Youth Service
The 5th Avenue of Service in Rotary

Youth Services, has been officially recognized as the Fifth Avenue of Service by Rotary International. This formal action was taken in Chicago during the April 2010 meeting of the Council on Legislation, the legislative arm of Rotary International which meets every three years.

Youth Service programs include all our Rotary service programs for young people up to the age of 30. In our District, these include the RI Programs of Rotaract, Interact, RYE, and RYLA, along with a large number of other projects done at the club level. Youth Protection is another important Youth Service  resource available to Rotarians, clubs and youth programs at the District level.

So, why are Youth Service programs so important that they have now been recognized internationally?

We often hear that our youth is our future. This is certainly true and one of the reasons that we focus on literacy, leadership training, and expanding training in ethics for young people. These are the people who will be running our country and our world within the next 20 years.

Rotarians have always taken a sincere interest in helping to prepare the next generation-with programs and projects that help with health and education, and lead the way to world peace and understanding. Beyond this fact, young people are also the future of our organization if we choose for Rotary to survive and thrive beyond our lifetime. Through Rotary youth programs, we have the opportunity to not only provide service that is the keystone of our organization, but also to develop relationships and provide exposure to our wonderful organization and the ideals of "service above self" to the next generation.

To briefly review our District's youth programs:

Rotaract is a Rotary sponsored club for ages 18 to 30. Rotaractors are involved in community and international service projects, as well as professional development and leadership training, and are good partners in service with their sponsoring Rotary clubs.

is a Rotary sponsored club for ages 12 to 18, typically at a high school or middle school, although it is not limited to a single school. Interact clubs are also involved in community, campus and international service projects. (The ages for Interact were changed early in 2010 from 14 years of age as the youngest, to 12 years of age.)

Rotary Youth Exchange, or RYE is the leading international student exchange program in the world, and our District sends about several students out to foreign countries each year, and also hosts about 30 students from around the globe to spend a year of high school in our communities. New Generations Exchange is another cultural exchange program for students beyond high school, for a shorter term exchange experience abroad.