Rotaract Advisor Training Seminar - March 7, 2016
More than one dozen people attended District 7910’s Rotaract Advisor Training Seminar, which was held on February 29 at Framingham State University. Shown, kneeling, left to right: Scott Secrest, president-elect of Wellesley Rotary; Carl Gomes, District Rotaract chair and seminar emcee; Emily Buresh, Worcester Rotarian and WPI Rotaract club advisor; and Susan Rack, president of Brookline Rotary. Shown, standing, left to right: Blake Currier, WPI Rotaract faculty advisor; McKenna Dunn, president of WPI Rotaract; Michael Figueroa, past vice president of WPI Rotaract and a seminar panelist; Co-District Governor-Elect Pat Doyle, a seminar panelist; Past District Governor Carol Toomey, seminar moderator; District Governor Jim Fusco; Rita Newman, past president of WPI Rotaract and a seminar panelist; Karen Jacobs, Brookline Rotarian, club advisor to Boston University Rotaract and a seminar panelist; Sherrie Whittemore, president of Framingham Rotary; and Bob Mangan, president of Worcester Rotary. Not shown: Steve Jones-D’Agostino, District Rotaract vice chair and seminar photographer and videographer. To view additional photos, click here.
District 7910 Holds Its First-Ever Rotaract Advisor Training Seminar
By Carl Gomes
On February 29, the first-ever District Rotaract Advisor Training Seminar was held at Framingham State University. This was part of a long-term strategy and commitment that District Governor Jim Fusco is developing with his New Generations team to empower and grow all youth programs in District 7910. This effort began several months ago, when Jim challenged Ron Bott, District Interact chair, and me as District Rotaract chair to recommend to him what could be and needed to be done to strengthen and grow both Interact and Rotaract in our district.
Ron and I did a comprehensive evaluation of existing Interact and Rotaract clubs, including personal outreach to existing Interact and Rotaract clubs as well as sponsoring Rotary clubs. It was this outreach that provided the data and identified the critical components to meet the challenge we were given. Both Ron and I were determined to meet the challenge we were given because training was essential for both Rotary club advisors as well as the Interact and Rotaract clubs
These two training seminars were the first building block in developing a long-term strategy and a comprehensive strategic plan. In order for both Rotary and District 7910 to demonstrate that the mantra being promulgated throughout Rotary that “youth is the future of Rotary” is a reality and not a just catchy slogan. To support this effort, and reverse declining membership, a commitment to and an infusion of younger members into Rotary must be made. This is a critical issue - particularly in North America, where Rotary membership is declining more than any other region in the world. This will require a shifting of resources at both the international and district levels. Those resources must be both human and financial.
To address this critical issue, Rotary International has offered a total of $1.5 million in grant money to districts in the U.S. to conduct Young Professionals Summits on how to make a connection to and recruit people under age 40 into Rotary. I am pleased to share that our district partnered with districts in Greater Boston and Southern Maine to apply for one of these grants. Unfortunately for us, the demand was so great that RI has had to limit the number of awards, and we will not be receiving one. Due to the importance of this critical issue. preliminary discussion and collaboration has begun by the same three districts to seek alternative funding sources to move this project forward.
How does all of this filter down to the vision of youth in our district? District 7910’s New Generations team is continuing that conversation. One of the critical components needed to develop the vision and strategic plan is to create a New Generations Committee that not only involves Interact and Rotaract but also RYLA (Rotarian Youth Leadership Awards) and ESSEX (Eastern States Student Exchange) - both of which are also youth programs.
A brainstorming session is being planned to discuss the New Generations initiative. As we empower and grow our youth programs, our district will share its plans with you.
I encourage all Rotarians who have ideas and want to be a part of the commitment to youth to contact District Governor Jim Fusco at He is passionate about and committed to making “youth is the future of Rotary” a reality.
Carl Gomes, chair of District 7910’s Rotaract Committee, may be reached at Steve Jones-D’Agostino, vice chair of the Rotaract Committee who assisted in preparing this article, may be reached at
Seminar Videos and Slide Presentations
Here are the videos, in MP4 format, of District 7910’s Rotaract Advisor Training Seminar as well as the slide presentations, in PDF format, where applicable:
Carol Toomey (shown, on left), district Youth Services chair, and District Governor Jim Fusco (shown, on right) present Opening Remarks. For the video, click here.
Karen Jacobs (shown, on left), Brookline Rotary club advisor to Boston University Rotaract, presents How To Organize A Rotaract Club, including the roles and responsibilities of the president, the Rotary advisor and - in the case of campus-based clubs - the faculty advisor. For the video, click here. For the slide presentation, click here.
Karen Jacobs presents How To Run A Rotaract Club, including outlining the criteria for the Presidential Citation, which was prepared by Victor Tom, the Bedford Rotary club advisor to MIT Rotaract, who was unable to attend the seminar. For the video, click here. For the slide presentation, click here.
Rita Newman (shown, on right), immediate past president, and Michael Figueroa (shown, on left), immediate past vice president of the Rotaract Club of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, present Why I'm A Rotaractor, including what I expect and need from the Rotary and faculty advisors. For the video, click here. For the slide presentation, click here. (Note: There is a 40-second audio loss near the beginning of the video, and you will see a notice to that effect at that point.)
Pat Doyle (shown, on left), co-district governor-elect, presents How To Sustain A Rotaract Club, including membership and financial viability and sustainability. For the video, click here. For the slide presentation, click here.
Carl Gomes (shown, on right), district Rotaract chair, presents Closing Remarks & Exercise. For the video, click here.