An Interact(ive) approach to leadership training

Students take part in an outdoor training session during District 5180's Interact Presidents and Officers Training Seminar at Sacramento State University. Photo courtesy of Bill Tobin

Students take part in an outdoor training session during District 5180’s Interact Presidents and Officers Training Seminar at Sacramento State University. Photo courtesy of Bill Tobin

By Bill Tobin, assistant governor of District 5180 and a member of the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills, California, USA

How do you keep a roomful of students and Rotary members awake for leadership training? We discovered recently that busting out of the classroom, and varying the format just a bit, can work wonders. Continue reading

Sculpting stories in the sand to raise money for education

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

By Katie Gaston, a member of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach, California, USA, and the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Picture a beach full of sun and sand. Now picture a giant whale rising out of the sand, and an equally impressive captain Ahab figure leaning against the whale. Further down the beach is a giant head with a pyramid on top, and a rather odd assembly of pipes and gears representing some kind of mechanical contraption.

These were just a few of the impressive sights from my Rotaract club’s recent two-day event, “The 81st Annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest.”  Continue reading

What do you tell your children about Rotary?

Simone and Ariana Collins.

Simone and Ariana Collins.

By Simone Collins, past president of the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay, Western Australia, Australia

I have never forgotten a conversation I had with a Rotarian who was one of our strongest supporters, back when I was still a Rotaractor. Her own children had never joined Rotary or Rotaract, because they didn’t want to belong to something “boring” like their parents did! I was gobsmacked.

What precisely are we as Rotarians telling our children about Rotary? What do they see? Do they just see you going to “boring” meetings? Or do they see what inspires you about Rotary? Continue reading

Using Facebook to promote Rotary

130828_wagner1By Erin Wagner, a member of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis South, Minnesota, USA

I am a product of Rotary’s youth programs, which taught me some amazing lessons. For example:

Open-Mindedness
A farm girl from Idaho, my youth exchange to France (2001-02) and the associated culture shock taught me to be aware of and question my assumptions, and to recognize that people are people all over the world. Continue reading

Opening doors to service for those with special needs

Members of the Parker Rotary Community Corps

Members of the Parker Rotary Community Corps

By Kam Breitenbach, a member of the Rotary Club of Parker, Colorado, USA, and advisor to the Parker Rotary Community Corps

I have had the privilege to get to know and help support a terrific group of individuals who belong to the Parker Rotary Community Corps (RCC). The RCC, patterned after and sponsored by our club, provides an amazing growth and enrichment experience for teens and adults with special needs. Continue reading

Why we don’t want Rotary to be like baseball

David Postic at the 2011 Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in New Orleans.

David Postic at the 2011 Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in New Orleans.

By David Postic, a member of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, and a member of the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Baseball is a sport so historically beloved in the United States that it is called “America’s pastime.” Yet few Americans I know actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Why? Because when you really look at the game, it can seem slow, boring, and it can get old pretty quickly. Most people love the idea of baseball; they just don’t love watching it.

Similarly, there are many young people out there (like me) who love the idea of Rotary. But when you really look at any given Rotary club it can seem, well, slow and boring.  Continue reading

The happier we are, the better we serve

Mary Berge on a service project in the Dominican Republic. "Rotary service makes me happy," Berge says.

Mary Berge on a service project in the Dominican Republic. “Rotary service makes me happy,” she says.

By Mary Berge, a Rotary Coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA

Did you know that people are more interested in the “why” than the “how?”

This applies strongly to Rotary membership. It’s far less interesting how you became a Rotarian than why you became, and why you remain, a Rotarian.

I became a Rotarian because of my innate character to give. I am, by nature, altruistic and I believe in doing the right thing (even when no one is looking). In a nut shell, I feel good when I’m helping others. I remain in Rotary because I feel good when I’m helping others. Continue reading

The beauty of friendship: a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Italy

130729_dudo_thBy Veronica Dudo, a television journalist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and member of a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Italy.

Breathing crisp mountain air in the Italian Alps, feeling warm sunshine strolling along Lake Como, coasting through the canals of Venice, and taking in the majestic landscape of the Lombardy region are just some of the adventures I enjoyed as a member of the South Jersey Group Study Exchange (GSE) team from New Jersey, USA, to northern Italy. Continue reading

Interact ignites a passion for service

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Editor’s note: Each November, Rotary celebrates the chartering of the first Interact Club during World Interact Week. Interact is Rotary’s program for youth age 12-18. The following is a post written by Adam Arents, Rotary Programs staff, earlier this year. … Continue reading

A passport to Rotary

Misha Garafalo created passports for her club members to fill with "visa" stamps of their service activities.

Misha Garafalo created passports for her club members to fill with “visa” stamps of their service activities.

By Misha Garafalo, president of the Rotary Club of Shorewood, Illinois, USA

As a former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Sweden more than a quarter century ago, one of my fondest possessions is my beloved passport filled with sought-after stamps from countries I visited so long ago.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to travel internationally in many years, every now and again, I would come across the passport, flip through the pages, and reminisce about the sights, smells, and sounds which stirred my global awareness, curiosity, and perspective. Continue reading