Championing Rotaract in the Thames Valley District

At the beginning of 2017, our President Emma was invited to speak at the Rotary District 1090 Conference held in Bournemouth, alongside current Rotaract District Chair, Rachel Gerrish. Here, she shares her thoughts about Rotaract and why everyone should be involved in their local group.

District 1090 Chair for Rotaract, Rachel Gerrish, and President of Oxford Rotaract, Emma Wilberforce.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Rotaract, it is an international organisation with many locally-based voluntary groups for young people to develop skills and make an impact on their local community. The age range is specified as 18-30 but ages in groups vary because those who join these groups tend to be the giving types, so want to stay involved even past the ‘cut off’, something which speaks volume for Rotaract.

Rotaract stems from Rotary International, who have championed the Purple 4 Polio campaign. You may have seen purple crocus beds decorating your local towns – this is all part of raising awareness for the campaign and a good example of Rotary’s work within the community.

At the end of March, I went down to Bournemouth to speak about the importance of Rotaract and these are some of the reasons why you should get involved in a Rotaract group near you, either by supporting it or joining it:

  • Being a member of Rotaract means you can develop skills for your personal and professional life, such as self-confidence, team leadership, event organisation and public speaking.
  • Rotaract is an evolving organisation and members can be involved in its ongoing shaping and development.
  • Members have opportunities to take part in worldwide initiatives like Rotary Youth Leaderships Awards (RYLA) or Rotary Youth Exchange.
  • Local Rotaract groups can choose a cause they are passionate about to support each year, which offers opportunities to develop relationships with local businesses, volunteer in the community, and create and organise fundraising events.
  • Groups offer the opportunity to build new friendships and make international connections, affording the chance to travel and be welcomed at Rotaract clubs across the globe.
  • People get involved in Rotaract and Rotary in their spare time, as volunteers, so it makes an excellent hobby outside of work and you meet a lot of like-minded people.

For more information on Rotaract, visit www.rotaract.org.uk