Posted by Mary Lou Harrison, District 7070 Governor , 2018-19

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you're young at heart.
For it's hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you're young at heart...

- Frank Sinatra

May has arrived and with it Youth Service Month, Rotary's annual celebration of all the ways in which we support young people to fully explore and develop who they are and what they have to offer this world. And, in District 7070, this is a lot of ways!

Think Youth Exchange, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), Camp Enterprise, EarlyAct, Interact, Rotaract, spelling bees, mentorship programs, and so much more. 

One of the things I love about our Youth Service programs is just how many people from across the age spectrum in our Rotary family they involve. This gives an us an opportunity to learn from each other, whether our role is that of participant, mentor, or committee member (and it takes a lot of committee members to make this happen).

Youth Exchange Student Eloisa De Castro Costa recently visited me in Toronto, and I had the opportunity to watch her interview Diana Schatz, Founder of The Michener Institute and daughter of former Governor General Roland Michener. I learned from her about where open-minded curiosity, a passion for learning, and spontaneity can take you.

Eloisa was in Toronto to present a water project in Brasil to the dynamic new Rotaract Club of Toronto Danforth. I am constantly learning from Charter President Maliha Khan and her leadership team about how to explore possibilities for service and then, very importantly, how to put possibility into action. Maliha is also someone who is serious about learning, as you'll see from her graduation photo, taken at our most recent RLI (Rotary Leadership Institute). 


We might not think of events like RLI, our upcoming District Assembly on May 11th, or the annual District Conference (October 25-27 in Muskoka) as Youth Service initiatives, but they absolutely can be. In fact, I strongly believe that they should be. 







This May brings us an abundance of opportunity to be involved with Youth Service. I am looking forward to what I will learn at Camp Enterprise, the Rotaract Conference (May 4), the RYLA Gala Dinner (May 8), and from the other events mentioned above, all while sharing what I can from my experience with program participants. 

Looking ahead, there are opportunities for each of us to get involved with current Youth Service Programs. I know, for example, that Co-Chairs Deb Murray and Jason Pole would love to talk with you about the tremendous value of the Rotary Youth Exchange program!

In addition, we are looking at new opportunities to support the development and dreams of young people. One of these is a renewed partnership with the Toronto Argos in a Rotary Youth Leadership Day to be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in Toronto and followed by game attendance open to all. If you would like a presentation about this new initiative, please contact Melissa Robinson or Christopher Hawke of MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment). They'd be very happy to come to your club and tell you more!

This May, I encourage you to explore one aspect of Youth Service with which you might not be familiar and see what you might learn. And, whether you are young or young at heart (or both), thank you to everyone involved in Youth Service in our District. 

Yours in Rotary,

Mary Lou

Mary Lou Harrison, District Governor 2018-19

P.S. As the end of the 2018-19 Rotary Year approaches, it's time to make plans to celebrate. And this includes all members of our Rotary family! Our year-end celebration and changeover party will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, July 7 at the Scarboro Golf Club. Please click here to register. If you're not part of our ClubRunner database (e.g. Youth Exchange students, RYLA grads), please register as a guest. Hope to see you there!