RI Board lowers Interact age
Interactors get ready to take part in a Subnational Immunization Day in Nepal in 2008. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
To help promote the growth of Interact , the RI Board has agreed to lower the age of eligibility for Interactors from 14 to 12.
“This is another opportunity to expand the family of Rotary,” says J.R. Thompson, a member of the RI Interact Committee and the Rotary Club of Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA. “In my personal experience working with young people, they will put out the effort to reach a reasonable level of expectations. I found this is just as true of a 12-year-old as it is of a 14-year-old.”
The Council on Legislation, which met 25-30 April in Chicago, was also poised to consider a pair of proposals to lower the minimum age for Interact, but withdrew them because of the January action by the Board. District 2750 (Guam; Japan; Micronesia; Northern Marianas; Palau), which proposed one of the resolutions, argued in its statement of support that the mental and physical development of young people today is more advanced than when the Standard Interact Club Constitution was launched.
The Council approved creating a permanent committee of RI for Interact and establishing a fifth Avenue of Service, New Generations Service, to recognize the positive change brought about by young adults involved in leadership activities. Read more .
Each year, Interact clubs are asked to complete at least two community service projects, one of which should further international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs.
The Board’s policy for Interact states that the sponsor Rotary club must cooperate with school authorities in supervising the Interact club, and that the Interact club is subject to all the regulations that apply to other student organizations and extracurricular activities at the school.
If the school where an Interact club is based includes students younger than age 12 or older than 18, they may also be members, the policy states. So, if a school serves students ages 10-13, 10-year-olds could also be members.
“In smaller communities, it is not unusual for secondary schools to be combined with junior and senior high schools,” says Thompson. “In fact, this is a growing trend in the U.S., where the mean age of the population continues to move up.”
The Board also agreed to set these priorities for the program:
- Promoting Interact using publications, video, the Internet, club presentations, and other methods
- Sharing information about Rotary with Interactors by distributing Rotary International publications such as The Rotarian magazine and Rotary Leader , and the governor’s monthly letter
- Assigning Rotarians as mentors for Interactors, inviting Interactors to attend Rotary club meetings, and consulting with Interact clubs to develop a districtwide service project for all Interactors
“Strong clubs -- whether they are Interact, Rotaract, or Rotary -- are always looking for more good people willing to put their minds, backs, and hearts into Service Above Self,” says Thompson.
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