Bob Anthony from the Wellesley Rotary Club and Ron Bott of the new Nashoba Valley Rotary Club spoke with us about their experience in forming an Interact Club. There is a handbook which includes step-by-step instructions on creating an Interact Club. An excellent way to initiate a club is to get the RYLA students involved and they’ll talk it up to the other students so getting the 15 kids that are needed shouldn’t be an issue. Both men found that it is the kids who drive successful clubs. Once the kids start meeting, it’s up to them to decide what is most important to them and that becomes their mission. There is a curriculum already created which is helpful to get the kids started. An Interact Club is supposed to be independent of the Rotary Club that sponsors it and should raise its own money to accomplish its goals.
Leadership from the sponsoring club should include: one Rotarian, one leader from the school and possibly one parent. It’s best to get the principal on board about the club and have the parents sign waivers allowing the kids to be in videos and photos in an effort to save problems later as social media is so much a vital part of clubs of this type today.
There are two types of Interact Clubs: One is school-based and meets every week but only during the school year. A teacher would need to be involved and the sponsoring club would need to pay her/him a stipend. The other type is a community-based Interact Club where the students meet somewhere in the community. The sponsoring club determines if they meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
The Brookfield Club will partner with us if this project moves forward. While everyone recognized that forming an Interact Club was one of the goals of the Sturbridge Visioning Initiative, the two clubs will meet again to discuss further.