Author: Elizabeth Davis, a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville, North Carolina, USA
 
What would happen if we gave the younger crowd a space to call their own? This was the question that our club
president, Kamlesh-Chandan (Kam for short) posed to us recently as we discussed how to recruit young professionals.
After a little more thinking, Kam and our club developed a term for our approach, YP 35 (short for young professionals
under 35 years old). From there, we started to rally our members and members of other local clubs to seek out young
professionals in the area who could call Rotary home.

A club they can call their own. It was an instant success. At an initial meeting to explore interest for YP 35, fourteen
enthusiastic young professionals gathered to discuss their new club over food and drinks. Now, more YP 35 meetings and
events are scheduled to take place.

YP 35 is a success because of how it’s structured. YP 35 was able to easily and immediately start up thanks to the
mentorship and financial support of its host club the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville. However, because it puts
an emphasis on engagement over attendance and has the autonomy to structure meetings and events as its members
prefer, Rotarians in YP 35 still have a club they can truly call their own. From picking how often they prefer to meet, to
where they meet, to what areas of service their work will revolve around, YP 35 is by the members and for the members.
Young professionals are interested in Rotary. When asked about any concerns that YP 35 might try to split off from the
Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville, Kam said such a scenario would be perfectly fine. For him and his fellow
Rotarians, the main goal is to bring more, and younger, members into the organization. If they can do this by starting a
new club, then their goal is accomplished. Ultimately, what starting YP 35 has shown is that there is, in fact, a desire
among the young professional’s crowd for a service-based organization. Young professionals are interested in Rotary. The
key is to give them a space to call their own.