Posted on Dec 30, 2018
Some tips on encouraging your Rotary Club to establish an Interact Club
What is Interact?
Interact is the junior arm of Rotary International. Young people, aged between 12 and 18  - our future Rotarians- learn about the way of Rotary in an Interact club that is generally attached to a secondary school.
District 9930 Interact Chair, Linda Bonne recently emailed all District 9930 Rotary Club Presidents and gave some ideas to help Rotary Clubs establish Interact Clubs within their Rotary Club.
Why establish an interact club in your Rotary Club?
Most Rotary Clubs believe in the potential of teenagers. Many teenagers want to be involved in their community, learn leadership skills, develop connections with professionals and tradespeople directly through building relationships with sponsoring Rotary Club members, and roll their sleeves up and ‘do stuff’ for the goodwill of others. Through your Rotary Club membership support and guidance, you build resilient future leaders and prospective Rotarians.
What can you do as a Rotary Club to establish an Interact Club?
As a Rotary club, you need these things:
1) Have a champion. That is what will make your Interact a success. This person will ideally be a teacher at the local secondary school. There are many ways this can be funded. This person already is a club member who enjoys teenagers. You just have to have time to be reliable, listen, facilitate, encourage and show leadership. A successful Interact club will meet weekly at school as a club and weekly for their board.
2) Supportive Club members. This builds confidence and reinforces the values of Rotary for the students. Inclusive friendly support teaches students social skills.
3) Interactors must be welcome to attend regular Rotary Club meetings. This shows Interactors leadership in action. They gain leadership skills by listening to guest speakers, and club meeting procedure alongside undertaking club duties and the Interact Club President attending New Generations Committee meetings and Club board meetings. In our club, two interactors attend each regular club meeting, their meal cost is absorbed in the club, they speak on what they have been involved in and future plans, plus they are on club duties.
4) Involve Interact Clubs in Rotary Club activities. Our Rotary Club has Interact members at every activity we have undertaken, and Interact have Rotary Club support and involvement in all their activities. This shows Interactors how to organise events and volunteering.
Establishing interact clubs in our district and working with young people was one of 2018/2019 citations of RI President Barry Rossin. He has a keen interest in reassuring the future of Rotary, starting with those younger members of our community. It has been said that we need to encourage more volunteering among our ‘lazy teenagers’. Interact encourages students to participate in the community and international activities, and shows that they are very keen to play their part in the community.
I am available to any club who would like to know more. My Whakatane High School Interact Club students are keen to come to your club to guide you through the process. There is a handbook, but first-hand guidance is always best. We know what works, and what makes a vibrant club. We have over 40 members, we are attached to an excellent club, Rotary Whakatane Sunrise, and we eight years old. There are very effective clubs in Matamata, Napier, Rotorua and Hamilton, that I am aware of at this time. We have over 50 Rotary Clubs in this district. It would be brilliant if more Rotary Clubs would give our teenagers the knowledge they have to be a success in their future.
Please feel free to contact me in the new year, and I will guide you through the steps involved.
Have a fabulous holiday.
From: Linda Bonne