Interact, Sylvan’s newest service club, involves high school students

Sylvan Lake’s newest service club bodes well for the future of public service and volunteerism in our community.

Sylvan Lake’s newest service club bodes well for the future of public service and volunteerism in our community. It’s comprised of 19 H. J. Cody High School students and two teachers.

Sylvan Lake Interact Club held its Charter Night ceremonies at the Legion hall last Thursday evening.

Interact Clubs are Rotary sponsored organizations for teenagers aged 14-18. Interact has lots of fun activities, but there is also a serious side. Service! Interact is all about making a difference in your school and in your country, according to the Rotary District 5360 website. The program gives young people an opportunity to participate in fun, meaningful service projects while developing leadership skills and meeting new friends.

Teacher Alana Routhier said she started an Interact Club in Bowden and when she moved to Cody this year she really missed it so she began work to start a club here.

“These kids just blew me away, they’re so self-motivated, they jump on any task. It’s very amazing and beautiful.”

Then she turned the floor over to the students to comment on why they became involved. Among their reasons are for the involvement in school and community, it’s a really good experience, it’s a great way to give back to the community, we can help people, it presents lots of opportunities and options to help others, I wanted to get to know kids in other grades and get out into the community, it empowers us to change our community in ways we haven’t been able to before, and it’s pretty awesome getting involved.

Several students said this is the first chance they’ve had to be part of anything where they’re giving back to the community and world.

A group of Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake members were on hand to welcome the students and teachers into the family of Rotarianism.

Rotary Club president Cynthia Giguere told the students “you really inspire us … it’s so wonderful to see those in the coming generation giving back.”

She thanked Routhier for her constant enthusiasm. And Giguere also thanked the parents — “you people instilled values that make these people willing to give, you gave them life lessons that made it possible …”

Routhier indicated formation of the club is “a testament to how strong our community is” adding Rotarians “have been so supportive”.

The invitation to the evening’s program added, “we have learned from those around us, the value of being community minded and caring human beings.”

Due to poor winter weather, both District Governor Fran Leggett of Lethbridge, and guest speaker, Jennifer Feduniw, of Innisfail, the district Rotaract chair, were unable to attend.

The club, which just started in September, has become active very quickly. Among projects they’ve participated in are We Day through Free the Children, Coats for Kids, Skate-A-Thon, Coins for Kids for the Christmas Bureau, Yuletide Festival, Christmas Shoeboxes (Samaritan’s Purse), Spa gift certificate sales as a Lighthouse fundraiser, Clean Water Campaign with a Free the Children Penny Drive. They’ve also been volunteers with Rotary club members at Winterfest sleigh rides and during Rotary’s Santa Claus Parade food bank drive, collecting spare change along the parade route.

Goals for the remainder of the year include volunteering at Bethany Sylvan Lake, Habitat for Humanity, We Are Silent, a Free the Children initiative to raise funds and awareness for children silenced by poverty and abuse, the H. J. Cody food bank drive, H. J. Cody fun night, a Citizens in Action funding proposal for a sustainable project, participate in RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) camp in Canmore, the town’s Centennial Party of the Century (representing the 1920s in costume) and face painting at Canada Day celebrations in conjunction with the Rotary club.

Charter members include Brooklyn Soley, Bethany Mulholland, Chais Avery, Bennett Hreherchuk, Shiori Takeshita, Alexis Koster, Ivanaka Tucker, Breanna Tait, Kara Canning, Jessica Beckwith, Annika Vetter, Amber Carson, Ann Duffy, Bobbi Cerin, Lauren Arp, Liam O’Callaghan, Wyatt Bossé, Hailey DeClercke, Michael Campbell and teachers Alana Routhier and Megan Bukys.

There are more than 10,700 Interact Clubs in 109 countries and geographic areas with almost 200,000 young people involved.

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