Rotaract is one of the largest youth organizations in the world with almost 175,000 members in about 7500 clubs in 156 countries around the world. Rotaract is open to all and has no political or religious affiliations.
Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30. In the early 1960s, Rotary clubs around the world began to sponsor university youth groups as community service projects and together they work in cooperation as partners in service. Rotary Clubs were founded in 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.
Whilst some Rotary clubs had supported youth groups previously, the first club chartered was the Rotaract Club of North Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, on 13 March 1968. It was in the 1970s that Rotaract began in Great Britain and Ireland.
The name Rotaract is taken from a combination of the words “Rotary” and “action”. The purpose of Rotaract is to provide an opportunity for men and women to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to assist in their personal development, while also addressing the physical and social needs of their communities through a framework of friendship and community service.
Rotaract clubs hold regular formal meetings and organize a variety of projects and activities, depending on the interests of the club members. However, three main areas of focus include professional development, leadership development, and service projects both locally and since the 1990s, internationally.
Camberley Rotaract Club is one of about 100 clubs in the Great Britain and Ireland, though there are more than 8,000 Rotaract clubs in 167 countries. Rotaract in the Great Britain and Ireland is divided into 26 districts of which Camberley falls into District 1145 that brings together 7 Rotaract Clubs in 6 Greater London Boroughs, Surrey, East & West Sussex and neighbouring parts of Hampshire to develop fellowship and service opportunities.
District 1145 is one of 28 districts within Great Britain & Ireland. The clubs in each district support each other with events and activities throughout the year, as well as meeting up with other clubs at events like the annual conference. Some districts also have groups called Interact for those aged 14 to 18 years of age.
Like all Rotaract clubs, Camberley Rotaract provides an opportunity to have fun, make new friends, gain new life experiences and raise money for local, national and worldwide charitable organisations. We are proud to have gained the award of Club of the Year in 2003 and hope to regain the title again.
Camberley Rotaract have activities that are organised by club members, giving individuals the opportunity to influence the events that take place. Our activities take place not just in Camberley town centre, but in Windlesham, Chertsey, Farnham, Bagshot, Hughenden and further afield. Broadly, members activities fall into four groups:
A wide choice of social and sporting activities
Our emphasis is on fun rather than athletic ability. This means that it does not matter what your fitness level is, as you are sure to discover like-minded people who will become lifelong friends at Camberley Rotaract.
To give you some idea of our social events, these are some of our previous social events, some of which are repeated each year:
Wine tasting at Denbies Vineyard
Annual Rotaract District Ball
Joining Camberley Rotary to promote Stroke Awareness Day
Celebrating Rotaract’s international roots at Chiquito’s in the Atrium Camberley
Camping in the New Forest and other weekends away
Barn dances and race nights to raise money for chosen charities
Ten pin bowling
Quizzes and speakers
Supporting the local community
Community events are group-oriented to encourage working together as a team in a social atmosphere. There are many annual and regular events organised by the club, such as street collections, marshalling at charity events and producing the Talking Newspaper for the Blind. Additionally events are organised in response to a specific request for help such as decorating or gardening for those unable to do so themselves. In some instances we will work together with the Camberley Rotary Club from whom we can learn new skills.
Whether you have lots of experience or have never done community before, there are a wide variety of events to suit everyone, whether it be pantomime trips for disadvantaged children or outings for the elderly.
Raising money for charity
Fund raising is fun with Camberley Rotaract, for example through organising events such as barn dances and race nights. Every year we raise over £1000 which we donate to local, national and international charities.
Development of personal skills
Gaining new life experiences is a major part of being a member of any Rotaract club. Camberley Rotaract is supported by Camberley Rotary who oversaw our groups formation and provides continued support. A Rotarian adviser serves as the liaison for the Rotary and Rotaract clubs, enabling Rotarians to serve as mentors as well as organising joint service projects. The Rotary club’s continued involvement has strengthened our Rotaract club, the potential next generation of Rotary leaders by:
- Working with us on service projects and activities
- Recognizing our achievements
- Sharing successful fund-raising projects
- Hosting discussion forums to exchange ideas about global citizenship, club diversity and innovative service projects
- Sharing details about activities and programs available to us through Rotary
- Invitations to district conferences to share their club activities and network with Rotarians
How much does joining Rotaract cost?
You are welcome to attend Rotaract as a visitor free of charge, so that if you decide Rotaract is not for you then there’s nothing lost. On becoming a member a small annual fee is due (currently £25 a year). This is used for hiring meeting rooms and paying any club expenses etc.