It could be called “the month of our future” because investing in our youth is our future. Rotarians take pride in the fact that we have youth programs for just about every age group with Rotarians serving as active, caring sponsors.
The Avenues of Service are Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation of club activity. New Generations is one of the five avenues of service and recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities, service projects, and exchange programs. All youth programs are connected to a Rotary club.
Rotary believes in developing the next generation of leaders. These programs help younger leaders build leadership skills, expand education and learn the value of service.
ROTARY YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARDS RYLA
is a leadership development program for young people who want to learn new skills, build their confidence, and have fun. Events range from one-day seminars to week-long camps. Rotarians run the seminars and incorporate recreational and cultural activities. RYLA camps are usually sponsored by multiple districts. Rotarians and young people from all over the region meet and exchange ideas.
ROTARY YOUTH EXCHANGE
Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time. It is perhaps the most popular program of all and it allows scholarships to students ages 15-19 to experience another way of life by living abroad with a host family. The student learns a new language, is often immersed in a new religion, new political system, new currency, and new traditions. The student will find friends in the host country and create a friendship that will last forever. The students discover another culture, and truly become global citizens.
Short Term Exchange (STEP) –
Usually a 6-week exchange with a host family overseas and then reciprocates by hosting a foreign student here. Student’s family usually bears costs.
Long Term Exchange (LTEP) –
Student joins a host family for 12 months, goes to school and becomes part of the family. Often based in a country with different language and customs. Usually sponsored by the local Rotary Club and district. Exchanges for students ages 15-19 are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.
Interact clubs brings together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills and learn about the world through service projects and activities. Interact clubs can be based in the community or in schools. The school does not “take over” entirely, but works closely with the sponsoring Rotary club to implement meetings and projects. EarlyAct is generally for students younger than 12.