Aloha District 5000 Rotarians!


Aloha District 5000 Rotarians!  It is my pleasure to give you an update on what the District has done for Youth during the past couple months and what is coming up on the horizon.
While our youth face many challenges, including struggling with learning and doing service in a COVID-19 world, our District is committed to supporting youth of all ages as we navigate this new normal, together.
On October 10th, District 5000 introduced and presented our inaugural webinar in our College and Career Readiness Webinar Series. You can see the recording here:
The first presentation was graciously delivered by Donna Ramos Barsana, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Pacific University Oregon.  Special thanks to Gary Pacarro. Our own Valerie Wang of Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu spoke to the high school students on the call about her journey through Interact, Rotaract, and Rotary with experiences around the world. We hope that this resonates with our high school students who are looking to create their own experiences as they apply to college and beyond.
The District’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) committee continues to plan this year’s statewide virtual RYLA event. It promises to be a fun-filled, engaging, and meaningful event where students develop leadership skills, interact, and make new friends!
Speaking of Interact, clubs are still meeting! Please make sure if your Rotary Club sponsors an Interact Club, that you are doing all that you can to meet with the students and faculty advisor. Plan projects like donation drive-ups for homeless shelters, food drives, or letters to Kupuna! There is still much to be done, even if not in person! The Mid-Pacific Institute Interact Club came out in force to donate gently used clothes and supplies for our local youth homeless shelters.
Congratulations to Dole Middle School and Kapolei Charter School for organizing and sponsoring new Interact Clubs at your schools!
And finally, who can forget our Rotaract Clubs? The District Rotaract Committee is actively working on membership drives and electing their Rotaract Council, under the leadership of Ernesto Arizala with the Rotaract Club of Honolulu.
On the horizon, look for the following opportunities to get youth involved in service, leadership development, learning, and connectivity:
  • October 31, 2020:  College and Career Readiness Webinar #2 at 9:00 am – FAFSA, Financial Aid, and Scholarships.  A special Halloween presentation to tackle the frightening thought of paying for college!
  • November 7, 2020Youth Protection Webinar – be up to date on best practices and D5000 requirements for protecting our youth.
  • November 13, 2020:  Zone Institute Youth Services Session – attend training on how to successfully create, manage, and run youth programs in your club!
  • November 27, 2020:  Rotary Gives Thanks – involve youth in your projects!  The Eco Club of Kakaako is organizing various weekends of tree planting on Oahu’s North Shore.  What is your club doing?
  • December 1, 2020:  Interact Awards and Video Contest submissions are due to Rotary International.  Share how your Interact Club members are taking action around the globe, in your community, and in yourselves!
I hope you have a chance to view our Youth Services Committee’s other articles about RYLA, the Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation (HRYF), Rotary Youth Exchange, and Youth Protection programs put on by Rotary D5000.
Thank you for being People of Action!
Ryan Char, Youth Service Chair, Rotary District 5000
Tim Hansen, Statewide RYLA Coordinator
Hawai'i Rotary is well known for hosting annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp on each of its islands. Graduating youth have commented: "RYLA was life changing for me!" ~ "I can't believe that I could grow so much in just one single weekend".  Parents have said, "I don't know what you did to my child... but THANK YOU!!!" ~ "I dropped of a kid Friday night and picked up a young adult on Sunday." RYLA has certainly touched many lives, not only the high school students that are selected to attend, but also the generous Rotarians that volunteer their time and talents over the weekend camp experience. 
Due to the realities of COVID-19, this year poses many challenges to successfully executing our annual RYLA camps. For the first time ever, the RYLA Committees from each of the islands have come together and have decided to plan a statewide leadership program to be held virtually in February 2021. To ensure the effectiveness of the virtual RYLA program, the State’s RYLA Committee will be working with a skilled and experienced organization to execute a highly interactive virtual leadership program for 200 youth statewide. We also plan to utilize 50 Rotarian volunteers as virtual camp guides, coaches and presenters.
