Every Rotarian an Example to Youth
In 1949, the Rotary International Board adopted the slogan “Every Rotarian an Example to Youth” as an expression of commitment to children and youth in each community in which Rotary clubs exist. Serving young people has long been an important part of the Rotary program.
Youth service projects take many forms around the world. Rotarians sponsor Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, athletic teams, centers for disabled children, school safety patrols, summer camps, orphanages, recreation areas, safe driving clinics, county fairs, child-care centers, and children’s hospitals. Many clubs provide vocational counseling, establish youth employment programs, and promote the use of The 4-Way Test. Increasingly, drug/alcohol abuse prevention and AIDS awareness projects are being supported by Rotarians.
In every instance, Rotarians have an opportunity to be role models and mentors for the young people of their community. One learns to serve by observing others. As our youth grow to become adult leaders, it is hoped each will achieve that same desire and spirit to serve future generations.
It is the responsibility of each Rotarian to prepare the New Generations —all young people up to the age of 30 —by improving their life skills to ensure a better future, while recognizing the diversity of their needs. All clubs and districts are encouraged to undertake projects that support the fundamental needs of the New Generations: health, human values, education, and self development. Rotary International’s Structured Programs for New Generations are: Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Youth Exchange.
The month of September is designated as “New Generations Month” to focus on all Rotary activities that support the development of young people up to the age of 30. Rotary clubs are encouraged to use the slogan “Every Rotarian an Example to Youth” in club bulletins and publicity material during “New Generations Month.”
Youth Exchange is one of the most popular programs to promote international understanding and develop lifelong friendships. It began in 1927 with the Rotary Club of Nice, France. Exchanges in Europe continued until World War II and resumed after the war in 1946. In 1939, an extensive Youth Exchange was created between California and Latin America. Since then, the program has expanded around the world. In recent years, more than 7,000 young people have participated annually in rotary club- and district-sponsored exchange programs.
The values of Youth Exchange are experienced not only by the high-school-age students involved but also by the host families, sponsoring clubs, receiving high schools, and the entire community. Youth Exchange participants usually provide their fellow students in their host schools with excellent opportunities to learn about customs, languages, traditions, and family life in another country.
Youth Exchange offers young people interesting opportunities and rich experiences to see another part of the world. Student usually spend a full academic year abroad, although some clubs and districts sponsor short-term exchanges of several weeks or months.
Youth Exchange is highly recommended program for all Rotary clubs as a practical activity for the enhancement of international understanding and goodwill.