Ruritan National has nearly 30,000 members throughout the United States, that work to improve more than 1,100 local communities. Since the organization’s beginning in 1928, Ruritan Clubs have served America with Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service. Ruritan is a civic service organization made up of local clubs in urban areas, small towns and rural communities.
Ruritan’s purpose is to create a better understanding among people and through volunteer community service, make America’s communities better places in which to live and work. The slogan of Ruritan is “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.” Club membership represents a cross-section of the community in which the club serves, and is not restrictive with regard to occupation, social position, or any other specific criteria.
Unlike most civic service organizations, Ruritan rarely has national programs. Rather, each club surveys its own community as to the needs of that community and then works to meet some of those needs. Nearly all clubs work locally with FFA, 4-H and other organizations serving youth. Nearly one in every three Ruritan clubs sponsors a Boy or Girl Scout unit.
What’s a Ruritan?
Ruritan is a civic service organization made up of local clubs that each serve the needs of their own local community and take action to make it a better place to live and work. We are not all work and no play. We love to have a good time and fellowship among ourselves and the people we serve and meet locally. Where two or more Ruritans are gathered, there is also generally a good meal, good food for fundraising, and good service for others.
Ruritan clubs network with and support other clubs and organizations. In many communities you will find:
- the Ruritan Club is the chartering organization for Boy and Girl Scouting
- the Ruritan Club sponsors Relay for Life Events or Teams
- the Ruritan Club organizes the Chamber of Commerce or Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squads
- the Ruritan Club donates their land to be made into ball fields, parks, picnic areas, etc.
- the Ruritan Club is some areas is the focal point of the community in offering fun activities for children as well as adults.
- And other examples for Ruritan Club impact your Community
Our motto is: Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service.
The word Ruritan came from the lips of a very rare woman, Miss Daisy Nurney. Today, Ruritan is upon the lips of thousands, as it ever should be. Ruritan is two Latin words combined: ruri- open country, and tan- small town life; interpreted as "pertaining to rural and small town life". Miss Daisy provided a word, but the virtues and superlative ideals for which it stands today is a fitting tribute and benediction to the life of that dedicated public servant, reporter, and poetess.
When JJ Gwaltney called to order the first meeting of the Business, Professional Men and Farmers Group in Holland Va. Miss Daisy covered the proceedings for her newspaper. She was asked to suggest an appropriate name for the new group, and coined the word Ruritan. Many times Miss Daisy was asked how she came upon the name Ruritan. In May 1947, she put her response in writing:
"Having been asked how I came upon the name Ruritan for the most unusual club I know, I hesitate to answer. In light of almost unbelievable growth of this organization, its spread into other States and the development of its members in civic usefulness, I am forced to believe it was an inspiration. To have had a small part in this great and growing group is something to be proud of, to cherish as one of the fine experiences of one's life in a community." One could fine no truer expression of Ruritan ideals than is found in Miss Daisy's poem, Success:
"That is best which most inspires And fills the soul with high desires; Not wealth, but welfare ...is success. Beneficence, life's crown must bring, For nothing lives but righteousness And character is everything."
Ruritans everywhere can pay no greater tribute to the lady who gave them their name than to live up to this poem's noble ideal. Miss Daisy's sun has set, but her stars will shine forever.
From the beginning, Ruritan's slogan was Fellowship and Goodwill, reflecting the intended purpose of those early years. However, it was soon realized when sharing Fellowship and Goodwill, the automatic outcome is Community Service. To better reflect this outcome, the slogan was changed to Fellowship, Goodwill, Community Service. Over the years, this slogan truly affected thousands of local communities and hundreds of thousands of community people. The order of the words in Fellowship, Goodwill, Community Service is extremely important. Beginning with Fellowship, each word provides the basis or foundation for the next succeeding word. Fellowship brings people together.
When community people get together in friendly informal association, have dinner and an enjoyable program, mutual interests develop, friendships grow, and caring Fellowship prevails with a kindly attitude toward friend and fellowman. A willing kindness or generosity then grows among these friends and extends outward into community life. This is a willingness to share goodness or Goodwill. As caring Fellowship continues, the tendency to share Goodwill becomes even greater, and the ability to do good matures into good-works for friend, neighbor and community people. This is Community Service.
Through Community Service, community people develop a more caring Fellowship, which causes a greater sharing Goodwill that leads to an even more effective Community Service. This Fellowship, Goodwill, Community Service is a circle initially beginning with caring Fellowship. Once begun and not broken, the circle will continue to grow and flourish, impacting many communities and community people.
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