Interact is a service club for youth ages 14-18. Clubs benefit from sponsorship by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance. Interact has a membership of over 250,000 youth in more than 11,000 clubs worldwide. It’s one of Rotary’s fastest growing programs. Interact clubs are self-governing and self-supporting and can be either school or community based.
Interact’s name is a combination of the words international and action. With clubs in over 120 countries and geographical areas, Interact is truly an international phenomenon. Interact’s global youth network is dedicated to community and international service. Every Interact club project, great or small, has a lasting impact on society worldwide. Brazil, India, the Philippines, and the United States boast the highest number of Interact clubs.
If your Rotary club is interested in sponsoring an Interact club, it should form an Interact subcommittee to study the requirements of sponsorship. Be sure to talk with the district Interact chair, who can provide information about how other Interact clubs operate in your district. Once it has compiled all the necessary information for sponsorship, the subcommittee should present its findings to the Rotary club. Here are some tips for making a persuasive presentation:
After the Rotary club board approves the sponsorship of an Interact club, the club must decide whether its Interact club will be community or school based.
Good to Know: When a Rotary club decides to sponsor a school-based Interact club, a member of the Interact subcommittee should meet with school officials to explain the program and its advantages. Rotarians and school officials should work together to determine membership requirements, club policies, the time and location of Interact club meetings, and the faculty adviser.
Brainstorm to develop as wide a membership pool as possible. In a school-based club, ask the faculty adviser to offer suggestions for possible club members. Sources of potential Interactors include:
In addition to prospective Interactors, you’ll want to invite these people:
At the meeting:
At the end of the meeting:
Now that you’ve identified a group of prospective Interactors, it’s time to get the club organized. Keep enthusiasm high by encouraging the Interact club to schedule organizational meetings no more than two weeks apart. Have the Rotarian adviser and, if the club is school based, the faculty adviser, keep a list of everyone who attends these meetings, along with their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Encourage attendees to invite friends to meetings. Although there’s no specific number of organizational meetings required before a club can be chartered, you’ll need to ensure that the Interactors complete the following tasks before applying for a club charter:
Hold elections for president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and other members of the Interact club board.
Develop a membership plan to ensure the club includes a balanced number of male and female members, as well as students from each grade level or age group.
Discuss and establish annual club dues.
Determine where and when club meetings will be held. Clubs must meet at least twice a month.
Begin planning for service activities, fundraising events, and the inaugural ceremony.
Familiarize club members with the constitutional documents.
Good to Know Before a prospective club can be chartered, it must adopt the Standard Interact Club Constitution and all its amendments, then adopt bylaws consistent with the constitution and policy established by Rotary International (see chapter 5). These bylaws are subject to the approval of the sponsor Rotary club.
Once a prospective Interact club has achieved a strong membership base, the club can be chartered by RI. The sponsor Rotary club should work with Interactors to finish the following tasks:
Once the Interact club has been chartered, which typically takes about two to four weeks, the sponsor Rotary club will receive the club’s Certificate of Organization from RI.
The chartering of an Interact club is a meaningful and exciting event. The sponsor Rotary club may wish to host an inaugural ceremony where sponsoring Rotarians can welcome Interactors as partners in Rotary service. Invite Rotary district leaders, such as the governor, Interact chair, and Interact representative, to this celebration to introduce the new Interact club to the district. Every inaugural ceremony is unique, but modeling it after the sponsor Rotary club’s traditions is a good way to begin. Here are some other ways to put together a memorable ceremony: