Words from Barry Rassin, Rotary International President, 2018-19
As we look ahead toward Rotary’s new Strategic Plan, one thing is very clear: to build the Rotary of the future, we need to be working much harder to develop Rotary leadership for the future. That means engaging a younger generation in Rotary service, and doing more to welcome and encourage service-minded young professionals into the Rotary family.

Fifty years ago, Rotary launched a program designed to do just that: Rotaract. In many ways, Rotaract has been astonishingly successful. Today, we have a quarter of a million Rotaractors, serving in about 10,000 clubs.
Yet as successful as Rotaract has been in its service and its growth, Rotary has largely failed to support Rotaract in becoming the incubator for Rotarians that we hoped it would be. Only 27% of Rotary clubs sponsor a Rotaract club, and only a tiny percentage of the talented and motivated people who serve in Rotaract go on to serve in Rotary.
It’s my goal this year to turn all of that around: both by doubling (yes, you read that right—doubling) the number of Rotary club sponsoring Rotaract clubs, and making sure that every Rotaract club is fully embraced by Rotary. I want to approach that work in a strategic way, by building Rotaract clubs that are community based, with young people who are going to stay in the same area where Rotary clubs are already waiting to welcome them.

If you’ve never thought of sponsoring a Rotaract club, we’ve got plenty of great resources to get you started, including our Rotaract Handbook. The most important part of sponsoring a Rotaract club is keeping the connection between Rotaract and Rotary strong. Hold joint meetings, run joint projects, and make Rotaractors welcome at your Rotary meetings. Treat Rotaractors as younger colleagues, and be open to the inspiration, knowledge, and new ideas they can bring to your service. Know the Rotaractors in your Rotaract clubs, keep track of which of them might be ready to join Rotary—and when they’re ready, invite them! Or be open to chartering a new Rotary club that might better suit their needs, and grow a more diverse, more flexible, and stronger Rotary. For more ideas, register for Building New Clubs Together (English only), a webinar that will help you determine when a new club is needed and provide ideas for recruiting charter members and creating a strong leadership team. The webinar will be held on 9 August from 15:00-16:00 Chicago time (UTC-5).

We’ve put together all kinds of resources to help you launch, and support, Rotaract in your community. If you’re ready to get started, click the link below to tell me you’re in—and take the first steps in your Rotaract journey.

I’m in!

Whether you’re with Rotarians, Rotaractors, or in your community, show your Rotary pride.  We have a great organization—and we can all Be the Inspiration.

Yours in Rotary,
Barry Rassin
Rotary International President, 2018-19