What is Rotaract?
Rotaract clubs are part of a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world. This effort starts at the community level but knows no limits in its outreach. Rotaractors have access to the many resources of Rotary International (RI) and The Rotary Foundation. Rotary International provides the administrative support that helps Rotaract clubs thrive.
Rotaract has evolved quickly in its short but dynamic history. In the early 1960s, Rotary clubs around the world began to sponsor university youth groups as community service projects. The 1967-68 RI president, Luther H. Hodges, and the RI Board of Directors considered this club activity to have international relevance, and Rotaract was approved in 1968 as an official program for Rotary clubs. The first club chartered was the Rotaract Club of North Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, on 13 March 1968. Several decades later, the Rotaract program has
grown into a strong, international network of 7,300 clubs in more than 150 countries and geographical areas. Rotaract’s 145,000 members are young men and women (ages 18 to 30) who serve the needs of their communities, widen their personal and professional contacts, and increase their understanding of the world.
Rotaract has the following goals:
● To develop professional and leadership skills
● To emphasize respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual
● To recognize the dignity and value of all useful occupations as opportunities to serve
● To recognize, practice, and promote ethical standards as leadership qualities and vocational responsibilities
● To develop knowledge and understanding of the needs, problems, and opportunities in the community and worldwide
● To provide opportunities for personal and group activities to serve the community and promote international understanding and goodwill toward all people
How does Rotaract fit into the Rotary family?
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization for leading business and professional men and women, with more than 1.2 million members in over 31,000 Rotary clubs. Each Rotaract club is sponsored by a local Rotary club. This sponsorship is a result of Rotary’s belief that young people, or New Generations, should take
an active interest in community life and have the opportunity for professional development. Organizing a Rotaract club is one of the most rewarding activities a Rotary club can undertake in its community. The Rotaract program gives Rotarians the opportunity to mentor dynamic young women and men interested in providing
service to their own communities as well as the global community. In turn, a Rotaract club can bring new energy to a Rotary club, inspire fresh ideas for service, increase support for projects, and help develop future Rotary club members. Rotaract clubs are self-governed and largely selffinanced at the local level. Working in cooperation with their sponsoring Rotary clubs as partners in service, Rotaractors are an important part of Rotary’s extended family.
What does a Rotaract club do?
Rotaract clubs organize a variety of projects and activities, depending primarily on the interests of the club members. However, within the Rotaract program, all clubs undertake three types of activities in varying degrees: professional development, leadership development, and service projects. Together, these three areas ensure a
balanced club program and provide important experience and opportunities for the personal development of each Rotaractor.
A club’s professional development activities should expand the members’ understanding of the work environment and business opportunities within their community. These activities should highlight the Rotaractor’s role in the community’s economic development and illustrate how skills developed through service activities can help in resolving problems in the workplace. Each Rotaract club should provide professional
development opportunities to its members through activities such as:
● Professional and vocational forums
● Business technology updates
● Management and marketing seminars
● Conferences on business and professional ethics
● Presentations on finance and credit options for business start-up
Sponsoring Rotarians can enhance the professional development of Rotaractors by providing practical advice on entering the business world and tackling business, vocational, and professional challenges. Making the club’s professional development projects into joint Rotaract-Rotary projects can also help Rotaractors get better
acquainted with sponsoring Rotarians.
A club’s leadership development activities aim not only to make members more effective leaders in their personal lives, but also to teach them how to develop and sustain strong clubs with relevant projects. Important topics to address in training club leaders include:
● Improving public speaking skills
● Developing techniques for marketing the Rotaract program to potential members
● Building consensus among members
● Delegating project responsibilities and ensuring necessary follow-up
● Identifying channels for project publicity and promotion
● Finding financial resources for strengthening club development
● Assessing project success
Service Above Self is Rotary’s foremost guiding principle. A Rotaract club’s service projects are designed to improve the quality of life at home and abroad. These projects often address today’s most critical issues, such as violence, drug abuse, AIDS, hunger, the environment, and illiteracy. Each Rotaract club is required to complete at least two major service projects annually, one to serve the community and the other to promote international understanding. Each should involve all or most of the members of the club.