At last year’s Rotary District Conference in Kirksville, current District Governor Dan Hall mentioned to me that he wished to form a new committee that would focus solely on Rotaract.  In the past Interact and Rotaract had been combined efforts under the direction of one subcommittee.  With Rotary International’s renewed focus on New Generations service, DG Dan saw a potential need to have more district leadership involved with the Interact and Rotaract programs.
I was honored when DG Dan asked me if I would like to assist with this committee, and in the past few months I have been learning more about the Rotaract program and various efforts to start Rotaract clubs in our district.  Rotaract clubs are part of a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world.  Rotaract clubs are comprised of young men and women ages 18 to 30 , who serve the needs of their community, widen their personal and professional contacts, and increase their understanding of the world.
There are three focuses of a Rotaract club: 1) professional development, 2) leadership development and 3) service projects. 

Professional Development works to expand one’s understanding of the work and environment and business opportunities in a community and highlight the Rotaractors role in community economic development.  This is done through professional and vocational forums, business technology updates, management and marketing seminars, conferences on business and professional ethics, and presentations on finance and credit options for start-up businesses.  Sponsoring Rotarians can enhance the professional development of Rotaractors by providing practical advice on entering the business world.

Leadership development is for the Rotaractor’s personal life but also  emphasizes the need to develop and sustain strong clubs with relevant projects.  Topics of discussion include public speaking, tools to recruit members, consensus building, delegating responsibility and ensuring follow-up, publicity and promotion of club activities, securing financial resources and finally, assessing project success.

For service projects Rotaract clubs must complete two service projects annually.  One project should serve the community and the other project to promote world understanding.

There are two types of Rotaract clubs, community based clubs and university based clubs.  Community based clubs consist of 18-30 year olds residing or working in the same community, and university based clubs consist of 18 to 30 year olds enrolled in University courses.   University clubs need a faculty adviser as well as an adviser from the sponsoring Rotary club.  Community based clubs require an adviser from an area Rotary club.

We have to do our part to welcome our future leaders into the Rotary family.  In this month’s edition of the Rotarian, RI President Kalyan Banerjee provided statistics on the average age of members in Rotary clubs across the World.  Overall in Rotary, only 11 percent of our members are under the age of 40, while 68 percent are over 50 and 39 percent are over 60.  We have to do something about this now to prepare our clubs for the future.

With the focus of attention on creating new Interact and Rotaract clubs in district 6040 I believe we are doing what we can to attract young members into our Rotary clubs for our future.  The results of our efforts now might not be immediate, but hopefully our vision and attention to this important aspect of service will build our clubs into strong and vibrant clubs for years to come.

Personally I am working to build relations and become more familiar with our district’s existing Rotaract clubs and efforts to start new Rotaract clubs in the district.  Active university based Rotaract clubs in the district exist at William Jewell College, Park University, A.T. Still University, and Truman State University.  While no community based clubs currently exist in the district, there is an effort to start one in the Eastern Jackson County area.  An informational meeting is being planned for September 29.  Other areas that have expressed some level of interest in exploring feasibility of a Rotaract club include Blue River Community College, Excelsior Springs, Kansas City (downtown and northland), Maryville, Rockhurst, St. Joseph and UMKC. 

If working on Rotaract in any of these communities or other areas you feel Rotaract could work interests you please contact me and I will connect you with the appropriate committee or individuals that have shown a similar interest.  If your club or a group of clubs are looking for guidance or assistance with any of these Rotaract efforts, please let me know and I will do what I can to help you with this as well.  My cell phone number is (816) 261-6888 and my email is  I look forward to working with you and assisting district 6040 with this endeavor.  Please let me know if I may be of any assistance.

Chad Hidgon