In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 22

I have been so blessed by Rotary. If Rotary hadn’t provided me with that opportunity when I was young, there is no way I would be where I am now ...” “It’s Susanah – she just has this incredible ability to engage … I thought, here’s NRG that does things a little bit differently. These are people who are the same age, in the same sector, who are interested, who are in business, but are also into social enterprise.” Robbie, who studies alongside Yemen-born Rotary global grant scholar Sakhr Munassar, at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, began volunteering not just with NRG, but with Rotaractors at the university, too. “I’ve had such fun – I’ve made great friends through it. And, we’ve got a couple of students involved with NRG, as well, from uni ... and we’re just at the beginning really – we’re only at the start of the journey. “What has happened is that, through NRG, I have really re-engaged with Rotary.” However, Robbie is urging Rotary to look at ways of making membership and engagement more accessible and affordable for younger people, who are often time poor and short on funds. “Sometimes Rotary does have to do extra things to allow young people in.” And, she says, contrary to the stereotypes, many students and young workers will more than repay the allowances made. “A lot of young people want to serve their communities. They’re just not sure where to put that … the Uni Crew, the volunteer sector at the university – huge. They do so much. They’re constantly posting opportunities … ‘This charity needs this’ … ‘Can someone help with that’. “You look at Rotaract at the university. They’re just constantly putting up their hand and saying: ‘I want to get involved’. And, it’s not in place of socialising, that becomes their socialising. “The young people I know – brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. They have so much potential. They’re doing things differently, thinking about things differently, but they need an opportunity, a chance to express that. “And that’s up to older generations to just step back and say: ‘Right, how can I support you to do that’. Because the way young people do and see things now is going to be different than generations that have gone before. That happens to every generation. “It’s about asking young people what they want to do and, maybe, it means an overhaul of the system. “I think there is a place for how Rotary is run, but there is also a place for NRG. There needs to be both, and there just needs to be a flexibility around how we structure things.” Page 22 | In Gear - Rotary in southern New Zealand - District 9980 | www.rotarydistrict9980.org