Photo: Tracey Lohman with her father DG Larry Lohman

Hello fellow Rotarians, and welcome to another sunny day in the Rotary world!  Let’s talk Youth Services.  By a show of hands who here is a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle and/or cousin to someone under the age of 18?   WOW, I see that everyone has their hands up, and I see several that have both hands up.  Now with the same sign, but only one hand this time, how many of you bring these youth to your club meeting, service project and fund raisers?  I am not seeing as many hands.  One more question, no need to raise your hands just think about this one, how many of you have discussed what Rotary is with the youth around you?
My introduction to Rotary happened at a very young age.  From the time I could walk my father had me at Rotary service projects and fund raisers. When I entered high school my father started to bring me to the club meetings, my senior year of high school I attended at least a club meeting a month.  Rotary was a common topic at our dinner table, so much that my brother and I would try to start conversations that had nothing to do with Rotary.  To say the least, Rotary in our home was a way of life.
Now in raising my two daughters I have tried to instill in them the same values of service that my parents did in me.  Like the dinner conversations that dominated the table when I was growing up, our dinner conversations today are very similar.  My daughters have attended many events with me through the years.  I am extremely proud that they have found their own path of service through our church and their schools.  My oldest daughter helped to form the Interact club at her high school during her freshman year and served as an officer for 3 out of the 4 years, as a freshman in college she is joining the Rotaract Club.
So where am I going with this?  It has been said that our youth are the future of Rotary, and I tend to agree with this.   Yes, our youth are our future, but they are also our present.   If we want to build passion in our members, we need to do this at a young age.  Instill a sense of “Service above Self” from day one.  Introduce them to Interact.  You do know that Interact is not just for high school, but also for middle school.  Then, during their Interact years, as they are preparing for the next stage of their lives, helps guide them to Rotaract. 
In a conversation with our District Interact Chair Chelsea Talty, I asked for her recommendation as to a focus for Youth Services for this Rotary year.  I was not disappointed as Chelsea had already put a great deal of thought into the answer she gave me.  She suggested the formation of an Alumni style committee for our youth.  The idea being that we need to keep in contact with all our youth as they graduate from high school and move onto their next pursuit in life.  Not only does she want us to just keep in touch with our youth but wants this committee to help guide those youth as they are preparing for their lives after high school and introduce them to Rotaract. We can help find Rotaract clubs in the community where they are going to live or go to college.  Imagine what could happen to Rotary if we retain all of these youth. 
If you our any of your club members are interested in our youth programs, please contact me or Chelsea to get involved and help to sculpt the future of our youth.
As you read in last month's newsletter, my major focus this year is having Rotarians and Clubs tell their stories.  Let’s start by telling our stories to our youth.
By the way if your hand is still raised you can put it down.  
Yours in Rotary Service, 
Larry Lohman
District 6630 Governor 2021-2022
Tel: 330-322-2474