Does Your Club Have a Youth Protection Officer and Policy?

Most clubs in District 6900 participate in service projects involving youth 17 years old and under. Examples may include the below:

  • School mentoring/tutoring programs
  • RYLA
  • Interact
  • Rotary Youth Exchange
  • Youth sports programs

If your club provides volunteers in any of these service areas, it's critical for your club leadership to consider these questions:

  • What does our club do to ensure Rotarian volunteers are vetted and trained to work with youth?
  • What steps can our club take to protect the youth in our programs from abuse by a Rotarian or other volunteer?
  • What would be our club's response if an abuse incident occurred and it was determined that our club did not have any youth volunteer screening processes in place?

Abuse can come in many forms: sexual, physical, cyber, emotional and more. Sadly, youth protection policies are necessary because perpetrators of child abuse can come from any demographic, including civic-minded community leaders such as Rotarians. Rotary clubs are not immune to abuse cases by their members in Rotary programs.

Rotary International requires clubs to use appropriate screening methods for volunteers in any youth program. We are introducing this to the District 6900 clubs this year and, as part of our district policy, are asking that clubs review their own screening/training process to ensure that the youth we serve (and also Rotarians) are adequately protected against abuse situations. This year District 6900 Youth Protection committee has put together a process that follows the steps recommended by the Rotary International Youth Protection policy. The initial step for a club is to designate a member as the Youth Protection Officer and that member will become familiar with the RI youth protection policy, as well as help to implement such a policy for their own club's Rotarians who are involved in youth activity (if a Rotarian doesn't work with youth, then this policy would not apply to them).

If you are ready to get started or learn more for your club, please contact Ken Crowell (mailto:YouthProtection@rotary6900.org) or visit the D6900 Youth Protection policy page to review the district policy and watch a short video. It's important that we take the necessary steps to protect the youth in our district.

Posted by Ken Crowell
December 5, 2017


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