Historic Moments: Interact
Interactors from Marin Catholic High School in California, USA, help build a house in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2003.
This year, the Interact program marks its 50th anniversary.
The first Interact club was chartered 5 November 1962 at Melbourne High School, Florida, USA, a few months after the program was approved by the Rotary International Board of Directors. The club and its 39 charter members were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Melbourne.
Interact’s name is a combination of “international” and “action.” Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting. Interact is open to young men and women, ages 12-18.
Browse the image gallery to see Interactors in action during the past 50 years. The following are a few historic facts and firsts:
- On 14 January 1963, the Interact Club of St. Peter’s High School became the first Interact club outside the United States. It was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.
- The first club in Africa was chartered 20 September 1963 at H.H. Aga Khan High School, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Mombasa, Kenya.
- The Interact program grew to 290 clubs in 25 countries and geographical areas within its first year.
- In January 2010, the RI Board of Directors lowered the minimum age from 14 to 12.
- In 2011, there were 13,500 Interact clubs in 138 countries and geographical areas.
During 2012, the Presidential Citation for Interact clubs and new Interact Certificates of Organization will feature a 50th anniversary logo. Join clubs around the world in celebrating a half century of Interact by organizing activities like these:
- Challenge your club or each Interactor to raise donations in amounts of 50 for a polio eradication fundraiser.
- During World Interact Week (5-11 November), carry out projects that involve 50 positive actions in one of Rotary’s areas of focus, such as donating 50 books to support a literacy program or organizing a community forum with 50 young people.
- Film interviews with former members of your Interact club about how the program can fuel a lifetime of service. Use the footage to create an entry for Rotary’s annual Interact video contest. See the Interact YouTube channel for details.
- Show us how your school, club, or Rotary district will celebrate Interact’s 50th anniversary by sharing photos and stories on the Interact Facebook page.