How RYLA changed my life

Daniel Eduardo Zavala is a District Rotaract Representative. Taking part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event set him down a path of Rotary service.

By Daniel Eduardo Zavala, Rotaract Club of San Joaquin, Venezuela

In 2010, I had my first exposure to Rotary during a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event in San Cristobal, a beautiful city in my country of Venezuela. A secretary at the university I was attending recommended that I would get a lot out of the event scheduled for the following weekend, and being up for adventure, I said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Continue reading

New Rotaract club creates community in Ohio

Packing potatoes

Members of the Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA, clean and pack potatoes at a regional food bank.

By Evelyn Aaron, Communication Director, Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA

If you ask any one of the members of the Canal Fulton Rotary Club why they joined, they will tell you it’s the sense of community that binds us all together. Many of us have spent significant portions of our lives in the greater Canal Fulton area, and we want to provide our children and our town with the same helping hands that we have been offered our entire lives. Continue reading

Living life forward in Rotary

Hudson and husband

Alexandra Hudson and her husband at her graduation from London School of Economics.

By Alexandra Hudson, former Rotary Global Grant Scholar

Looking back on my year in London as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that Rotary has enabled me to do. On one level, I was born into a family of Rotarians: my grandmother was a founding member for her club in Streetsville, Ontario, and my grandfather was a Paul Harris Fellow.

On another level, I chose to become part of Rotary when I was asked to reinvigorate my community’s Rotaract Club in Langley, British Columbia. Continue reading

Driving a junk car across Europe for charity

Niemann's and junk car

Konrad Niemann, left, and his son by the junk car they used in the Carbage Run. The car was auctioned off, and combined with funds raised by the run, to benefit the Salberghaus, a home for children.

By Konrad Niemann, President of the Rotary Club of München-Münchner Freiheit, Germany

In February, my son and I were driving in Germany when we began passing a bunch of strange-looking cars on the highway. We discovered they were part of a road rally called the Carbage Run, that is essentially a five-day road trip across Europe in a junk car. For the past 10 years, participants have paid about €350 (about $400) to take part in the event, originating in the Netherlands, with cars that must be more than 18 years old and worth less than €500 ($560). Looking at all these junk cars, my son and I thought “what a funny idea for a father-son activity.” Continue reading

Why I love YEO Preconvention

Viktorija Trimbel and her daughter, Gabija, a 2010 Rotary Youth Exchange student.

By Viktorija Trimbel, District 1462 (Lithuania) Youth Exchange Chair, and Governor nominee for 2020-2021

Days before the Rotary Convention, over 500 Youth Exchange Officers (YEOs) from all over the world get together to learn and share best practices. The YEO Preconvention is my favorite Rotary meeting. From my past experience, I have found the challenges of youth exchange are pretty universal – selecting students, overseeing behavior, finding host families, and involving Rotary clubs. It is very interesting to learn solutions from other districts. Continue reading

3 ways to celebrate World Interact Week

How will you celebrate World Interact Week?

By Erika Emerick, RI Programs for Young Leaders promotions specialist

Interact clubs empower young people ages 12 to 18 to take action in their community, develop leadership skills, and gain a global perspective. Every year we celebrate the accomplishments of an estimated half a million Interact club members during World Interact Week. Connect with Interactors 5-11 November and share the power of Interact!

Interactors around the world will be taking action and sharing how their Interact clubs are making a difference in their communities. How will you celebrate? Here are three ways you can join the party: Continue reading

Get your professional development in Rotaract

Peer workshops allow Rotaract members to learn skills from each other over coffee and doughnuts.

By Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl, Rotaract Club of Toronto, Canada

We are our own greatest networking asset. I realized that early on when I assumed the role of professional development director for my Rotaract club. It amazed me every time I spoke with one of our members how accomplished they were and how they were almost afraid to talk about what they had achieved in their relatively short careers. It became my mission to help members connect with each other. I did this in two ways, peer-workshops and members connect. Continue reading

Bridging the gap between Rotary’s programs for young leaders

Planting a tree

Jessie Case plants a tree with the Coronado Rotary Club.

By Jessie Case, Rotaract Club of Pacific Beach, California, USA

My very first Interact project was picking up trash at a nearby lake and recreation area. It was so simple, yet I was so moved by the idea that if you wanted something to happen, you could take matters into your own hands and get it done. I am still moved by that feeling that comes from identifying a problem, finding a solution, and acting upon it. Continue reading

5 ways Rotaract can change your life

Salman Ali Rajput

By Salman Ali Rajput, past president of the Rotaract Club of Nawabshah Central, Pakistan, and District 3271 secretary

I have always been involved in extracurricular activities practically since I was old enough to walk. But it wasn’t until I joined Rotaract in 2015 that I discovered the many ways a young person can learn and grow while serving the local community. My life has been transformed by Rotaract. Before I joined, I felt like a common man. Today, I have been groomed into a proud global citizen. Here are five ways Rotaract can change your life. Continue reading

Who knew installing solar lights could have such meaning?

A Navajo family enjoys their newly installed solar light.

A Navajo family enjoys their newly installed solar light.

By A.J. Holzer

As I landed in the Durango airport, cramped into a small airplane, my entire Rotary career flashed before my eyes. I had joined Interact at the beginning of high school as a way to help my community and connect with others. And for most of my high school years, I was able to do just that, growing as a leader and learning from my peers. The experience was uniquely personal – all I knew of Rotary was my club and the work we did in the community. But in the summer of my sophomore year, my knowledge of Rotary was about to explode to an entirely new level. Continue reading