Using social networking to reach youth
Chuck Frazier, general coordinator of the Youth Services Resource Group. Rotary Images
Rotarians should embrace social networking tools as a means to connect with young people and promote youth programs, says Chuck Frazier, general coordinator of the Youth Services Resource Group.
"There has been a massive change in technology that better allows people to promote and market," says Frazier, a member of the Rotary Club of Emporia, Kansas, USA, and past governor of District 5710. "We're encouraging Rotarians to join social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to better connect with youth program participants.
"With social networking, members can share their experiences and the benefits of joining a youth program," Frazier adds. "Being a part of these programs is fun. We need to get that message out there."
Recognizing the importance of youth in Rotary's future, Past RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson appointed the Youth Services Resource Group in 2007-08. The group works to increase membership in Rotary's youth programs: Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards ( RYLA), and Rotary Youth Exchange.
Frazier says one of his group's goals has been to help build closer relationships between youth program participants and their sponsor club or district. The group also wants to get clubs and districts -- and youth -- involved with more than one program.
"Just like business, once you have a client who knows your product, you try to sell them more of your other products," he says. "You want to keep those clients. Stronger interaction will only make both stronger."
Frazier says he's been involved in Rotary's youth programs for decades. He hosted his first Youth Exchange student in 1981. His daughter is a former exchange student, and his son was a RYLA participant.
"I have a great deal of admiration and respect for these programs," he says. "I want to see all four programs grow. What we'd like to see happen, ultimately, is to keep them involved and keep involving them more."
Frazier says the Youth Services Resource Group works year round to promote the future of Rotary through the next generation of Rotarians.
"There are all kinds of possibilities if we just let current youth program participants know about other Rotary programs that are out there for them," he says. "With the technology available now, Rotarians and young people can more effectively spread the word about Rotary."
This is the fourth in a series of articles for New Generations Month about Rotary youth programs: