There has never been a greater opportunity or a greater need for Rotary to prepare its members for leadership. As the world’s oldest and most respected service organization, Rotary International has been solving problems and building bridges of friendship and relationships between leaders for more than one hundred years. Consequently, Rotary is increasingly recognized as the “Can-Do” organization that can get the job done when others have failed. Simultaneously, Rotary clearly understands that no organization will ever succeed beyond the vision and capabilities of its leadership. And since Rotary selects new leaders at most levels each year, the task of training and equipping its ever-changing leadership is a daunting one.
While the Rotary Club is the primary and most important element in Rotary, the Rotary District is the nearest and most essential resource and support to the Clubs. Throughout the world, Rotary clubs are grouped into Districts (approximately 530 of them), and Districts into paired Zones (34 of them). Each of these Districts must select a District Governor, who will be trained at the Zone and International levels, along with a considerable number of other experienced and knowledgeable resource leaders who can assist the Clubs in meeting their objectives and reaching their goals.
While some district leadership can be trained through multi-district partnerships, in most cases the task of training the District leadership team falls on each District. In Districts such as ours, that task is compounded by geographical distances that make it difficult, if not impossible, to bring together potential leaders in a central location on any kind of regular basis.
Consequently, the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy has been born out of a need for a more effective way to bring together for training the best potential leaders for Arizona Districts from wherever they live throughout the state of Arizona.