One of the more colorful traditions of Rotary is the exchange of club banners. Rotarians traveling to distant locations often take banners to exchange at make-up meetings as a token of friendship.
The exchange banners reflect clubs' hometown pride and their connection with the international organization. In addition to incorporating the Rotary emblem, banners often include symbols or imagery of a club's town, region, or country. Others represent local craftsmanship or cultural traditions by displaying leatherwork, weaving, embroidery, or hand-painted designs.
By 1959, exchanging banners had become so popular that the Rotary International Board of Directors was concerned the practice would become a financial burden on clubs. It urged Rotarians to exercise discretion, moderation, and measured judgment in making provision for such exchanges.
At a recent meeting, Assistant Governor Barbara BelÛn presented the vast array of banners that were accumulated by Rotary Club of Lehighton over the years. The banners total 120 different Rotary Clubs in 21 U.S. states and 28 countries. The most visited state is Texas. Japan, Peru, and South Africa are just a few of the countries visited by Lehighton Rotarians through the years.
While clubs may differ in size, etc., there are still a lot of commonalities, said Belon. "As Rotarians, we are bound together by our Four-Way Test," she said.
The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
According to longtime Rotarian Bob McCombs, Whenever you visit another club, there is always a Rotarian who takes the time to show you around. McCombs' wife Jane added, Over the years, we always took a banner with us to exchange.
Rotary Club of Lehighton currently meets Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Beacon 443 Diner / Restaurant. Prospective new members are invited and encouraged to attend. For more information, call (610) 377-9706, e-mail LehightonRotary@yahoo.com, or visit www.Rotary.org.