The Rotary Club of Lakeland South is a group of over 60 young professionals, business executives, and retired men and women who are dedicated to making Lakeland a better place to live, work, and play. The club was chartered in 1968 and has a long history of civic involvement, leadership, and charitable giving. The club is proud to have given over one million dollars to local and international charities since its founding.
We have helped dozens of local charities that provide help and hope to the homeless, to youth, to the physically and developmentally disabled, and many more in need. The Rotary Club of Lakeland South prides itself on helping those organizations that lend a hand up, not just a hand out. The club believes in personal accountability and a strong work ethic. The club has provided scholarships for local colleges, provided support for local schools and youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and Police Explorers, and has raised and donated thousands to support local firefighting efforts, to improve and expand parks, and to improve Lakeland’s quality of life for its residents and visitors.
The Rotary Club of Lakeland South also participates in international charitable giving through direct support of Rotary International beneficiaries, such as the fight against Polio and international aid projects. Our club has taken on specific projects such as providing computers to schools in India, water projects in South America, and medical treatment and supplies in Eastern European countries.
The Rotary Club of Lakeland South is also a group of people who are great friends. We have fun together and provide many opportunities for social interaction, business and professional networking, and leadership development. We pride ourselves in not only helping others, but having a darn good time in the process!
Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.
History of The Rotary Club of Lakeland South
- Chartered December 11, 1968
- The Rotary Club of Lakeland South (LSR) is a fifth generation club of the original Chicago Club started by Paul Harris. We were sponsored by the Lakeland Rotary Club, which had been sponsored by the Tampa Rotary Club in 1918. The Tampa Rotary Club was sponsored by the first Rotary club in Florida, the Jacksonville Rotary Club (chartered in 1912), which was sponsored directly by the Chicago Club.
- First meeting place was the Crest Restaurant (now the Peking House); later moved to the Holiday Inn South; then, in 1975 to The Lakeland Center. The club remained at The Lakeland Center until 2008 when the club moved to the First United Methodist Church. In 2010, the club moved to the Lakeland Yacht & Country Club on Lake Hollingsworth. In March of 2016, LSR has returned back to The Lakeland Center under its new management at 701 Lime Street, Lakeland.
- Chartered with 33 members; three remain in the club: Ludwig Spiessl, Don Jeffares, and Lynn Campbell.
- In 1999, held the first annual Lakeland South Rotary Annual Dinner, our annual dinner and auction event. This fun event is our main fundraiser and has allowed us to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities. In 2016, LSR went an innovative route with hosting a Benefit Concert that will now be our Annual Benefit Event.
The History of Rotary International
The world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, was formed on 23 February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.
Rotary’s popularity spread, and within a decade, clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York to Winnipeg, Canada. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents. The organization adopted the Rotary International name a year later.
As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving club members’ professional and social interests. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization’s dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.
By 1925, Rotary had grown to 200 clubs with more than 20,000 members. The organization’s distinguished reputation attracted presidents, prime ministers, and a host of other luminaries to its ranks — among them author Thomas Mann, diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, and composer Jean Sibelius.
The Four-Way Test
In 1932, Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created The Four-Way Test, a code of ethics adopted by Rotary 11 years later. The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:
Of the things we think, say or do
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Rotary and World War II
During World War II, many clubs were forced to disband, while others stepped up their service efforts to provide emergency relief to victims of the war. In 1942, looking ahead to the postwar era, Rotarians called for a conference to promote international educational and cultural exchanges. This event inspired the founding of UNESCO.
In 1945, 49 Rotary club members served in 29 delegations to the UN Charter Conference. Rotary still actively participates in UN conferences by sending observers to major meetings and covering the United Nations in its publications.
“Few there are who do not recognize the good work which is done by Rotary clubs throughout the free world,”
– former Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain once declared.
Dawn of a new century
As it approached the 21st century, Rotary worked to meet society’s changing needs, expanding its service efforts to address such pressing issues as environmental degradation, illiteracy, world hunger, and children at risk.
In 1989, the organization voted to admit women into clubs worldwide and now claims more than 145,000 female members in its ranks.
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary clubs were formed or re-established throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The first Russian Rotary club was chartered in 1990, and the organization underwent a growth spurt for the next several years.
More than a century after Paul Harris and his colleagues chartered the club that eventually led to Rotary International, Rotarians continue to take pride in their history. In honor of that first club, Rotarians have preserved its original meeting place, Room 711 in Chicago’s Unity Building, by re-creating the office as it existed in 1905. For several years, the Paul Harris 711 Club maintained the room as a shrine for visiting Rotarians. In 1989, when the building was scheduled to be demolished, the club carefully dismantled the office and salvaged the interior, including doors and radiators. In 1993, the RI Board of Directors set aside a permanent home for the restored Room 711 on the 16th floor of RI World Headquarters in nearby Evanston.
Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.