Youth programs

Youth Programs

Rotary Youth Programs include Interact (ages 14 to 18), Rotaract (ages 18 to 30), Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and Youth Educational Exchange.

The Interact, sponsored by the Rotary Youth Organization, was launched by the RI Board of Directors in 1962. The first Interact Club was founded by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA. Interact clubs provide opportunities for high school youth to work together in a world of service friendship and international understanding. The term Interact comes from "inter" from international and "act" from action. Each Interact club must be sponsored and supervised by a Rotary club and must plan annual service projects for their school, community, and the world. Today there are over 8,600 Interact clubs with over 200,000 members in about 110 countries. Interactors develop leadership skills and have practical experience in conducting service projects, and with that they know the satisfaction that comes from service to others. The main goal of Interact is to empower young people to create greater understanding and goodwill with youth around the world.

Following the success of the Interactive High School Clubs in the 1960s, the RI Board established Rotaract in 1968. The new organization is designed to support responsible citizenship and leadership opportunities in young men's and women's clubs, ages 18 to 30. The first Rotaract Club was chartered by the Charlotte North Rotary Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. In 2002, there were 170,000 members in over 7,300 Rotaract clubs in 153 countries. Rotaract clubs emphasize the importance of personal responsibility as a basis for personal success and development of society. Each club is required to complete at least two service projects per year, one for the benefit of the community and the other for promoting international understanding. Rotaract also provides leadership and professional development opportunities. Rotaractors enjoy many social activities and programs to improve their societies. A Rotaract Club can only exist if it is constantly sponsored, directed and advised by a Rotary Club.

RYLA is an intensive training program for young people aged 14-30. The program is usually conducted in the form of a seminar, camp or workshop, 3-10 days long, organized by Rotarians at the local club or at a district level.

The International Exchange Program sends high school students to study or travel abroad for a maximum of one academic year in order to improve international understanding and goodwill. Pupils between the ages of 15 and 19 live in foster care and receive personal experiences of life, culture and education in another country. Sponsored by sending and receiving Rotary clubs or districts, exchanges are made following a procedure suggested by the Rotary International board.