The Hawai'i Virtual RYLA Camp shares the following program objectives:
  1. To demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth
  2. To encourage and assist young people in responsible and effective Voluntary Youth Leadership by providing them with a valuable training experience
  3. To foster continued and stronger leadership of youth by youth
  4. To publicly recognize the many young people who are rendering service to their communities as youth leaders
The program will cover the following general topics:
  1. Fundamentals of leadership
  2. Ethics of positive leadership
  3. Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
  4. Problem solving and conflict management
  5. What Rotary is and what it does for the community
    1. Structure (Interact, Rotaract, Rotary)
    2. Areas of Focus
    3. Avenues of Service
    4. Four-way Test
    5. Scholarship Opportunities
  6. Building Self-confidence and Self-esteem
  7. Elements of Community and Global Citizenship
    1. Issues pertinent to leadership in a global society, such as poverty, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, ecology and the environment, and ethics and decision making
Virtual RYLA 2021 is taking shape and it will be state-wide on February 26-27 (Friday evening to Saturday evening). We plan to engage a coordinator to make this a fun and well executed event on Zoom. Your club funds will be needed to sponsor students to attend. The projected registration amount at this time is still to be determined, will be no more than $125 per student. Interact club sponsors will be sent information soon. For more info, contact your island coordinator:
Kauai-Ray Paler at
Oahu-Rick Tabor at or Josh Laguana at
Maui- Mary Albitz at 
Big Island-Jen Tanouye at or Tim Hansen at,
District RYLA Chair Tim Hansen,
Message from: Peter Evans, Youth Protection Officer, Rotary District 5000
Aloha District 5000 Ohana! As your Youth Protection Officer, I’m here to not just support district compliance with our youth protection policies, but to ensure that we as an organization are striving to maintain a safe environment for all youth and young adults participating in Rotary activities. We are all representatives of Rotary and with our longstanding history and tradition of Service Above Self, we must have an untiring commitment to protect our youth and our reputation. Below is our RI statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:
Rotary International strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they come into contact with and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Adopted by the RI Board of Directors, November 2006
The youth protection program is robust in text but is not difficult to practice. My goal for our district is to create a culture of awareness that becomes second nature for all involved. It’s about following steps to eliminate risk of allegations and to protect the youth as well as our volunteers and members. Having two daughters myself, as youth they would participate in many organizational activities like sports, hula, surfing, etc. I appreciated the efforts of those organizations, who protected the youth participants. This didn’t just give my wife and I piece of mind, but it gave the organizations credibility and legitimacy in all they did. We want to maintain Rotary’s reputation and continue to be that trusted organization so that we can continue our mission of service. We are looking at a busy year filled with youth activities and mentorship that cannot be distracted. This is an exciting time for youth services and to be part of the youth services committees. 
Lastly, We are having a Youth Protection Zoom meeting scheduled for November 7 at 10 am, Meeting ID: 989 3428 2111, PW 843514. We need a representative or two, preferably a Youth Services Chair or equivalent, from each club to go over background checks, policies, expectation, and upcoming youth events. Please mark your calendar, this is an important training event, but we will have fun, I promise. 
Again, I cannot express the gratitude that I have for each and every one of you. It is you, the drivers of the club that make Rotary such a great organization to be part of. Be proud! Success comes with hard work and you are what makes Rotary, primarily our District 5000, a success. I am proud to be associated with you all and look forward to our great future together. You could contact me anytime via my personal cell phone 808-389-7459, or by email:
Peter Evans
Rotary Youth Exchange is an amazing all volunteer program that allows Hawaii high school students to live abroad for a year and brings in students to share their cultures with our high schools. In my many years involved with youth exchange here on Kauai, impact on our islands has been very positive and this is an integral part of Youth Services.
However, the Rotary Youth Exchange program is experiencing the greatest challenge it has ever faced because of COVID-19. 2020 brought the early return of many students both inbound and outbound. Many countries have suspended programs for 2020-21. SCANEx (the clearinghouse for all students) did an amazing job of getting all the students back to their home countries safe and sound.  As we prepare for 2021-22, the program faces many challenges for next year.
General Uncertainty
Even over a year away, we do not know which countries will open up to our students and whether we will be prepared to take on students. SCANEx has decided to forge ahead with the 2021-22 year but there are many challenges for our program.
  1. Sponsoring Clubs – We need the clubs to sponsor outbound and inbound students.  This is highly rewarding activity for the club. It brings interest in the high schools and the host parents who do not have to be Rotary members. The cost to the club of an outbound student is just a few hundred dollars and for and inbound about $1300 so it is not an expensive proposition. The inbound students can bring the added spark of youth to the club when the participate in projects and give the members a chance to experience the students home country without having to leave the island. For the hosts and members, the bonds they make with the students last a lifetime.
  2. Insurance & Health Safety – We do not know as of yet what the health insurance situation is.  As of now, COVID-19 is a carve out. We also don’t know what the vaccine situation is both here and abroad. What will be required before entering any country.
  3. Finding Host Families -  This will be an additional challenge to an already challenging situation. Finding hosts is probably the most daunting task for the club but I can tell you from experience that is the most rewarding experience. Here on Kauai, we have some families that host every year. I have a family that communicates with their student every week even though she lives in Thailand and was here over 10 years ago.
  4. School Situation – This too is uncertain. High schools might not take exchange students when in the past there was no issue. The blended or online learning is not conducive to an exchange program. Unless the student can get a scholarship, the student goes to the public school closest to the hosts. High schools recognize that exchange students are a positive influence on the student body but they may hesitate for now.
  5. Outbounds – Parents may be worried about send kids abroad and the program isn’t that well known. We need to increase our outreach to the middle schools so the prospective students can start to get excited as they will need to declare in 10th grade.
It is unfortunate that times are what they are. The Youth Exchange program is an amazing experience for all the students. We need to overcome the challenges and allow Hawaii students this Rotary Experience.
Tom Gross, District Rotary Youth Exchange Chair
The Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation is looking to award nearly $250,000 in scholarship aid to 50 high school seniors who excel both in their academics and in their service towards their community in Hawaii. Thanks to the generosity and vision of Maurice J. “Sully” Sullivan, as well as contributions from District 5000 Rotarians, HRYF has been able to provide scholarships to worthy, college-bound students for the past 43 years. In total, the foundation has provided more than $6.5 million to students to help further their educational and career endeavors.
Please join me in spreading the word about this fantastic opportunity, starting on November 1. The students who apply each year are simply amazing and never cease to impress. As a past judge and reviewer, I have wished we could give every student who applies a scholarship, because each has such a unique and compelling story to tell about themselves and their accomplishments.
  • November 1, 2020.  Applications are sent to schools and are posted on the website.
  • February 7, 2021.  Applications must be postmarked and sent to the selected Rotary Clubs.
  • February 10 – February 20.  Interviews are conducted and awardees are selected.
Each participating Rotary Club in the State of Hawaii has the chance to offer one $5,000 scholarship, following an application and interview process.  Club Representatives to HRYF will be required to attend training to assist with implementing the advertising and selection process.
  • November 14, 2020 at 9:30 am.  Notification and Processing of HRYF Student Applications
  • January 29, 2021 at 9:30 am.  HRYF Student Interviewing Process
I hope you take the time to both promote this scholarship to our Hawaii seniors and donate to this worthy cause to keep the scholarship continuing for the years to come. As a past recipient of the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise’s HRYF Scholarship, I cannot emphasize how important the financial support was to me as a student and why I felt compelled to join Honolulu Sunrise as a full Rotarian.
To our high school seniors, best of luck! HRYF and Rotary District 5000 is here to support you as you journey from high school to college and back to Hawaii!
Last Rotary year, Rotaract was elevated to a membership type and is no longer a “Program” under Youth Service. Key decisions regarding Rotaract: The upper age limit has been removed and Rotaract Clubs can set their own age limits if they choose to, Rotaractors will start paying Rotary International dues of $5 or $8 (community-based) starting July 2022, Rotaract clubs do not need a Rotary club sponsor, a Rotaract club can sponsor another Rotaract club.
Representatives from the Rotaract clubs have been meeting every month and have formed a Council of Rotarians and Rotaractors. Ernesto Arizala from the Rotaract Club of Honolulu has been elected the Rotaract District Representative. We are reaching out to establish Rotaract clubs in colleges where none exists, as well as consider where community-based Rotaract clubs can be formed. 
Why were these decisions made? Rotarians and Rotaractors have been discussing the importance of Rotaractors as a part of the Rotary family, as people of action, and as an integral part of our new Action Plan. These important decisions reflect the current trends among Rotaract clubs, elevate Rotaract as a membership type alongside Rotary clubs (unique in its identity, club culture, and member benefits), and encourage greater flexibility, innovation, and diversity within Rotaract.
If you are interested in participated in this initiative, please contact District Governor Naomi Masuno at, ph# 808-492-0126
Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change - in our world, in our communities and in ourselves.