Friday, July 12, 2024




How can our club stay involved with students now that exchanges are cancelled for 21/22 and everything else is online only?
Last month I wrote about exchange being a long game. All of Rotary’s youth programs are an investment in young people. It changes their lives and ours in ways which are both profound and subtle.

You may be wondering how your club can stay connected to youth programs with continued restrictions on in person gatherings and travel. Just because exchanges and other in person programs aren’t happening this year doesn’t mean that students can’t stay involved with your club. Rotarians have a huge range of interests, skills and connections to share with students.

Gathering ideas
This list is meant to get us thinking about possibilities for youth service projects in our local communities and internationally and ways to stay engaged with the up and coming citizens in our district. Ask your students what their interests are and how they want to get involved. Some of these ideas will work right now, some will work when we can gather in larger numbers in person and some will work when travel is open again. Please reach out to the leaders of these programs through the website links provided if you want to find out more.

Invite students to participate in projects. Don’t just invite them to zoom meetings! Students might be interested in helping with community or international service projects. Outdoor projects with an environmental focus such as beach and trail cleanups are an easy way to include people of all ages.

Involve your student in an International service project
Consider sponsoring your outbound student or dedicated Interact volunteers to join your club on a future international service project with the funds your club had earmarked for exchange or other youth projects this past year. Get them involved in your club’s fundraising in the leadup to the project.

Award your outbound student a scholarship
The Bremerton club has recommended that they give their outbound exchange student, (who instead of exchange will be heading to university this fall), a scholarship from the unused funds that they had earmarked for the exchange program. With club support this is an idea that wouldn’t be hard to implement and can keep you connected with students who have been involved with your club.

If students aren’t already involved in Interact at their school encourage them to check it out or sponsor a club at your local high school.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
RYLA involves students in grades 8-10 in leadership training. Check out this amazing program that has branches on Vancouver Island and in Northwest Washington.

Related idea: the Qualicum Beach club has facilitated virtual discussion groups with RYLA Vancouver Island members on topics such as Isolation in the Elderly and Environmental Restoration. Students get to know each other through group activities and then develop a service project to help with their topic. RYLA Alumni are also involved in helping run the groups.

Short-term exchange
We plan to resume the planning process for the 22/23 Rotary year for exchanges that will start after July 1, 2022. Watch our website in the summer for more information.

Long-term exchange
We plan to resume the planning process for the 22/23 Rotary year for exchanges that will start after July 1, 2022. Watch our website in the summer for more information.

Vocational Service
Vocational service is another great way to get Rotarians and young people involved in their community.

New Generations Service Exchange
New Generations Service Exchanges go to age 30 but are also not an option until after June 30, 2022.  Up to 12 weeks on tourist visas.

Friendship exchanges
Involve students in future plans for friendship and group study exchanges.

Post graduate Scholarships
The Rotary Foundation sponsors a number of scholarships at the post graduate level.

Youth Protection
Youth Protection awareness and certification is the cornerstone of all of Rotary’s youth programs. All club Presidents must be individually certified. Presidents Elect must be certified before starting their year. And if you are a President Elect Nominee it’s not to early to start on your certification

D5020 youth programs website
For a summary of all the youth programs in D5020 have a look at the D5020 youth programs home page

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