4 lessons from launching a Rotaract club

Working with your sponsoring Rotary club is critical for a Rotaract Club’s success. Here, Austrian Rotaractors build homes for those affected by the war in Bosnia as part of an intergenerational project. Photo by Stefan Fürtbauer © Rotary International. All Rights Reserved.

By Lauren Smyser, president, Rotaract Club of Treasure Valley, Boise, Idaho, USA

Last year was both exciting and challenging for our club because we officially received our charter. With any new thing, there’s a lot to figure out. We have many people to thank, who I’ll note at the end. The year also taught us many valuable lessons, but four in particular, that we hope to use to improve our club going forward.

Lesson one

A Rotaract club’s success depends on having a strong relationship with the sponsoring Rotary clubs. We continue to need the support of Rotarians in our efforts. The best support Rotary members can provide us is through recruitment efforts. A majority of our membership gains stemmed from Rotarians sharing our club with young professionals they personally knew. Rotary clubs: share information about Rotaract clubs you sponsor with young professionals in your work places, churches, community centers and pretty much anywhere young people exist.

Lesson two

Young professionals crave networking opportunities. As we grow, we hope to develop a mentoring program between Rotaractors and Rotarians. Our vision is to pair those in similar occupational fields.

Often, we “young folks” aren’t sure what we want to do when we grow up, but we think exposure to occupational fields of our interest is key in helping us through this process. As with any mentoring program, we like to think the learning experience translates to both the mentor and the one being mentored.

We all have so much to teach one another, so we hope this is an advantageous and rewarding program for both parties involved. We are looking forward to developing this program with the help of our sponsor clubs, whose advice we seek.

Lesson three

Consistency is key to success. This year, we are implementing a third meeting time. In addition to our service project and social meeting each month, we will have a formal meeting called a “Serial Meeting.” This meeting will include a series featuring speakers across a variety of professional fields.

Lesson four

People between the ages of 18 and 35 move around. We transitioned multiple officer positions in 2018, because life for people in their 20s isn’t always predictable, We don’t always know where we want to live and/or work. This year we’d like to nurture our team of officers but also expand it. We hope to add a historian, communications director, and community outreach chair.

Special thanks to our Rotary club sponsors, Boise Southwest, Boise Downtown, Boise Sunrise and Boise Centennial. Also to Marie Baker, Katie Gaston and Jennifer Deroin. Your involvement was imperative to our growth, sustainability and success.

Are you interested in starting a new Rotaract club? Check out new resources to support you, including an online course, webinar, and more inspiring stories!

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