YOUTH AT THE HEART OF ROTARY
Dozens of young people across Darlington are members of Rotary groups which help involve them in cool community projects, and build lasting confidence and leadership skills.
Rotary has three separate age groups for young people:
Rotakids 7-12 yrs
Interact 12-18 yrs
Rotaract 18-30 +
RotaKids is a fun and exciting way for children aged 7-12 to make friends and get involved with important activities in the community, while having a great time.
RotaKids clubs are based in schools, youth groups or community centres and with the help and support from teachers, youth leaders and the local Rotary club, children can gain a valuable experience in helping others and learning interesting, new things. It also brings an exciting and practical approach to supporting the citizenship element of the national curriculum.
RotaKids is popular amongst the schools in Darlington and there are now 5 successful clubs meeting regularly. The clubs are at Reid Street, Abbey, Mowden and St. John Schools, plus the newest one at Skerne Park Academy. The Officers of the clubs are elected each year and the students decide and their regular meetings what activities they wish to proceed with. 2022 was a busy year with many activities such as a Goodie Jar Raffle, Movie Nights, Design a T-Shirt Competition, Halloween Dash and Santa Dash just to name a few. These activities raised over £2000 for good causes – which are discussed and voted on by the RotaKids students. The clubs have also been to visit local Care Homes and sent out Christmas Cards. We feel blessed to work with these fabulous young people.
Rotaract clubs bring together people aged 18-30+ to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills and have fun through enterprising activities.
Just like Rotary, Rotaract is a great way to expand members’ social circles and meet new people. Rotaract is a diverse, lively, and vibrant organisation with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. By working together, members build new skills, enhance personal development, and undertake leadership roles all of which can be great for the CV and employability.
Darlington Rotaract, formed in 2019, is currently engaged in several Community Projects.
Darlington Rotary also has a close association with Youthwatch Darlington, a young volunteering group for 14 to 25 year olds in Darlington who have a passion for making a difference to health and care in the local area. They believe young people have a right to be involved at all levels of health and care. Youthwatch Darlington act as champions for young patients in the town, providing them with a voice, listening to their experiences and raising awareness.
You can find out more here: https://www.healthwatchdarlington.co.uk/youthwatch-darlington
Interact brings together young people aged 12-18 to develop leadership skills, take action to make a difference in their school and community, discover new cultures and promote international understanding, have fun, and make new friends from around the world.
Interact clubs organise at least two projects every year, one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding.
Darlington has two active Interact Clubs – Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College and Polam Hall School.
QE 6th Form is an award winning Interact Club, which has won national recognition for its projects and initiatives. These include the development of a small social enterprise aimed at sponsoring girls’ education in Africa and a record reaction to an initiative around creating food boxes for Christmas. The club has twice won the Rotary National Best Project Award and the Young Citizens of the Year Award.
Polam Hall School Interact Club had its Charter Night (formation) Dinner in November 2022. The Club members have many ideas for projects and can’t wait to get started.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where young people develop their skills as a leader while having fun and making connections.
Darlington Rotary Club, as part of our local Rotary District (Rotary North East – District 1030), has supported RYLA over many years by sponsoring a number of young people (Aged 16-20) each year to take part in this programme. Our RYLA programme takes the form of a weeklong camp in upper Teesdale in early August.
Greenpower Educational trust is a UK charity helping young people to excel in science, engineering, and technology. They do this by helping them to design, build and race a small electric car. Rotary help facilitate events and help at schools building the cars, in fact Chris Bayliss (next year’s District 1030 DG) is the Greenpower ambassador for the North East. In Darlington there are also engineers from Cummins who come to help.
Several schools in the Darlington and Stockton area are in the process of building their cars and Darlington Rotarian Iain Anderson has started to help at Abbey School in the construction of a Goblin, which is in preparation for the ‘race’ meeting at Croft late June. The enthusiasm of the children is fantastic, at Abbey there are two teams of 8 working after school on a Thursday for an hour on different weeks.
There are several other cars being built in Darlington, and Darlington Rotary are working with schools to understand which ones they are and who would appreciate help. If you’re a school who would like some help or to discuss this with us, please use the Contact Us section and we will get back to you.
Read more about RYLA on https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/rotary-youth-leadership-awards