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Rotaract and Interact clubs meet at annual District Conference

Rotaract and Interact clubs meet at annual District Conference

Rotary youths showcase fellowship and humanitarian projects

Vimolrat Singnikorn
When one speaks of Rotary, one tends to think of only the adults who are leading professionals in their fields of work, devoting their time and efforts in the service of others, bringing relief to the millions of needy people the world over. Sometimes we tend to overlook the fact that Rotary’s mission is also to care for the welfare and future of today’s youth.

DG Pratheep S. Malhotra, presides over the opening ceremonies of the District Conference.
Rotary International has two important youth organisations under their wing. One is called the Interact Club and the other the Rotaract Club.
Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18. The clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary Clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting. Club membership varies greatly. Clubs can be single gender or mixed, large or small. They can draw from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools in the same community.
Rotaract, founded in 1968 by Rotary International, is an international program for adults ages 18 to 30 who want to make a difference. Today, there are more than 7,300 Rotary Club sponsored Rotaract Clubs with some 170,000 members known as Rotaractors in over 150 countries.

PDG Premprecha Dibbayawan addresses the Rotary children.
Clubs are either based in the community or in a university. Rotaract Clubs enable Rotaractors to grow personally and professionally, address community needs, and promote international understanding through friendship and service.
In Thailand the Rotary movement has almost 300 clubs with almost 7000 Rotarians in the 4 Rotary districts and many of them sponsor Rotaract and Interact Clubs.
Each year clubs in their respective districts hold a District Conference whereby youth come together in fellowship and proudly display their achievements in humanitarian projects to each other and more especially to the community.
This year youths from clubs in district 3340, which covers the northeast and the eastern regions of Thailand, and district 3360 encompassing the north of Thailand, held a joint District Conference at Banglamung School from January 31 to February 1.
85 Rotaractors and Interactors attended this gathering to summarize and review how well they’d done providing community services in health and education to children and the elderly in the past year.

Sarawut Waiyakul, president of the Interact Club of Banglamung School makes his report to the gathering.
Pratheep S. Malhotra, district governor of Rotary International District 3340 presided over the opening ceremonies. He was joined by past district governor, Premprecha Dibbayawan, and assistant governor, Stefan Ryser along with members of Rotary Clubs in and around Pattaya.
Sarawut Waikul, president of the Interact Club of Banglamung School, which hosted the meeting, reported that the attending clubs were from Khon Kaen University, Mary Technology in Nakhon Ratchasima, Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai, Sappawittayakom School in Tak Province, Payao School, Chiang Mai University and the Ban Huay Jorakae School.
DG Pratheep said that this annual meeting was the venue for clubs to review their annual performances and to exchange experiences among members of the various clubs. The Rotary youths are no different to the adult Rotarians, who are people from different backgrounds and jobs joined together by the common ideals of service. “Our mission is to help people in need as we have done continuously for over 100 years.”
“This year Rotary’s theme is Make Dreams Real and our work emphasises very young children who are at risk of losing their lives as a result of preventable causes. Thousands die every day because they drink contaminated water. We want to give children clean water, good health, sufficient food and a decent education, which in turn will give them a chance for a future. The Rotaract and Interact Clubs are following in the footsteps of the adults by reaching into their communities and helping to care for those who really need help.”

DG Pratheep presents the Most Outstanding Interact Club Award to Kiattisak Athiwong, president of the Interact Club of Sappawittayakom School.
Youngsters were also asked to help in campaigns for safety on the roads and on the playgrounds.
During the seminar the Interact Club of Banglamung School reported on its work to promote the protection against sexually-transmitted diseases. The club had received an award for a show performed on stage the previous year in the “Love is to Protect” campaign at Robinsons Sriracha Department Store. President Sarawut said his club aims to reduce the number of youngsters with AIDS.
The Rotaract and Interact Clubs of Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai, with Chang Puak Chiang Mai Rotary Club’s support, presented ten community projects, such as the ‘Moral Principle Camp of 2008 for Youngsters’.
They also showcased a dam construction project to conserve water which is in compliance with His Majesty the King’s advice to preserve water resources and conserve forests for the future.

Jean Francois Le-Cot president of Rotary Club Pattaya-Marina presents a certificate of achievement to a conference participant.
The Rotaract and Interact Clubs at Chiang Mai University emphasized new environmental activities for teenagers such as a mahout seminar and forest walk.
It was not only all work and no fun. The hosts invited their guest to a fun day out at Horseshoe Point where the children were treated to an “intelligent horse” show and were given a guided tour of the awesome Sam Kok Garden in the vast grounds of the ‘ranch’.
At the close of the conference DG Pratheep presented awards to the Rotaract Clubs of Udon Thani and the Sappawittayakom School in Tak Province for the most outstanding presentations of their projects and achievements.

Suthida Photpromsri, president of the Rotaract Club of Udon Thani receives an award for Most Outstanding Rotaract Club from DG Pratheep.

Kiattisak Athiwong (left), president of the Sappawittayakom School Rotaract Club, receives an English teaching CD from Stefan Ryser.

Rotaractors are ready to make their presentations.

A Thai Classical Dance is performed to welcome the Rotaractors and Interactors.

A pleasant dinner to welcome everyone.

Youngsters learn to relax by massaging each other.

Rotaractors and Interactors pose for a group photo at the annual meeting.

The kids enjoy the varied activities at The Horseshoe Point.

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