A Rotary sponsored organisation for young people aged 12 to 18
What is Interact?
Interact is a Rotary sponsored international service organisation for young people age between 12 & 18 offering club members the opportunity to try something new, make new friends and make a difference in their community.
Almost 200,000 young people belong to Interact, with more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries
Clubs can be drawn from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools in the same community. Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting.
Each year, clubs undertake various service projects through which members develop leadership and organisational skills, learn the importance of personal integrity, helpfulness and respect for others and make new friends while having fun helping those less fortunate than themselves.
Approved Activity Provider
In 2015, Rotary became an Approved Activity Provider (AAP). This status applies to the volunteer placement element of the badges. This means that Rotary, through Interact clubs, provides volunteer placements for people doing their award badges. Interactors can now work towards their badges and their Interact challenges by doing just one activity which counts for both.
Non-Interactors are welcomed along to join in and earn their badges through Interact volunteer activities.
There are three badge awards to be aware of:
- Bronze for people aged 14 and over
- Silver for people aged 15 and over
- Gold for people aged 16 and over
The volunteering activity must take up only one hour per week. The overall duration will vary depending on the badge being worked towards:
- Bronze – One hour a week for three months
- Silver – One hour a week for six months
- Gold – One hour a week for twelve months
Advice to Rotary Clubs Forming an Interact Club
Rotarians who have set up successful Interact/Rotakids clubs give the following advice: -
- Contact the school and ascertain how receptive they are to the idea; explain the values of Rotary and the benefits of having an affiliation with an international organisation etc.
- Ask the school to appoint a liaison teacher who will attend the meetings and contact the Rotary club on the members’ behalf.
- It's also a very good idea to appoint a club Rotarian to be a liaison with the school; this person should ideally be able to attend the majority of the Rotakids/Interact meetings in order to keep the connection strong.
As for recruiting pupils, in our experience it is best to let the liaison teacher pick the kids they think would work well in the club and then it tends to grow from there, with friends of the original members soon coming along too.
Interact and Rotakids clubs operate in much the same way as Rotary clubs, but without most of the formalities that many Rotary Clubs are used to. They tend to follow the same format of choosing a local and an international charity to support throughout the year. The pupils should be encouraged to run the club themselves with the guidance of the attending Rotarian and the appointed liaison teacher. Purchase t-shirts for the club members to wear at meetings and for events etc.
There are extensive benefits for the pupils; it is great for their CV which helps them to get into university, college or to go straight into the workplace. Schools also love charitable work as it's a major part of the whole curriculum for excellence which involves getting involved in all these types of schemes. You can also play on the fact that there are opportunities for them to progress within the Rotary family. Once they leave school they can join their local Rotaract club and then eventually Rotary.
There is a membership dividend for clubs that set up Rotakids and Interact clubs; not only will members be growing up already predisposed to joining Rotary but when the teachers and parents see Rotary working at its’ best they can often be encouraged to join Rotary.
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