Rotaract of Chico
An opportunity to network with local businesspeople and become involved in both local and international service projects is bringing Rotaract of Chico back to life.
As one might expect in a college town, Rotaract previously drew primarily upon Chico State students for its membership. Unfortunately, when those students graduated and moved on, the club’s membership dwindled.
The Chico Rotary Club recently reorganized Rotaract, encouraging young professionals to join. Today the organization has 12 active members, has one successful event under its belt, and is looking both for new members and new ways to help out in the community.
According to Rotaract Vice President Carrie Denniston, now that the club is up and running again, it’s reaching out to both college students and working people between the ages of 18 and 30 to join its ranks. Denniston characterizes the membership as “a cool group of people” and is enthusiastic about the benefits of membership.
“It’s a way to network. You get to know a lot of businesspeople in town,” Denniston explained. “The other thing is that it’s not only national, but international. So if you do move, you can become involved in your new hometown. Wherever you go, you’ll probably find a Rotaract.”
Chico Rotaract members meet once or twice a month at various businesses and restaurants, as well as periodically attending Chico Rotary meetings. They’ve pitched in on Rotary events, such as May’s pancake breakfast, and participated in other community events.
Rotaract mounted its own event in June to raise funds for the Senator Theater. Rotaract put its unique twist on the golf tournament theme by holding its “First-Ever Night Golf Tournament” at Sunset Hills Golf Course featuring glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
While Rotaract chose to support the Senator Theater with its first event, believing it would benefit the entire community, the group also favors community service projects that benefit children.
“Anything we can do for children, we’re excited to support,” Denniston said.
To that end, Rotaract is planning to launch a “Shoes That Fit” program for Chico, hopefully as early as this fall. The program would initially entail Rotaract’s working with a designated local school in order to get the names and shoe sizes of children who would benefit from receiving a new pair of athletic shoes.
“There’s a huge number of kids out there who are wearing shoes to school that either don’t fit or are falling apart,” Denniston said.
Rotaract members would then visit local businesses to solicit donations of either shoes or cash for the program. The group hopes to partner with a local shoe store in order to receive discounts on its shoe purchases.
Rotaract clubs are required to undertake both local and international service projects. For some time, Norcal Waste Systems has been storing and repairing clothes that it picks up along its routes. For its international project, Chico Rotaract is working with Norcal to find locations, most likely in Mexico, to which to send the discarded clothing.
Since Rotaract members operate under the guidance of the Chico Rotary Club, Denniston said it’s not surprising that the group has had a lot of initial success.
“It’s easy for us to put on events because Rotary is so supportive,” she explained. “We know they’ll back us up on anything. They’re always there to help us make something happen.”
Anyone interested in learning more about membership in Rotaract is invited to call for the date and location of the next meeting.