Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Rebecca Weragoda, Rotaract Club of Sydney, Australia
Twelve years ago, I made a seemingly small decision to apply for a Rotary Australia supported “science camp.” Like so many of my peers in Rotaract, this decision changed the course of my life personally, professionally, and socially.
From attending the National Youth Science Forum to today, I’ve been afforded many opportunities through Rotary, just some of the highlights include:
- travelling to South Africa for National Youth Science Week
- trekking in the desert in remote Western Australia as a leadership development opportunity
- attending my local Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)
- serving as a RYLA Leader and RYLA Director
- leadership roles including Rotaract Club Professional Development Director, President and District Rotaract Representative
- attending international RYLA in Sydney
- the Young Leaders Summit in South Korea.
These are just the tip of the iceberg and don’t even begin to capture the abundance of leadership opportunities I’ve had within Rotaract, culminating with my current position as the Chair of Rotaract Australia. My experience in Rotaract led me to transition from a technical science-based role to work in the Corporate Social Responsibility sector of a multi-national company—an area I didn’t even consider when I left school!
I love how my Rotary and work worlds continually collide. For example, this past March when listening to a Rotarian address the Rotaract Club of Sydney City about the Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), I learned that, sure enough, the orthopedic implants their patients use are donated by my company.
I continue to be inspired by the chance to truly and meaningfully impact the world. But my most significant aspiration for Rotaract and Rotary is to highlight the ways we can continue working together, at all levels, to create an environment of meaningful collaboration.
Both groups have so much to contribute. Rotarians bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table as well as the resources that go with them. Rotaractors bring energy, innovative ideas, and an intuitive understanding of how to best engage in today’s increasingly online world. By working together on projects we increase the likelihood of Rotaractors transitioning their membership and becoming dual Rotarian-Rotaractors or becoming a Rotary member in the future.
I look forward to continuing to be an ambassador for Rotary and Rotaract and being part of the positive change Rotary has on communities locally and globally.
Learn more ways Rotaractors can collaborate with Rotarians in our new club flexibility.