The Rotary Website’s call-to-action for Rotaract reads, “Join the global movement of young leaders who are developing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.” Reading this shines a beautiful light on the potential of our small communities in District 5190 as many Young Adults attempt to enter a new phase of their lives – whether university or the workforce – and are faced with such unprecedented situations.
For those who are not aware, Rotaract originated a Youth Program sponsored by Rotary for people aged 18-30. Much like its sister organization, Interact, it was an avenue for Rotary to engage a younger demographic in Rotarian causes and initiatives. In 2019, Rotaract went from being a Rotary program to a type of membership, elevating the organization and its members to partners of Rotary.

What does that mean for Rotaractors and Rotarians? It means that they’ve taken the age cap off of Rotaract, so those who feel that their home is still Rotaract after age 30 can remain in their clubs. It means that Rotaract Clubs can exist as their entirely own entity, only being sponsored by a Rotary Club (or other Rotaract Club) if they want to be. It means that Rotaractors are considered, not only by fellow Rotarians but also by Rotary International, as fully-fledged members of Rotary, making us true "partners in service" and key members of the Rotary Family.

Why should this matter to you? Internationally, Rotaract has over 200,000 members but consistently the transition rate of Rotaractors to Rotarians is a measly 5%. Rotaract is a vibrant community of young changemakers, and we want to keep them in our orbit as members of the Rotary family, so losing so many because they are not ready to transition must be remedied. The steps that Rotary International has taken will significantly work to improve membership retention and grow Rotary.

Why does this matter to our District? Ask any Interactor, RLYA recipient, RYE Alum or other youth service participant, and they will tell you that our District is doing amazing work to support and inspire our youth! But that should not stop when they turn 18. We need to find opportunities to empower the Young Adults of our neighborhoods and communities – those same people we so fervently served when they were in elementary through high school – who now are thirsting
for opportunities to give back and lead in their respective communities.

Rotaract is the answer! If you know of a young adult who is interested in Rotary, but may not have the same amount of time, economic, or social capacity to join a Rotary Club, it’s time to encourage them to start a Rotaract Club! All you need is 8 (this number is flexible) interested parties, and BOOM you have the makings of a new club.

Where do I, the Rotaract District Representative, come in? As an active Rotaractor on local, regional, and international levels, I have had the opportunity to learn from fellow Rotaractors from all over the world. I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with people making a difference on 6 of the world’s continents, and I want to share that same opportunity with other Young Adults in District 5190. Put me in contact with these aspiring young, local leaders and I can work with them to establish a club, to create a sustainable structure for service and longevity, and introduce them to resources that allow them to make a larger impact – locally and internationally.
Rotaract has the potential to inspire young people, invigorate community service, and cultivate Rotary in so many different ways. I hope you see its importance and potential and will help me continue to grow our Rotary family!
Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, cues or concerns – I would love to hear your opinions as we help change the world for the better!
Yours in Rotary service,
Cecily Swason
DRR 2019-2021, District 5190
Past President, Rotaract Club of Amador