We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” – Sonia Johnson
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
Anne frank is an inspiring young lady. For those who may not have read Anne’s diary or seen the movie Anne Frank is a 13 year old Jewish girl that had to go into hiding during World War II. She is best known for the diary that she kept, which continues to touch people today. She died at 15 in a concentration camp.
Reading the quote above you would think that the quote came from an adult. But it has more impact when you know the story of Anne Frank and realize that we don’t have to wait to become adults to change the world.
September is New Generations month – emphasizing Rotary’s commitment to youth. Rotary has two areas in which the youth can grow as leaders.
Interact is a club for youth ages 12-18 who want to connect with others in their community or school. Interact club members have fun while carrying out service projects and learning about the world. Interact clubs organize at least two service projects a year: one that benefits their community and one that encourages international understanding. While Interact clubs receive guidance from individual Rotary clubs, they govern and support themselves.
Rotaract brings together people ages 18-30 in universities and communities worldwide to organize service activities, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun. Rotary clubs sponsor them, but Rotaract members manage and fund their clubs independently. Rotaract members work closely with their local Rotary club, and may join after their Rotaract membership ends.
Rotary believes in developing the youth to be the leaders of today not tomorrow. It does this by providing avenues in which the youth can develop their leadership and community service skills.
“The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.”
– George Eliot
The work of Rotary is done by individuals who care about the community. They are not perfect but they are willing to serve. They are willing to put service above self which is the Rotary motto.
I was in Rotaract for almost ten years before joining Rotary. I developed:
- My leadership potential. Interact and Rotaract have leadership training and mentoring so that one can develop their leadership potential. We also learn to mentor others as well.
- My social networks. Some of my closest friends are people I meet through Rotaract. I have met many people who have changed my life.
- I changed communities. There is nothing as beautiful as competing a community project. Rotarians identify communities that have needs and create projects to help the community move forward. We have built toilets, schools, libraries, community halls, hospitals, had medical camps, painted buildings and even provided food or school fees for needy children/families.
- I have grown professionally. Rotaract clubs have a professional development committee whose mandate is to develop the members professionally. A lot of what I learnt I still apply today.
- I have made international friendships. Rotary encourages different clubs across the world to work together. So these clubs visit one other. I have made many friends in the process of that and also had a chance to travel. I still have very fond memories of the hospitality of Ugandan Rotaractors.
- Rotary/Rotaract is not all serious. We like to have fun together. Fun bonds people so that they are able to work better together. We have had sports days, karaoke, pool tournaments, nyama choma plots, etc. We love to work hard to change communities but we also like to have fun as well.
- Rotary is a voluntary organization and so everybody who joins gives their time, energy etc for free. Rotary is always looking for young members to either join Rotaract or Interact. All we ask is for a person who is passionate about getting involved in their local communities.
So if you are a young person under the age of 30 who wants to have a real impact in your community please join Rotaract. Or if you know somebody who would be interested please direct them to a Rotaract or Interact club.
“I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.” – Harry S. Truman
“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavour ought to be to set off that spark in one another.”
– Kenny Ausubel
For more information on Interact and Rotaract check out this link.