The question ‘why do you want to join Rotaract?’ is always answered by; ‘to afford me an opportunity to do community service.’ A very noble answer indeed. But is Rotaract primarily about community service? Is our main objective to do service projects? well, the answer is both yes and an emphatic NO. Thus I elect to write this article to inform you, both member and guest what Rotaract is about.
The following are the goals of the organisation as set out by Rotary International in the standard Rotaract Constitution;
To develop professional and leadership skills; To emphasize respect for the rights of others, and to promote ethical standards and the dignity of all useful occupations; To provide opportunities for young people to address the needs and concerns of the community and our world; To provide opportunities for working in cooperation with sponsoring Rotary clubs; To motivate young people for eventual membership in Rotary.
You will realise that COMMUNITY SERVICE ranks third in the goals which is simply to say that Rotaract is more than community service. First agenda is professional and leadership development which goal aims to empower the individual member (cure the cry of brokeness). Through that development principles of rights, ethics and intergrity are instilled so as to ensure that the individual is developed from the inside out. The Rotary theme for 2011/12 ‘REACH WITHIN TO EMBRASE HUMANITY’ draws from this.After these developments, the individual can now be trusted with the affairs of othesthrough service projects, Club service projects, international understanding projects e.t.c. This is why relationship between Rotaract Clubs and their mother clubs are important. It is why the New Generations avenue of service was introduced by Rotary International and also why The D9200 insisted on a one on one mentorship for Rotaractors by Rotarians.
Be warned, the goal is not merely networking. Goal four and five demand that the relationship be beyond making of mere acquitances for purposes of career building and business contacts. Goal four particularly insist that the relationship be symbiotic. That it be ‘a working Cooperation’. PDG. Mohamed Abdalla demands that Rotaractors must avail themselves to be mentored. That they must show Rotarians how because Rotary already knows why. Rtn Ray Matthews of Rotary Club Nairobi says’ “Its all about friendship. Forming of genuine relationships that not only benefits self but the community as a whole. Once we are friends the rest will take care of itself.”
Goal five suggests a measurement criteria of how well the relationship is working. If it is positive then the conversion rate of Rotaractors to Rotarians should record high percentage and therefore the impact we have in our communities. We all are aware of the reality on the ground.
The above is not to say that service and personal development cannot be concurrent. In fact this is the ideal situation and that was the original design of Rotary; Rotaractors to action the Rotary wheel and while at it develop leadership skills. This changed when Rotary Community Corps was introduced.
So how does one define Rotaract in one sentence, this is how; Rotaract is a network of inspired Young Professionals who have fun translating passions into relevant social causes while cultivating and enhancing leadership and Professional skills.