- Paul Van Nest, Sarah Beech & Jenna Smallegange
ROTARY for YOUNG ADULTS – ROTARACT
In its ongoing efforts to engage and support young people, Rotary sponsors Interact Clubs in secondary schools and Rotaract Clubs in post secondary schools or communities. There are two Rotaract Clubs in Kingston: one is the Queen’s Rotaract Club and the other, chartered on 19 November 2020, the Kingston Rotaract Club: community-based.
It is always hoped that Interactors will ‘graduate’ to Rotaract if they enter college or university and stay in the Rotary family. This and more can be said for Sarah Beech and Jenna Smallegange. These former members of the La Salle Interact Club joined Queen’s Rotaract and became co-presidents in their final year. As Queen’s graduates, they are two of the founders of the Kingston Rotaract Club.
There are 8,400 Rotaract Clubs in over 170 countries around the world. Rotaract Clubs bring young people together to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. Sponsoring Rotary clubs offer guidance and support when asked and Rotarians and Rotaractors often work side-by-side on community service projects and fundraisers.
Queen’s Rotaract started in 1993 and has been extremely active and creative over the years. Their service projects have included an annual trip over several years to El Salvador to help build homes and teach young children. In the spring of 2014, a group of Rotaract students visited Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation community in Northwestern Ontario to build connections with residents of all ages, lead workshops on teamwork, and volunteer on a community building initiative. This group of students worked hard to fundraise to cover the cost of their flights, food, and accommodation.
Queen’s Rotaractors have volunteered for countless Kingston organizations including Providence Care, the Boys and Girls Club, Martha’s Table, Isthmus, and Pathways to Education. Each year, they enter a team in the Queen’s Relay for Life. They were key helpers in the annual Easter Seal Telethon for many years and in the annual Rotary Nut Drive.
The students have organized unique social events and fundraisers on campus. Purple Pinky Days raise funds for the eradication of polio; euchre nights at the Grad Club; live music nights at various local venues; bingo nights; bake sales and barbeques; PI Day (3.14 = March 14) making and selling pies to raise funds for Easter Seals; collecting for ShelterBox; collecting non-perishable food items on Halloween; and bottle drives following particularly popular social gatherings like Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day.
The new Kingston Rotaract Club is a place for young aspiring community leaders, graduated students and young professionals between the ages of 21 and 36. They also share ideas with other Rotaract clubs in our Rotary district and across Canada. As so eloquently explained on the website (rotaractclubofkingston.com), #RotaractKingston respects, welcomes, and represents people and ideas of a diverse Kingston, leading to greater innovation and creativity as well as personal development and friendships.