Vocational Service

Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their professions, to practice high ethical standards, and to foster these ideals in young people. It is an over-arching theme in Rotary. As such, our club does not have a dedicated Vocational Service program. Instead, it is embedded throughout our other service programs.

Learning about our own members' professional backgrounds is one of the highlights of our weekly meetings. The diversity of experience, interests, innovations, and challenges faced and overcome is a strength of the club. It is also a reminder that there are many ways to serve. In addition, we use these meetings to hear from other leaders and professionals in the region, and to reinforce Rotarian values in our daily lives.

A prime example of vocational service is the Community Connections program one of our Rotary couples developed. During the winter months, a local restaurant hosted a benefit dinner each week to support a local cause such as the high school band and football team, a local land trust, Camden First Aid, a youth development organization, the Camden Food Pantry, the local animal shelter and more. Each group received half the evening's profits. The program was a huge success, raising more than $11,000 the first year.

Through our scholarship program, we help young people from the community achieve their career aspirations. In the past four years alone, the Camden Rotary endowment fund has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors for use at community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, and fine arts programs.

We also awarded one of our major grants to help sponsor a remarkable 8-year project at the local high school. The students researched, planned, advocated, secured school and community permissions, and raised the funds (over $500,000) to build a 155-foot tall wind turbine at the school. This project received national and international recognition, earning the students the Region 1 (New England) Presidential Environmental Youth Award, and 3rd place out of over 400 entries in the Volvo/United Nations international environmental solutions competition. There is a link at the left to an excellent news video about the "Windplanners".

Other grants have helped students attend the Camden Conference, an annual conference that draws "some of the best foreign policy minds in the world (ambassadors and diplomats, scholars, journalists, and non-governmental experts) to share their insights and expertise on a range of global issues." Although Conference participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, "students in particular are often most profoundly affected by the Conference programs, and are often motivated to take lifelong interests in international, political, social and religious issues."