Posted by Art Harrington
Founder Donors Being Sought
Visionary Rotary clubs, club foundations and individual Rotarians are being sought who are willing to make a one-time contribution to help underwrite a badly-needed new Rotary youth services program in our district. Those individuals, clubs or club foundations who are willing to donate $2,500 or more to establish this program will have their names inscribed on a permanent Founders Plaque, which will be displayed at Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, where we will be holding our first-ever JR RYLA camp on June 17-20, 2020 for youth in grades 6-8. We look forward to a long and happy relationship with this camp, as the home for this exciting new leadership development adventure for middle school and junior high youth. 
Consider the fact that 17 of our current 101 Interact clubs in our district have middle school and junior high students in them.  Yet, we have had nothing for these youth beyond their clubs, except for their ability to participate in our two annual Interact conferences.  They are too young to be able to go as Rotary Youth Exchange “outbounds,” and they are also too young to be able to attend either of our high school age RYLA weekends at Pinerock or Ponderosa.  They are unable to serve on the Interact District Council or to apply to become Interact Ambassadors to Kenya.  It is understandable that they have felt “left out” of any of our “extra-curricular” programs available to high school Interact members.
Since no district funds have ever been available to begin new youth services programs, even though the need for a JR RYLA has long been recognized, “the can has continued to be kicked down the road,” year-after-year, and the number of our clubs serving this age group has continued to grow every year.  
This year our Interact leadership has decided it is time to “stop kicking the can any further down the road,” and in spite of the lack of existing funds, that NOW is the time these younger Interact youth need to begin to be served with a RYLA designed just for for them.  A partnership has been developed with Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, the dates have been reserved and a deposit has been made.  An experienced Rotarian Director, Ken Kelley, was recruited, and Jeri Robertson, one of our top Faculty Advisors to one of our middle school Interact clubs, was recruited to be Ken’s Assistant Director of this, our district’s first-ever JR RYLA.  They are planning the initial camp to serve 80 youth, with a staff of 20.
Founder Donors willing to help us establish this new program can send their contributions, payable to Rotary District 5495 JR RYLA, to PDG Jeanie Morgan, our Rotary District Treasurer, at P.O. Box 1807, Chandler, AZ 85224.  Individual Founding Donors seeking to use their donation as a tax deduction, can make their check payable to the Rotary District 5495 Foundation, and designate it for the District 5495 JR RYLA.