Chet Greason, Gazette Staff
Rotoract, Stratford’s newest service club, was officially introduced to the public at an inauguration dinner at the Arden Park May 29.
A branch of the Rotary organization, Rotaract is made up of members aged 18-30.
Twenty-seven-year-old group president, Amanda Hansford, says the club is “bridging the gap between two cohorts,” – Interact, the Rotary club for 12-18 year olds, and the two adult Rotary clubs, the Rotary Club of Stratford and the Rotary Club of Festival City.
June marks the beginning of Rotaract’s first year, and Hansford says the club has already been assigned a mission.
“We’ve been tasked with completing two initiatives: One local and one international,” she notes, adding the club is still in the early stages of trying to decide exactly what form those two initiatives will take.
“By next year, we’ll have to have completed at least one of the tasks,” she says, adding she’s not worried about meeting the deadline. “Our members are pretty keen.”
Currently, Rotaract boasts 22 members, with a board of eight. The club meets twice a month, and associates are expected to make it to at least one meeting a month.
Hansford says Rotaract helps its members develop leadership and networking skills.
“We’re all pretty passionate about community service both locally and abroad,” she adds.
Katelyn Aitcheson is one of Rotaract’s newest members. Raised in the area, she’s recently moved back to Stratford after a 12-year absence. She says her parents encouraged her to join the club after they heard about it at Rotary’s annual Rural Urban Dinner.
“Networking’s part of it, but it’s more about meeting with like-minded individuals,” says Aitcheson, adding that she’s always been a volunteer and believes in Rotary’s motto of “service over self.”
“Our generation gets a bad rap of being self-centred, so this is a great way to get together with people and make a positive change in both the greater area at large and globally,” she adds.
Stratford’s Rotoract Club is part of Rotary International, which includes more than 31,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members worldwide.