Rotary has been a part of life in Powell River for 65 years and it is expanding its impact with the start of a Rotaract Club.
Since 1955, the Rotary Club of Powell River has assisted in the formation of an Interact Club 25 years ago and a second Rotary club 10 years ago.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million members who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change, across the globe, in their communities and in themselves.
Interact, a high-school level of Rotary for young people from 13 to 18, started in 1962. Brooks Interact meets weekly during the school year, which was cut short in March due to COVID-19.
Six years later in 1968, Rotaract started with a goal to bring together people 18 and older to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and profession skills and have fun through service.
“A focus on Rotaract is necessary for the sustainability of Rotary’s future, from a global perspective as well as here in Powell River,” says Sara Mitchell-Banks, current Rotary club president. “There is a decline in volunteerism everywhere and Rotary at all levels encourages service. The international organization’s motto is Service Above Self.”
Approximately 18 months ago, Mitchell-Banks and her father William Mitchell-Banks started putting their efforts into formation of a Rotaract club.
William has been a member of Rotary for more than five decades and is a past district governor.
“The future belongs to Rotaract as it in every way performs like a young Rotary club,” says William. “Rotaract clubs set their own schedule and how they meet, whether online, in chat rooms or in person. They determine a schedule that suits them.”
He sees a thriving Rotaract club in Powell River as a group of young people having fun, forming deep friendships and doing good local and international projects.
The father and daughter team has reached out to potential members in the community. There is now a small group of interested people, including former youth exchange students, Brooks Interact participants and other young adults.
Ally Boyd, 2019/2020 Interact president, has stepped into the same role for the fledgling Rotaract Club of Powell River.
“Powell River is one of the few communities in District 5040 that is home to all four levels of Rotary,” explains Boyd, who was instrumental in starting an EarlyAct club, which is Rotary in elementary schools.
“I am excited to be a part of the beginnings of Rotaract and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here,” she adds.
Boyd says Rotaract allows young adults to find their niche within Rotary or strengthen a connection they already had.
“It’s important to give a voice to those who want to make a difference,” she adds, “and I really think it opens it up to the age group.”
Boyd says Rotaract in Powell River is an open and inclusive group that welcomes a broad range of people who are dedicated to being active members of both their local and global communities.
Boyd organized a recent in-person meeting at Wildwood Public House.
“While we just intended to socialize, we ended up setting some goals,” says Boyd. “They included having zero-waste, in-person meetings and several projects with focus on the environment, education and humanitarian issues.”
Thomas Miller, District 5040 Rotaract Chair, and a member of Young Vancouver Professionals Rotaract Club, was guest speaker at a recent Rotary club meeting via Zoom, offering his team’s assistance with a Rotaract club in Powell River.
“Getting them involved with a project and connecting with them where they are is important,” says Miller.
In speaking about his personal experience, Miller adds that he went from being a nervous speaker to a speaker in demand through his involvement with Rotaract and its opportunities for professional development.
“My eyes were opened to the power of Rotary by attending district conferences and international conventions, and to so many opportunities for personal development through the Rotary Leadership Training Institute.”
Anyone interested in becoming involved with Rotaract is invited to contact Boyd email@example.com.