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Rotary Happenings: Rotary intern program offers new member opportunities

By Staff | Sep 20, 2021

Kelsey Mitchell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Ever notice the average age of a Rotarian, especially on Sanibel? Do you see a common denominator? If you guessed the politically correct answer of “older,” you are correct! One goal of Rotary, actually of any service organization, is to appeal to younger professionals as a way to sustain the club as well as to keep the club relevant. Rotary has developed a new Rotarianship Program, a Rotary Intern program to do just that. 

This new Rotary program was introduced to us by Kelsey Mitchell, the District 6960 Rotarianship Chair. It is designed to deliver educational opportunities to the Roterns, young professionals, about different vocations, develop skills related to administration, enhance public image and give knowledge around the Rotary Foundation and Rotary membership.

The program is a 16-week program with shadowing opportunities between the Club, the Rotarians and their Rotern. Expectations for each Rotern are set in week one and monitored throughout the program. Each Club manages and funds their own intern program with the structure and guidelines provided by the District. Each Rotern receives a one-year Rotary membership funded by the Club and a membership to ToastMasters, a public speaking group. This program may educate young professionals about what Rotary is and does and create lasting relationships between young business owners and their mentors.

Kelsey Mitchell has been very active within Rotary District 6960 and is a Paul Harris Fellow plus five. She started her Rotary journey as the Vice President in the Rotaract Club of Naples. She was awarded “Rotarian of the Year” in 2014-2015 from the Rotaract Club. As her love for helping others grew, Kelsey joined The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South as the Satellite Club of Fort Myers South Sunset Committee Chair. She continued to grow this new club and eventually became Charter President of The Rotary Club of Fort Myers Sunset. During this time she was named as District 6960 “Rookie of the Year” for 2015-2016. In 2017, Kelsey served as District 6960’s Peacebuilding Exchange Chair and focused on engaging young Rotarians. Kelsey currently serves as Rotary District 6960 Rotarianship Chair and the Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for the state of Georgia and southwest Florida, Tampa and Orlando in Rotary Zone 34.

Kelsey is married to her husband Bruce Mitchell and is the loving mother of four: Audrey, Morgan, Caleb and Brooks. Kelsey’s passion for helping the community is evident in her volunteer work with organizations like Better Together. Kelsey has opened her home and heart to children all across southwest Florida in times of struggle for their families. In addition, she provides mentoring to young mothers who have been through a temporary crisis.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club holds a meeting on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. at The Community House, at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, and via Zoom; doors open at 7 a.m. To attend in person, email Bill Harkey at William.Harkey@gmail.com by the Tuesday before the meeting. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.