Rotary International recognizes that young people are an extremely important part of maintaining a strong organization as time goes by. The group actively recruits young volunteers and sponsors multiple programs for young people, including:
- Rotary Youth Exchange: an exchange-student program for secondary school students. Students live in another country while working with the Rotary Club there.
- Rotaract: a club for people aged 18 to 30. Rotaract groups are sponsored by their local Rotary Clubs, which help the young people contribute to the community and learn about professional development.
- Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): a youth leadership training branch that promotes and encourages leadership. These groups can encompass anyone aged 14 to 30, but they are often divided up into smaller age ranges.
Rotary International also works for education through its Ambassadorial Scholarships program. From 2005 to 2006, Rotary awarded almost 800 scholarships totaling $500 million [source: RI]. Fellowships for the Rotary World Peace Fellows are offered for master's degrees and professional development certificates nationally and internationally. Even if you outgrow the age restrictions for the youth programs, you can still be involved through the Rotary alumni group.
By joining the Rotary's mission at an early age, you can get a head start on bettering your world through volunteerism and a commitment to social issues. Read on to learn how to become a Rotarian.