History of Rotaract
In January 1968, the Rotaract program of Rotary International service club for young adults aged 18-30 years, was officially inaugurated under the chairmanship of Luther Hodges, then President of Rotary International. On March 13, 1968, the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina, sponsored by the Rotary Club of North Charlotte (North Carolina, USA) was the first Rotaract club to receive its official charter. Although this club is recognized as the first Rotaract club, Rotarians have sponsored similar structures for young adults since the early 20s.
The decision to adopt the Rotaract program came through a time when student protests occurring around the world gave rise to growing concerns among Rotarians. The Rotaract program was adopted as well. In addition to allow former Interactors to remain within the Rotary family, it also allowed direct energy of these young adults into positive activities, enabling them to serve their communities.
In 1966, a special committee was formed to design the new service club program for young adults. Following a survey of students at the University of Houston, the committee decided that "Rotaract, contraction of the words" Rotary "and" action "was the most appropriate term to describe this program. By the merest chance, the service club at the University of North Carolina had already adopted the name in 1966 but had wrought on him from the words "Rotary" and "Interact." The committee decided that young women should be allowed to take part in the Rotaract program on the same footing as the male members, but this was left to the discretion of the sponsoring Rotary Club.
The day after the official recognition of the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina, the Rotaract Club of University Hall received its charter Tacubaya Mexico. The Rotaract Clubs of Florence (Italy), Gaston College (North Carolina, USA) and Secunderabad (India) on all of them were officially recognized in the weeks that followed. The clubs young adults already exist in many areas allowed to increase the rapid development of Rotaract in its early years.
In 1981, Rotaract has become so popular that Rotaractors of South Africa decided to organize the first conference Interot, an international conference bringing together all Rotaractors. Since then, Interot conferences are held every three years and have been organized by Rotaractors South Africa, Australia, England, Turkey and Mexico. The last conference was held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2002. International meetings designed to Rotaractors are also held each year at the Rotaract pre-convention preceding the annual conference of Rotary. The first such meeting attended by more than 450 Rotaractors took place in Seoul (Korea) in 1989.
The various developments in the early 90s made it possible to strengthen the Rotaract movement. In February 1991, the first Rotaract club in Eastern Europe received its charter in Budapest in Hungary with the support of Austrian Rotaractors. Ties with Eastern Europe were further strengthened when the same Austrian Rotaractors helped the Rotaract Club of Prague to get its charter in late 1991 in what was then Czechoslovakia. In March 1992, the Board of Directors of Rotary International instituted World Rotaract Week celebrated annually the week of March 13 to commemorate the surrender of the first chartered Rotaract club. During World Rotaract week, the Rotaractors attend meetings with their sponsoring clubs, set up service projects to be undertaken jointly and shall exchange views with the Rotary clubs do not sponsor Rotaract clubs to expose their program benefits.
Since 1968, the Rotaractors unfailingly demonstrate that they are an innovative and positive force in changing their communities. Service activities are typically conducted projects to improve the environment, visits to elderly or sick, campaigns for organ donation or blood, and aid to developing countries. The project started in 1987 by the Rotaract Clubs of Heemstede and Hillegom-smoothed, Netherlands testament to the ingenuity of the Rotaractors. To raise funds for PolioPlus, the Rotaractors of these two clubs have developed an amphibious bicycle led by 36 Rotaractors to cross the Channel. The campaign has raised U.S. $ 210,000 for PolioPlus and has Rotaractors enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the speed of their crossing.
Rotaract is today still an impressive expansion. There are currently more than 7,050 Rotaract clubs in 150 countries and the number of members amounts to over 161,000 people. It was India, with 1,782 clubs with the largest number of Rotaract clubs, followed by Brazil with 651 clubs, with 423 clubs, Philippines, Japan with 417 clubs and Italy with 362 clubs. As far as the program to continue its expansion, the Rotaractors show again and again that they are ready to meet the challenges of the Fellowship by the service.
Benefits of Rotaract
Service defines Rotary's character and is the basis for its appeal and visibility in the community. Service Above Self is the main philosophy that guides Rotary.
Community service opportunities
Each Rotaract club is required to complete at least two major service projects annually: one to benefit the community and the other to promote international understanding. For information on developing effective service projects, download the following publications:
Find out more about identifying effective community service efforts in the Projects section , and get information on international service project development in the Rotary Volunteers and World Community Service sections.
Learn about some award-winning Rotaract projects.
A club’s professional development activities should expand its members’ understanding of the work environment and business opportunities within their community. They should highlight Rotaractors’ role in the community’s economic development and illustrate how skills honed through service can help resolve problems in the workplace. Each Rotaract club should provide professional development opportunities through activities such as:
- Special professional and vocational forums
- Business-related technology updates
- Management and marketing seminars
- Business and professional ethics conferences
- Presentations on finance and credit options for start-ups
Rotarian sponsors can enhance Rotaractors’ professional development by providing practical advice on entering the business world and on overcoming vocational challenges. Joint Rotaract-Rotary professional development projects can help Rotaractors get better acquainted with Rotarians.
A club’s leadership development activities aim not only to make members more effective leaders in their personal lives but also to teach them how to develop and sustain strong clubs through projects. Each Rotaract club should provide leadership development opportunities to its members through activities that
- Improve public-speaking skills
- Teach techniques for marketing Rotaract to potential members
- Build consensus among members
- Help with delegating project responsibilities and ensuring follow-up
- Identify channels for project publicity and promotion
- Point out financial resources for strengthening club development
- Assess project success
Additionally, clubs should consider providing ongoing district-level leadership development opportunities to Rotaractors as they strengthen their understanding of Rotary.
Rotaract Presidential Citation
The RI president encourages all Rotaract clubs to strive for a Rotaract Presidential Citation. To qualify a club must fulfill the requirements listed on the Rotaract Presidential Citation Form. The sponsor Rotary club president must sign the form to certify the Rotaract club's achievement and send it to the district governor no later than 31 March.