Home' Rotary Down Under : August 2014 (International) Contents 10 Issue 564. August 2014
Junior Rotary: a new concept
I write in response to the letter “Engage our Future
Rotarians” (RDU June 2014) by Robert Alexander.
Robert’s article eluded to a possibility when he mentioned
“Junior Rotarians”. This is a concept I have been thinking
about for some time. Ask people, what is Interact? Most
people (including some Rotarians) would not know what it
is, because the name has no relevance to Rotary. If Interact
was changed to “Junior Rotary” children and parents
would be able to identify with that concept.
Ask anybody who is or has been involved in children’s
sports – whether it be football, cricket, golf, netball,
softball or whatever – when the sport involves children it is
predominately referred to as a “junior” sport. With this in
mind would it not be possible to introduce schools to the
concept of Junior Rotary where these junior clubs could be
structured the same as a Rotary club with the same ideals
and objectives? The concept could also be
In Western Australia most senior high schools now cater
for Years 7-12. This age group are 12-18 years old and if
encouraged to participate it would give them up to five
years exposure to what Rotary is about and its community
focus. Some schools have a program where students are
encouraged to do so many hours of community based
activities. This program is called “Community Service”, which
by coincidence is also one of Rotary’s avenues of service.
However, like any junior sport Junior Rotary (Interact)
still needs drivers, people who are prepared to dedicate
time and effort into setting up and mentoring these junior
clubs otherwise the cause is lost before it starts.
Having been involved in junior sport myself (golf) for
16-plus years it is only as successful as the time and effort
put in. Also, in the case of my junior golf club, the senior
host club has provided considerable financial support to
ensure adequate resources (golf sticks, balls, coaching)
are available to encourage children to take up the sport.
This would need to apply to the Junior Rotary model, with
host clubs prepared to spend money on what could be
Imagine the possibilities if each club managed to set
up one junior club at any school in their area with 20
children in each club. In my district with 49 clubs that is
980 children. The spinoff is that, as with all junior sport,
there are a number of parents who like to get involved in
what their children are doing. In our district alone there is
a potential for 1960 members and even at a 10 per cent
take up that is still 196 potential members.
To keep pace with the modern, fast evolving world,
Rotary needs to become more inventive in its approach
to get people involved in Rotary. Perhaps with a name
change that children and non-Rotarian parents can
identify with Junior Rotary may be that avenue.
Rotary Club of Mundaring, WA
Convention did Australia proud
As one Australian among 18,000 people from
around the world I was proud of the wonderful
work done by the organising committee, the
volunteers and everybody directly and indirectly
associated with the 2014 RI Convention. From the
public transport workers to Prime Minister Tony
Abbott, everybody was cheerful and welcoming.
The announcement by our Prime Minister during
the opening ceremony of $100 Million to the
End Polio Now! Campaign was but the beginning
of four days of terrific entertainment and
The highlight for me was the way people would
just sit and talk; there were no barriers or shyness
and people who came from different countries felt
like close friends exchanging stories and experiences.
The fact the presentation Power Points are
available online will be a valuable resource for
years and I recommend those who missed a
session or were unable to attend for any reason
look at the website www.slideshare.net/Rotary_
I am looking forward to attending next year’s
Convention in São Paulo, Brazil, and would
encourage anybody who has not yet decided to
attend to reconsider. I am certain they will put on
a great Convention.
As I flew back to Melbourne, I could not help
but feel pride with the feedback and compliments
Rotarians and their partners were taking back to
around 150 countries, many of whom had not
been to Australia before.
Rotary Club of Camberwell, Vic
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