Six Steps to Starting an Interact Club

Int-2c-gd The following steps will help ensure that new clubs are established on a solid foundation and properly chartered by Rotary International. Rotarians, young people, and faculty advisers are encouraged to refer to this checklist throughout the organization process.

Step 1: Establish Rotary club support

If your Rotary club is interested in sponsoring an Interact club, it should form an Interact subcommittee to study the requirements of sponsorship. Be sure to talk with the district Interact chair, who can provide information about how other Interact clubs operate in your district.

Once it has compiled all the necessary information for sponsorship, the subcommittee should present its findings to the Rotary club. Here are some tips for making a persuasive presentation:

  • Highlight the rewards of sponsoring service-minded young people.
  • Emphasize the importance of Rotarian involvement and support to an Interact club’s success.
  • Invite current Interactors to share their positive Interact experiences.

After the Rotary club board approves the sponsorship of an Interact club, the club must decide whether its Interact club will be community or school based.

  • A community-based club draws its members from several schools from the Rotary club’s area. The Rotarian adviser must attend all of the Interact club’s meetings.
  • A school-based club draws its members from one school, and the Rotarian adviser is required to attend only the club’s board meetings.

Good to Know When a Rotary club decides to sponsor a school-based Interact club, a member of the Interact subcommittee should meet with school officials to explain the program and its advantages. Rotarians and school officials should work together to determine membership requirements, club policies, the time and location of Interact club meetings, and the faculty adviser.

Joint sponsorship of an Interact Club

An Interact club can be organized and sponsored by more than one Rotary club if all the following conditions are met:

  • The district governor approves the arrangement in writing.
  • Sponsor clubs demonstrate that organizing separate Interact clubs, each sponsored by a single Rotary club, would divide what is essentially a single body of young people within a school or community.
  • A joint Interact committee is formed with members from each of the sponsor Rotary clubs.

Step 2: Identify potential Interactors.

Brainstorm to develop as wide a membership pool as possible. In a school-based club, ask the faculty adviser to offer suggestions for possible club members. Sources of potential Interactors include:

  • Community centers, churches, athletic clubs and teams, secondary schools
  • Sons, daughters, and other young family members of Rotarians in the area
  • Rotary Youth Exchange students and attendees at Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) events

Step 3: Invite prospective members to an informational meeting.

In addition to prospective Interactors, you’ll want to invite:

  • Interact subcommittee members
  • Rotary club president
  • District Interact chair
  • Faculty adviser (for a school-based club)
  • Interactors from nearby clubs who can share their experiences and answer questions

At the meeting:

  • Give students a general idea of Interact’s history, as well as Rotary’s history and commitment to young people.
  • Distribute copies of Rotary Basics (595-EN) and show a segment from a recent issue of RVM: The Rotarian Video Magazine.
  • Explain the policies and goals of Interact, including a description of some recent Interact service projects. The back cover of the Interact Handbook (654-EN) provides these examples:
      In Canada, Interactors are reaching out to African teens who have been orphaned by AIDS and left to manage their households. Club members raised awareness and funds to provide education and leadership programs to help Africa’s youth take on this new role.
      In Romania, Interactors were moved to action after a tsunami devastated communities along the Indian Ocean. The club’s fundraising efforts resulted in funding to construct homes for families in Thailand.
      In Uganda, Interactors envisioned a community where all youth had access to education. Club members donated their time and much-needed school supplies to a local orphanage and helped prepare younger students for school exams.
  • Highlight the program’s internationality, including the potential to partner with youth in other parts of the world.
  • Have copies of the Interact Brochure (600-EN) available for prospective Interactors to give to friends who might be interested in joining.
  • Allow plenty of time for prospective Interactors to ask questions. Solicit ideas for club projects from these future members.

At the end of the meeting:

  • Take a vote to confirm that there’s enough interest to establish an Interact club. Keep in mind that a minimum of 15 charter members is recommended but not mandated.
  • Set a date for the first organizational meeting.

Step 4: Hold organizational meetings.

Now that you’ve identified a group of prospective Interactors, it’s time to get the club organized. Keep enthusiasm high by encouraging the Interact club to schedule organizational meetings no more than two weeks apart. Have the Rotarian adviser and, if the club is school based, the faculty adviser, keep a list of everyone who attends these meetings, along with their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Encourage attendees to invite friends to meetings.

Although there’s no specific number of organizational meetings required before a club can be chartered, you’ll need to ensure that the Interactors complete the following tasks before applying for a club charter:

  • Hold elections for president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and other members of the Interact club board.
  • Develop a membership plan to ensure the club includes a balanced number of male and female members, as well as students from each grade level or age group.
  • Discuss and establish annual club dues.
  • Determine where and when club meetings will be held. Clubs must meet at least twice a month.
  • Begin planning for service activities, fundraising events, and the inaugural ceremony.
  • Familiarize club members with the constitutional documents.

Good to Know Before a prospective club can be chartered, it must adopt the Standard Interact Club Constitution and all its amendments, then adopt bylaws consistent with the constitution and policy established by Rotary International (see chapter 5 of the Interact Handbook). These bylaws are subject to the approval of the sponsor Rotary club.

Step 5: Complete paperwork.

Once a prospective Interact club has achieved a strong membership base, the club can be chartered by RI. The sponsor Rotary club should work with Interactors to finish the following tasks:

  • Complete the Interact Club Certification Form (see chapter 5 of the Interact Handbook), listing all charter members who have agreed to attend a minimum of 60 percent of the club’s service and social activities.
  • Obtain the signatures of the sponsor Rotary club president and the district governor on the form.
  • Send the form to the District 6630 Interact chair who will make sure it gets to RI World Headquarters.

Once the Interact club has been chartered, which typically takes about two to four weeks, the sponsor Rotary club will receive the club’s Certificate of Organization from RI.

Step 6: Plan an inaugural ceremony.

The chartering of an Interact club is a meaningful and exciting event. The sponsor Rotary club may wish to host an inaugural ceremony where sponsoring Rotarians can welcome Interactors as partners in Rotary service. Invite Rotary district leaders, such as the governor, Interact chair, and Interact representative, to this celebration to introduce the new Interact club to the district.

Every inaugural ceremony is unique, but modeling it after the sponsor Rotary club’s traditions is a good way to begin. Here are some other ways to put together a memorable ceremony:

  • Create an inauguration ceremony program book that lists club members’ names.
  • Briefly explain Rotary and The Four-Way Test.
  • Describe how the new Interactors are now part of the family of Rotary.
  • Review the history of Interact and how the new club was formed. (Consider including a humorous story or anecdote.)
  • Induct members individually, and announce board members and officers.
  • Include school- or community-related themes, mottoes, and traditions.
  • Present a club banner to your new Interact club and/or each member with an Interact pin.
  • Take photos to commemorate the event.

A sample inauguration script can be found in the Interact section of the District 6630 website at Interact Inauguration Ceremony.