How Alabama Rotary is Helping Youth Leaders


Ally Hayes, Contributor

This past week I attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards convention, which focused on high school students in the state of Alabama who exemplified extraordinary academics and involvement in their communities. The event took place at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville where we were able to partake not only in space camp events, but also leadership and team building exercises. 

Within our small groups, we came up with a non-profit organization and designed a fundraiser to accompany it. The assignment encouraged us to think about how we could use our abilities to better serve our community and showed us what we could do in such a small amount of time with efficient teamwork. We compiled our ideas and created several mediums to accompany our pitch, and then we gave a speech outlining our ideals to the rest of our peers as well as a panel of judges from the Rotary Club. 

We also had a collection of speakers that talked to us on various subjects related to being a community leader. One of them was former FBI Agent Dana Gills who said “I always get a kick out of speaking to the group. Renews my faith in a bright future.” He spoke about how to present ourselves on the internet and what to avoid in order to maintain a clean internet profile. We were taught the Rotary four-way test for making decisions, which is based around honesty, equity, building relationships, and beneficiality. 

The usual rotary events are created with the intent to give the same opportunities to children from underprivileged backgrounds and communities. They focus not only on networking and building relationships, but also charity and providing for their community. The rotary club is composed of leaders of companies from a variety of industries that provide services to each other and foster professional relationships in the process.

In “What is the Relevance of Rotary in Our Future,” Evan Burrel writes “For us to stay relevant we need to keep up with what is going on in the changing world around us, because if the changes in the world outpace our organization, then the end is nigh my friends.”

By focusing on industry relationships, educating youth, and aiding their communities, Rotary is staying relevant and remaining beneficial.