A brave, frank, clean-hearted, courageous and aspiring youth is the only foundation on which the future nation can be built
– Swami Vivekananda
May is the Youth Service Month in Rotary. Youth service was officially added by RI as the fifth avenue of service in 2010 to recognise the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities, involvement in the community, international service projects, and exchange programmes that enrich and foster world peace and cultural understanding. Rotary clubs should be committed to involving youth and young adults in their vocational, community and international service projects, and provide programmes and resources that support them.
Youth service projects take many forms around the world. In every instance, Rotarians have an opportunity to be role models and mentors for the young people of their community. In Rotary, we are committed to encouraging young people to join our organisation and now Rotaract has also become a part of Rotary. As our youth grow to become adult leaders, it is hoped each will achieve that same desire and spirit to serve future generations. It is the responsibility of each Rotarian to prepare the next generation by improving their life skills to ensure a better future, while recognising the diversity of their needs.
Interact clubs give students opportunities to take initiatives, develop leadership and teamwork skills, community service ethics and international understanding. Through Rotary Youth Exchange, we hope to create a more interconnected and understanding world. RYLA helps young people learn new skills, build their confidence and have fun. New Generations Service Exchange is a short-term programme for university students and professionals below 30. Participants can design exchanges that combine their professional goals with a humanitarian project.
The outbreak of Covid-19 may alter the way we observe Youth Service Month this year. But it need not dampen our enthusiasm and spirit. Young people are looking for ways to make a difference. Show them how Rotary equips them to do so, especially in this time of crisis. Brainstorm sustainable service projects, ways to increase giving to The Rotary Foundation and build awareness of Rotary in your community. And watch your membership grow.
Take care and be safe.
RI Director, 2019-21