ENID, Okla. — Through community service and friendship, Rotary’s motto of “service above self” shines through in the club’s work in Enid.
The civic and community service club really is meant to bring business leaders and community members together to hear about what is happening in the community and world, so members have a better understanding of the connectivity to each other, Rotary Club President Dan Schiedel said.
The club undertakes many service projects each year as well as provides support to other community clubs and organizations — such as YWCA, Garfield County Child Advocacy, Youth and Family Services, Denny Price Family YMCA, RSVP and 4RKIDs. The group especially targets assistance toward those serving women and children, focusing on education, health and well-being.
“When you look at the investments we make as a club, then you’re looking at the tenets of Rotary,” Schiedel said. “Locally, its women, children, the community and the less fortunate. The eradication of polio is the number one focus for the international organization. We always support the foundations that raise funds throughout the year to eradicate polio.”
Club fundraisers and activities include Festival of Flavor, Pints for Polio, Flags of Honor and most recently a two-year-long effort to donate $75,000 to Advance Soccer Complex.
“A lot of people think that Rotary is a checkbook club or a knife and fork lunch club, but to me our club is really about community and really trying to understand what is happening in our community so we can better respond to it,” Schiedel said.
The club boasts 151 Enid men and women who meet every Monday at noon at the Stride Bank Center Ballroom, where dedicated individuals can exchange ideas, build relationships and take action. Weekly speakers from the community or the state are featured.
“Besides community service, I’ve seen a number of our members get involved with our projects and get involved with the community, so there are opportunities for our members to volunteer and help different organizations,” Schiedel said.
The club also is a great networking opportunity for new people in town and for older members, alike, Schiedel said.
Rotary invites students from area high schools, colleges and CareerTech centers to attend meetings, where they learn the “service above self” motto and the international aspects.
“We try to engage them early, so when they get out and into their careers, they consider us as a group they want to be a part of,” Schiedel said. “It’s great because they get to network with young business leaders, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors — the gamut of what we are as a community in Enid.”
Many clubs have been on the decline, with a push from COVID, but Rotary hasn’t been affected, he said.
Rotary is looking for good business leaders and at diversity in the community and in their membership, hoping for young women, men and people of all races, all thoughts and all walks of life, to become a healthier and better club, Schiedel said.
Diversity initiatives, especially with women, have been something the last three past, current and upcoming presidents have teamed up to be intentional about, he said.
Rotary, like many other civic organizations, used to be a men-only club.
It wasn’t until the 1970s when Rotary of Enid opened up to all genders. Enid’s first woman president was Mary Stallings, from 1980-81. Martie Oyler was the next female president and president-elect Carrie Sanders will take the next presidential seat after Schiedel.
Schiedel said he, Sanders and past-president Jeff Herbel were asking themselves how to improve gender distribution in the club through the three-year transition of their terms — only about 14% of Enid Rotary members are women, including Sanders and 2023-24 president-elect Cindy Allen, Schiedel said.
“We want to try and change that, so we have been seeking women leadership and women in our leadership to do more of a diversification of our organization,” Schiedel said. “It’s been intentional. It hasn’t just happened through osmosis, it’s been intentional.”