Rotaract: Partners in Service

Rotaract: Partners in Service


In Rotary we often hear about the 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs across the world, but did you know there also is 134,000 Rotaract members in 8000 clubs across the world?

Rotaract clubs are an incredibly important part of the Rotary family. As their international branding says clearly they are “partners in service” with Rotarians across the world.

Often we mistakenly refer Rotaractors as future leaders or future Rotarians ….. I would like to make a moment to reflect on this innocent mistake.

I would put to you Rotaractors are today’s leaders ….. their service to the world community is valuable today, their views ae critical that they are heard, their leadership of their peers moves the world to a more peaceful model in a way that older people could never achieve.

In Salisbury City Rotaract, 30 young people aged 18 – 30 contribute to the worldwide contribution as part of the Rotary Family.

Uniquely, Rotary International challenges each Rotaract club to undertake one community project and one international focus project as a minimum each year. It asks the clubs to focus on their members own professional development, perhaps to a much greater way that Rotary clubs do, in effect to upskill their own members. This is a critical element of Rotaract – building today’s leadership capacity.

As far as becoming future Rotarians, without a doubt, it is the desire of every Rotary club to see Rotaractors remain as part of the Rotary family after they turn 30, but let’s not use that to undervalue their contribution today.
Rotary will have to change and adapt to make it exciting, relevant and accessible to encourage Rotaractors to join…
We know that young people will embrace clubs which :-
• A relevant to them and offer something in return – professional development, networking, mentor, friendship
• Use technology and are modern and contemporary
• Leave their members feeling like they have made a contribution

Salisbury City Rotaract as a relatively new club has made a significant difference to their members, the individual growth and development I have seen in some of their members are amazing. Being able to contribute to some amazing young people’s life journeys from volunteer to gaining employment,

The Rotaract members challenge is clearly to balance study, work, fun, family, community and make a contribution whilst not burning themselves out. Not necessarily in that order either!

Salisbury City Rotaract Club has become an integral member of the group 4 clubs in our region. This is not necessary the circumstance in other clubs. Often a Rotaract club may have a strong membership with an individual Rotarian in their sponsor club, but a much weaker interaction with other members of that club. It is also rare that a Rotaract Club has the support and two-way relationship of an entire group! To me, this is a massive strength and a credit to the members of Salisbury City Rotaract but also to the other Rotary clubs who have opened their doors and their minds to what is possible. This year the Salisbury City Rotaract also had a commitment from Whyalla club….
Your attendance here tonight is part of that demonstration of support.

Tonight, no doubt we will also hear of how the Salisbury City club has done at least something with all group 4 clubs. As the Assistant Governor of Group 4, this makes me proud – I believe it leaves Rotaract well placed in our region. I think it is perhaps the first time that a Rotaract Club has invested in a collaborative VTT project – the dentistry project in Vanuatu. Thank you.

I would like to commend the effort of President Ashlee and the Salisbury City Rotaract Board and club for the year, building on the legacy of Chris Mark’s efforts in establishing the club. Ashlee, you have taken the club forward in a powerful and compassionate way. The club continues to grow and evolve and understand that having fun is equally part of the attraction of Rotaract.

To President-Elect Ben, the year ahead is exciting. Balancing working full time and community will be a challenge, but one I am sure you are capable of. You have the support of your board, your club and the broader Rotary family – but you must remember, we do not mind read – you have to be open to asking – asking to partner / for help / for advice is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of maturity and growth.

Having heard my comments, it is thus no surprise that Salisbury City Rotaract Club won a district award at the conference. Well done….. Looking forward, I am excited by just what the Salisbury City Rotaract Club might achieve in the year and years ahead, potentially difficult times with the economic challenges that are facing our region.

Looking forward, I am excited by just what the Salisbury City Rotaract Club might achieve in the year and years ahead, potentially difficult times with the economic challenges that are facing our region.

Wearing my City of Salisbury and Twelve25 Salisbury Youth Enterprise Centre hat I am so proud that council though Twelve25 continues to support the club and provides space and support for young people in our community to find their voice. We need that voice to be loud and clear.

As Assitant Governor for Group 4, I also look forward to the potential addition of a second Rotaract Club in our group based at Northern Adelaide Senior College and sponsored by Playford Club ….. exciting times…. And another Rotaract Club based with the Gawler Light Rotary club as near neighbours.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are privileged to have Rotaract : Partners in Service.

Written by Rick Henke – Honorary Member, Rotarian Rotary Club of Salisbury and Assistant Governor (Group 4)

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