Rotaract clubs are part of a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world. This effort starts at the community level but knows no limits in its outreach. Rotaractors have access to the many resources of Rotary International (RI) and The Rotary Foundation. Rotary International provides the administrative support that helps Rotaract clubs thrive.
"Rotaract" stands for "Rotary in Action", although the name originally comes from a combination of "Interact" (International + Action), the high school level programme created by Rotary International in 1962.
Most Rotaract activities take place at the club level. Rotaract clubs hold formal meetings, usually every two weeks, which feature speakers, special outings, social activities, discussions or visits to other clubs. Club members get together on designated days for service project work, social events, or professional/leadership development workshops.
The purpose of Rotaract is to provide an opportunity for young men and women to enhance the knowledge and skills that will assist them in personal development, to address the physical and social needs of their communities, and to promote better relations between all people worldwide through a framework of friendship and service.
To be eligible for membership, prospective members must be 18–30 years of age, show that they are committed to Rotaract, and show that they are of good standing in the community. After being approved by the club, prospective members are 'inducted' to become members, also known as 'Rotaractors'. Clubs generally charge a small annual membership fee to cover costs.
Rotaract has evolved quickly in its short but dynamic history. In the early 1960s, Rotary clubs around the world began to sponsor university youth groups as community service projects. The 1967-68 RI president, Luther H. Hodges, and the RI Board of Directors considered this club activity to have international relevance, and Rotaract was approved in 1968 as an official program for Rotary clubs. The first club chartered was the Rotaract Club of North Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, on 13 March 1968. Several decades later, the Rotaract program has grown into a strong, international network of 7,300 clubs in more than 150 countries and geographical areas. Rotaract’s 145,000 members are young men and women (ages 18 to 30) who serve the needs of their communities, widen their personal and professional contacts, and increase their understanding of the world.
Rotaract has the following goals:
- To develop professional and leadership skills
- To emphasize respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual
- To recognize the dignity and value of all useful occupations as opportunities to serve
- To recognize, practice, and promote ethical standards as leadership qualities and vocational responsibilities
- To develop knowledge and understanding of the needs, problems, and opportunities in the community and worldwide
- To provide opportunities for personal and group activities to serve the community and promote international understanding and goodwill toward all people
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization for leading business and professional men and women, with more than 1.2 million members in over 31,000 Rotary clubs. Each Rotaract club is sponsored by a local Rotary club. This sponsorship is a result of Rotary’s belief that young people, or New Generations, should take an active interest in community life and have the opportunity for professional development. Organizing a Rotaract club is one of the most rewarding activities a Rotary club can undertake in its community. The Rotaract program gives Rotarians the opportunity to mentor dynamic young women and men interested in providing service to their own communities as well as the global community. In turn, a Rotaract club can bring new energy to a Rotary club, inspire fresh ideas for service, increase support for projects, and help develop future Rotary club members. Rotaract clubs are self-governed and largely selffinanced at the local level. Working in cooperation with their sponsoring Rotary clubs as partners in service, Rotaractors are an important part of Rotary’s extended family.The Rotaract Club of St. Kitts
On July 1st 1986, a new star rose on the horizon of community service in St. Kitts. This was the vision of Rotarian Charles Wilkin (President 1986/87) and William Dore, of the Rotary Club of St. Kitts. This organization provides young men and women (age 18-30) an opportunity to “give back” to the community in a framework of fellowship, while enhancing their leadership skills and promoting international understanding.
Over the years, many members have passed through Rotaract, most making major strides within their own spheres. It would not be surprising if many of them attributed their successes-at least partly- to the professional grooming that the Club affords. However, these would be quick to point out that “the best they got from Rotaract is what they had to give.” And indeed, unselfish service was not just a hallmark of this organization, but characterized the fortunate young men and women who passed through its ranks. These individuals gave freely of their time, efforts and talents to improve our community, socially and physically, and they derived satisfaction solely by being able to serve.
The club has also taken on many Community and Humanitarian projects since its inception, these includes the following:
- Placement of dustbins around Basseterre.
- Placement and maintenance of historical signs along the island main road.
- Donation of medical equipment to clinics and JN France General Hospital.
- Planting of trees in Independence Square.
- Establishing and hosting Annual Carnival Prince and Princess Show.
- Organizing and hosting the Heritage Treasure Hunt.
- Sponsorship of books and exam scholarships in the high schools
- Production of an Environmental Booklet.
- Donation of household appliance to Harris Home for Boys.
- Annual Christmas Party and gift exchange for the Children’s Home.
- Monetary donations for the Ian Richards Fund and for a kidney transplant for a child.
Rotaract recognizes that it must continue to play this role as a community benefactor, especially in these times when materialism and greed pervades society, and “me first” and personal gain shape our attitudes. We look forward to the day when “civic-mindedness” will be the attitude and helping others will be “The Thing!” Until then, the Rotaract Club of St. Kitts will continue to play a leading part in educating others of the need for unselfish service and setting a positive example for others to follow.