Rotary Programs for Youth and Young Adults: New Generations

Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but [Interact clubs] are self-governing and self-supporting.

Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs and learn the importance of
Developing leadership skills and personal integrity
Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others
Understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work
Advancing international understanding and goodwill
Rotaract clubs for men and women aged 18-30 foster leadership and responsible citizenship, encourage high ethical standards in business and promote international understanding and peace.

Under the guidance of a Rotarian advisor, Rotaract clubs conduct formal meetings, usually every two weeks, which feature speakers, tours of local businesses, cultural activities, discussions, and visits to other clubs. Each year, Rotaract clubs conduct at least one service project in each of three areas of service: vocational, community and international. In addition to their service agenda, Rotaract clubs also focus on professional development, organizing career-related programs to assist members and peers outside the club in making informed career choices.

RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) programs consist mainly of presentations, activities, and workshops. These three components are supplemented by group work, which can enhance presentations and facilitate team building.

Though each RYLA event is tailored to participants’ ages and interests, … a core curriculum should reflect community issues and be presented in a manner consistent with local customs … [and] cover the following topics:
Fundamentals of leadership
Ethics of positive leadership
Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
Problem solving and conflict management
What Rotary is and what it does for the community
Building self-confidence and self-esteem
Elements of community and global citizenship
Rotary Youth Exchange students… spend up to a year living with host families and attending school in a different country. …[Students] learn a new way of living, a great deal about [themselves], and maybe even a new language. [Students are] ambassadors, teaching people … about [their] country, culture, and ideas.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs.