Touching Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
It may become a tired refrain, but I feel like I can’t emphasize enough the multitude of opportunities available to affect and influence our youth through Rotary.  Among our many youth programs are: 
  1. Citizen of the Quarter: based on the principles of the Four Way Test, fie area elementary schools recognize outstanding character of students through the Citizen of the Quarter.  A Rotary member coordinates for each school, with presentation of certificates and Four Way Test coins to recipients.  For most, this is the first introduction to Rotary. 
  2. Interact:  we started several years ago on a couple of local campuses, and then last year, under the leadership of Rene McGruder, consolidated to have 1 central club at the CATE Center.  The group grew from about a dozen to over 50 teens meeting bi-monthly.  It is an enthusiastic team who are learning service above self, expanding their reach and knowledge while gaining team skills. 
  3. International Exchange: outgoing and incoming.  Mark Heuchert’s daughter is an example of a recent recipient of the Rotary International short term exchange, as she spent a few months in Germany.  Travel is always a broadening experience, and to live in another culture for long enough to gain an understanding of their lifestyle, language and viewpoint is invaluable.  Through the incoming program, we also host an international student for a semester, providing them insight into our society while learning about theirs. 
  4. Four Way Test Speech Contest:  last week we hosted our contest, with thought-provoking views from the two young women.   This is another chance to expose high school students to Rotary, and especially the values of the Four Way Test. 
  5. RYLA: each summer, Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp provides leadership training for students prior to their senior year of high school.  Again, this is an excellent way to introduce students to Rotary, expand their skills and hopefully lay a foundation for future Rotary involvement.  I know that we have had several of the participants join Interact through RYLA.
  6. Scholarships:  for over 20 years our Club has provided college scholarships to local high school graduates.  The awards have grown from $500 to $750 per semester, and next year we hope to increase the awards again.  These funds have assisted a variety of area students in completing their college degrees. 
Each of these programs requires varying amounts of time and energy; additional volunteers are always needed to support and expand these programs.  Please consider the possibility of sharing your knowledge of Rotary and commitment to service.  Let Rene McGruder or me know if you are available for any needs.