May is Youth Services Month
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Rotary International has consistently been at the forefront of providing opportunities for youth to develop the skills and characteristics necessary to be effective leaders of tomorrow. The Rotary theme for this month is Youth Services.
Through programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange at the international level to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) and local Interact clubs for 12-18 year olds, RI seeks to prepare young people, the New Generation, for the challenges that lie ahead.
Our Columbia Metro Club has likewise identified youth services as an area of emphasis for the support we provide to our local community. Metro Rotarians work with youth from the earliest age, reading and interacting with children in preschools through our partnership with the Columbia Public Schools Title I program. Every year we sponsor high school students to attend RYLA camp which provides what is often described as a life changing leadership experience. In the past we have sponsored several inbound and outbound high school youth through the student exchange program and hope to be able to continue this in the future as Rotarians see the value in sharing their homes and experiences with international high school students. Finally, our ReachOut Metro program and website is expanding the opportunity for youth to connect with the community and learn from the experiences of local Rotarians. Thus Rotary provides a framework for “building our youth for the future”.