By PDG Belinda Yeung, JP, Rotary Club of Hong Kong Harbour
May is Youth Service Month
Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs.
Throughout the month of May, members of Rotary clubs, Rotaract, Interact, and those involved in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and Rotary Youth Exchange celebrate the opportunities Rotary provides to connect, grow through service, develop leadership skills, mentor or be mentored, and have fun.
Although COVID may prevent some of us from celebrating Youth Service Month in person, it need not dampen our enthusiasm, excitement, and gratitude for these programs and the volunteers who make them possible.
Following are the programs offered at District 3450 under youth services:
Rotaract clubs bring together people aged 18 and above to exchange ideas with each other in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and foster friendships through service. The establishment of a great number of Rotaract clubs across District 3450 since last century illustrates the region’s diversity and inclusivity with each club having unique and distinct styles to run and manage their funds for various activities and service projects that seek to relieve social difficulties in their communities and provide assistance to people in need.
Rotaract has made it their mission to provide opportunities of serving, learning, leading, and hence creating social significance and facilitating personal development, for passionate young adults to volunteer, develop their interpersonal communication skills and enhance professional knowledge by taking many different leadership roles in social service projects, networking and fellowship events to promote local and international youth exchange of ideas, values and insights.
A Rotary-sponsored service club comprised of 14-18 year olds. Interact gives young people the opportunity to take part in fun, meaningful service projects. Along the way, Interactors develop their leadership skills and initiative while meeting new friends. Members exchange ideas, opinions and plans with other talented, energetic people, in an atmosphere free from negative pressures and distraction. Interact strives to promote student leadership, local volunteer service, and to make members aware of the many global and world issues that affect people every day.
Rotary Youth Exchange
An excellent and inexpensive way for high school age students to travel and study in a foreign country.
Youth exchange gives the participant the opportunity to improve their language skills and school and family experiences will teach them the culture of their host country. They also act as ambassadors for their home country. Prior to the pandemic, Rotary Districts would send approximately 300 young people to other countries and accept 300 young people from other countries in return.
To continue the spirit, Rotary International has introduced virtual exchanges are an engaging alternative to in-person exchanges, providing young people a unique opportunity to interact and collaborate with people from other cultures and communities online. The goal of Rotary Youth Exchange is to promote the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace at the person to person level.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
Each year thousands of young people take part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) programs worldwide. Young people are chosen for their leadership potential to attend a seminar, camp or workshop to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.
(RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience
Connect with leaders in your community and around the world to:
- Build communication and problem-solving skills
- Discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in your school or community
- Learn from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors
- Unlock your potential to turn motivation into action
- Have fun and form lasting friendships
Target: 40 young leader
A pilot run program started by Rotary District 3450 to partner Rotary Clubs with Primary Schools. The aim is to assist primary schools in promoting international understanding, professional development, and service-mindedness among primary school students.
DG Eric Chak, PDG Eugene Fong, Chairperson PP Wing Leung and Committee members, laid a good start for the development of this experimental plan. The annual task of a Junioract Club shall include: a minimum of two clubs-schools meetings, one service project, recommend at least one visit to sponsor Club.