guelph, all individuals, regardless of their occupation, are welcomed if they are willing to serve our community.
But it is interesting to consider how one serves, based on one’s “vocation”. We all bring different expertise to the club, and complement one another. Consequently we grow as individuals and as team members working towards community and club goals.
All new Rotarians are expected to present a “Classification Talk” that helps members get to know one another better and helps new members focus on how they can best serve the community with the talents and expertise they have developed thus far in their working and personal life.
Rotarians also have a lot to share with each other, with youth and with members of the wider community who can learn and benefit from their expertise.  In this way, one uses one’s “vocation” as a conduit of service. 
Some of the current programs that fit within the Avenue of Vocational Service at our club are:
Camp Enterprise – a 3 day program for senior high school students with a particular interest in business and entrepreneurship. 
Science Fair – this program links university professors and high school students in promoting the use of science to learn and solve problems within our society. Students choose a particular topic and through research,  provide often a unique and educational presentation in competition with their peers.
College Heights Mentoring – The Rotary Club of Guelph has had an ongoing relationship with the College Heights Secondary School in order to encourage students who often go directly into the work force from high school, using the hands on training that CHSS gives them. The pandemic has taught us that our essential workers keep us all healthy, fed and provided for in many very important ways. In addition, the Rotary Club of Guelph, in honour of former Rotarian Don Bower, each year provides a scholarship to a worthy CHSS graduate, to provide a “leg up” for their continued education or work place employment.
RYLA – This Rotary Youth Leadership Award program teaches leadership skills to young adults over the age of 18. The program provides hands-on situations and case studies that encourage participants to be leaders in the future within their chosen fields.
Career Education Council – The Rotary Club of Guelph was instrumental in the formation of this organization a few decades ago, and is looking to re- ignite club interest and involvement in the CEC, connecting students with workplaces.
Extract from: A Century of Service (2003) David C. Forward
Vocational Service – Rotary’s Original Idea – https://clubrunner.blob.core.windows.net>stories
Barb Holmes