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Together We Learn- Rotary Club of Lexington Youth Program

Posted on May 30, 2019

LEXINGTON, KY – The Rotary Club of Lexington held its weekly meeting Thursday, May 30,  at the Red Mile, 1200 Red Mile Road.


“Invest in our future!” “Plan for tomorrow.” “We cannot survive without them.” These are all refrains that are used quite often to describe our children in many organizations, and Rotary is no exception. That is why Rotary established the fifth avenue of service, Youth Services. It was first named New Generations and was later expanded to cover all Youth Services. Rotary Youth Services include: Interact at the High School level; Rotaract at the college level up to age 35; Rotary Youth Exchange, which provides for a local student to go abroad for a short term or an entire school year while inviting an international student to travel to our community for a similar experience; and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), providing leadership development opportunities at multiple levels.

These are all investments for the future of Rotary. Our club is heavily invested in all of these programs, and today we will learn how they are all integrated into all of our plans, with special emphasis on two of them.

One of our past presidents, Gerry van Der Meer, will discuss his multiple and extensive experiences with Rotary Youth Exchange and how being a host family enriched his life and the lives of his family. Youth Exchange requires considerable coordination by everyone. The students are selected. The schools on each end have to be identified. The host families have to be vetted, visited and interviewed. Once that is complete, the travel plans, insurance requirements and timetable for the host families have to be determined. And, finally, the students travel to a new place to begin a cultural education that can’t be scripted.

After Gerry, we will hear from one of our outgoing Youth Exchange students, Diaka Savane, and she can relate her experiences traveling to and living in another country with a different culture and how it has helped her shape her own future.

The second area of concentration will be the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Club and District RYLA Chairman Chris Hickey will bring you great stories of our adventures over the last several years with our RYLA students. Basically, RYLA is a camp adventure with leadership, ethics, problem solving and overcoming barriers to success, literally and figuratively, sprinkled throughout. As I said earlier, RYLA can be developed at most age levels up to young adults. We chose eighth graders who are about to move to high school. They are at a crossroads of development, and we want to give them a boost of confidence and have them experience success in several ways before embarking on that move. Chris will fill you in on all the aspects we cover.

Chris will be followed by one of our most recent RYLA graduates, Roshan Upreti. He will give you a first-hand report on the events he completed and the value of the experience. You will be impressed.

Youth Services are the key to our Rotary future. There, I’ve said it again!  District Governor Dean Hammond

For additional information, or to attend this meeting, please contact Peggy Trafton at 

401 West Main Street • Suite 305 • Lexington, KY 40507 • (859) 389-8100

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