A member of Rotaract, and Rotary too

Rotaract Club of John Tyler Community College

Alexandria Ritchie (seated under banner), with the Rotaract Club of John Tyler Community College.

By Alexandria Ritchie, a member of the Rotaract Club of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Recently, two Rotary friends shared with me the decision taken by the Council on Legislation to allow Rotaractors to also join Rotary. (The Council is where Rotary members gather every three years to discuss changes to the policies governing our organization.)

So I thought I’d give it a try. I am 21, and now also a member of the Rotary Club of James River. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience in Rotary and its young leaders programs from the perspective of a brand new young Rotarian.

My path to Rotary
I joined Rotaract after being a member of my high school’s Interact club. I founded a Rotaract chapter on my campus at John Tyler Community College and have been a loyal member of Rotaract ever since. It’s changed my life. I now represent my entire district as a district Rotaract representative.

How did I make the decision to join a Rotary club? The answer is simple. My sponsor clubs are amazing. We are a family and my Rotary journey wouldn’t be as fulfilling without them.

When I attended the Rotaract Preconvention in Seoul, Korea, this past May, I realized that we needed a Rotaract representative on the RI Board. Rotaract needs a voice — a direct connection to the Rotarians that do so much good for the organization and for the world. This idea might be a lot to ask. [Currently, the RI Bylaws provide for a standing committee, the Rotaract and Interact Committee, which includes at least three Rotaractors.] However, I would encourage clubs to give Rotaract a voice, at the club level, in your districts. This can set the ball in motion to greater representation in the organization overall.

Beyond sponsorship
If your club has a Rotaract club, do more than just sponsor them. Invite them to meetings and projects. Really get to know them. Attend their meetings. Allow the president of the Rotaract Club to serve as a non-voting member on your club’s board. I have encouraged Rotary members to try this in my district and it has worked well.

More importantly, invite them to things at the district level. Let them know they have a part to play in Rotary. Let them feel the power of our organization. Introduce them to the district governor, encourage them to attend conferences, seminars, and events with you.

If we do this together, Rotaract will grow. More Rotaractors will join Rotary which is truly the most important goal a sponsor club could have.

12 thoughts on “A member of Rotaract, and Rotary too

  1. Pingback: Our top 5 stories of 2016 | Rotary Voices

  2. Easier said then done.Rotary is too ecpensive . Rotarians as parents the least one expects is for them to realize this role thus initself would bridge many gaps. If alone one can make a case difference how much more if others joined in .
    As a mother to both Rotaracts and Interacts for over two decades since their birth I feel great happiness and pride in their progress .Guiding them being available for them at all times,involving them in many activities and services to enrich them in experience , to benefit the society is my passion. On joining Rotary in 1989 it was for the Rotary club that the mother instinct was high thus for a decade all focus was for the club , nurturing it to crawl ,walk and then run .Then after 1996 as PP and DS the focus was to strengthen other clubs ,for Rotary is strong only if all clubs are as strong. In 1998 also as DRCC for 4 terms focus was towards the youth and it has stayed on.
    Time spent 365 days x 20 plus Rotaract years= satisfaction and happiness .
    Total years in Rotary = 27 / RID 3292

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  3. A very special Rotaract leader who has made a huge difference to our wonderful James River Richmond Club. Alex’s smile brings a ray of sunshine into the room and her presence in District 7600 will make a huge difference to what we can accomplish together going forward.

    Thank you RI General Secretary John Hewko for your recognition.

    What greater encouragement can there be for clubs to get out there and build their own leadership skills, and association with our youth, through the development of a new Rotaract Club or the resurrection of a dead one.

    From a long term perspective, a more worthy Club Service project is hard to imagine,

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  5. I am District Governor of RI District 3291. I am extremely close to the Rotaract movement in my district and in particular, my DRR. She is amazing and a huge support. We have a tremendous mutual understanding and that is helping us grow the Rotaract movement in our district. At present the relationship between Rotary and Rotaract in our district is probably at its best and every day I learn something from the young people which is worthy of replicating!

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  6. Pingback: A member of Rotaract, and Rotary too | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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