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Students and Youth challenge themselves at a RYLA camp
Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30. Rotaract clubs are either community or university based, and they’re sponsored by a local Rotary club. This makes them true “partners in service” and key members of the family of Rotary.
As one of Rotary’s most significant and fastest-growing service programs, with more than 7,000 clubs in about 163 countries and geographical areas, Rotaract has become a worldwide phenomenon.
All Rotaract efforts begin at the local, grassroots level, with members addressing their communities’ physical and social needs while promoting international understanding and peace through a framework of friendship and service.
Rotaractors may also:
In March 1968, the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, planted a tree on its campus to commemorate receiving the first Rotaract charter.
In the late 1960s, noting the success of the recently formed Interact program, the RI Board realized the need for a program of service, activity, and fellowship for young adults no longer of Interact age (14-18). The name Rotaract (Rotary in Action) was selected to show the program’s close affiliation with both Rotary and Interact clubs.
RI President Luther Hodges inaugurated Rotaract in 1968, with the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, being the first club. The club received its charter on 13 March and had 21 members.
Within a day of the certification of the Rotaract Club of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the Rotaract Club of the University of La Salle was chartered in Tacubaya, Mexico. The Rotaract clubs of Florence, Italy; Gaston College and Sylva, both in North Carolina; and Secunderabad, India, were all certified in the following weeks. Since the 1950s, many Rotary clubs had been starting unofficial clubs for young adults, so this fueled Rotaract’s rapid growth in its first few years. Rotaract grew from 21 clubs in 1967-68 to 289 clubs a year later. There are now 7,000 Rotaract clubs in 163 countries and geographic areas.
Rotaract clubs were originally open to young men and women ages 17-24. Since 1971, young adults ages 18-30 have been welcomed.
DGE Rowley Tompsett (Hall)
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