Youth Service is the fifth and most recent avenue of service as it was approved as a permanentRotary International committee during the April 2010 Council on Legislation. Although Rotarians have always supported youth activities, the creation of this fifth committee will strengthen our commitment to this vital segment of our community. This initiative, as reported in Rotary International News – 9 September 2010, will “acknowledge the positive change implemented by youth and young adults involved in leadership development activities, community and international service projects, and exchange programs that enrich and foster world peace and cultural understanding.” It has been stated that Youth Service is the future of Rotary.
Specific programs include:
- RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, is Rotary's leadership training program for young people. RYLA participants can be ages 14-30, but most clubs and districts choose to focus on a narrower age range, such as 14-18 or 19-30.
- Rotaract is the collegiate level of Rotary. The Shepherdstown Rotary Club sponsors an extremely active Rotaract Club housed at Shepherd University.
- Interact is the high school level of Rotary. The Shepherdstown Rotary Club is currently in the preliminary stages of discussing the creation and sponsorship of an Interact Club in one of our county’s high schools. The goal would be for Rotaract students as well as Rotary members to serve as role models and possible mentors for these high school students.
- Rotary Youth Exchange.
Students are given the opportunity to spend up to a year living with a few host families and attending school in a different country.