Posted by Julie Cugalj
The Adventure in Citizenship (AiC) Program, spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Ottawa, is the oldest running Adventure program in the District and will be celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2015. For four days each May, the AiC program offers a unique opportunity for 200 youth between 16-18 years of age to come to our nation’s capital, engage with others from across the country, and deepen their knowledge of Canada and its institutions. Students are billeted in Rotarians’ and friends of Rotarians’ homes and spend their time learning about both the privileges and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship through interactive workshops and plenary sessions, engaging in a dynamic mock election process, and visiting institutions such as the House of Commons, the Canadian Museum of History, and the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Students end their experience by reaffirming their citizenship alongside new Canadians at a special Citizenship Ceremony. Julie Cugalj, President-Elect and outgoing Chairperson of the AiC Committee, proudly notes that this program, which allows youth the space to explore shared values and appreciate the beautiful diversity of Canada, has a “strong history of shaping young leaders who contribute to the strength of not only their communities but also our great country – all because of Rotary.” More information on the AiC program can be found on the Rotary Club of Ottawa’s website at:
Serving youth is a key tenet of the Rotary mission and this is exactly the basis of the Rotary Adventures programmes. Cutbacks to secondary education and liability issues have made such opportunities increasingly rare within the school system. As one 2014 AiC participant noted, “This program inspires youth to be better people, to do more, and to be more. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where we could have a safe space to challenge ourselves and grow in ways we never thought possible.” In this sense, our district is both fulfilling its mission and addressing a great need for youth. The hope is that Youth Services committees in your clubs will get behind these important initiatives by sending a student to each programme. The simple truth is that support for these programs builds youth leaders today and future Rotarians for tomorrow.