Reflecting on this past Rotary year, I am reminded of my "why" in joining Rotary. It's a powerful opportunity to reconnect with the purpose and passion that initially drew me to this incredible organization.

Joining Rotary after personally experiencing the positive impact of community support as a child,  fueled my desire to give back.  Rotary’s commitment to youth service resonated deeply with me. It wasn’t until my children were involved in Interact that I saw the chance to mentor, guide, and support young people in their personal and professional development. I saw Rotary as a platform to empower the next generation of leaders, equipping them with the skills and values they need to make a positive impact.  Programs like Interact, Rotary Youth Exchange, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and NGSE (New Generations Service Exchange) highlight Rotary’s dedication to youth service. Being part of such transformative programs inspired me to contribute my time and energy to support them.  The enthusiasm and fresh perspectives of young people are continually inspiring. Their creativity, passion, and drive bring new energy to our Rotary clubs, reminding us of the importance of adaptability and innovation in our service endeavors.

Throughout the year, Rotary has provided numerous platforms to raise awareness about mental health issues. Whether through guest speakers, workshops, or community outreach programs, we have worked to break the stigma surrounding mental health and promote understanding and acceptance.  I feel that sharing our family’s story of our daughter and her struggles with mental health is a very important step in opening the conversation, “How are you, REALLY?”  I was describing myself as being vulnerable the other day at my Club meeting and one of my friends told me that he sees me as being brave!   As others have shared their stories with me, I agree, it is bravery that will keep this conversation moving forward.

As this Rotary year concludes, my "why" remains as strong as ever. It's about giving back, fostering connections, growing personally and professionally, making a global difference, and leaving a lasting legacy. Embrace each new day with courage and optimism. Remember that every step you take, no matter how small, brings you closer to your goals. Let the challenges you face strengthen you, and let the successes you achieve inspire you to keep going.

I am proud to be a part of Rotary and look forward to continuing this journey of service and fellowship.  I thank each and every one of you for your support and I will cherish being your 2023-2024 District Governor.

DG Julie M. Carney
Rotary District 7120
District Governor 2023-2024