May brings spring flowers, some lingering showers, and a host of observances to commemorate our work in various areas.
First and foremost, May is Mental Health Awareness month.  We want to raise awareness about Rotary’s efforts in mental wellness, break down stigma, and support public education. Let's engage in open conversations, foster empathy, and share resources to help individuals and families on their path to mental wellness. In addition, consider attending our two District-sponsored mental health events planned for May 9 in Kentfield or May 10 in Redwood City.
Also, in Rotary, May is “Youth Service Month.”  What activities is your Rotary Club planning for our young members – the leaders of tomorrow? There are numerous ways our clubs can positively impact young lives:
  • Interact: Interact is a Rotary-sponsored service club comprised of 12–18-year-olds (usually school based, such as middle, junior high, or high school). Interact gives young people the opportunity to take part in fun, meaningful service projects.  Along the way, Interactors develop their leadership skills and initiative while meeting new friends. 
  • Rotaract: Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young people ages 18-30.  Rotaract clubs are usually community or university-based and are sponsored by a local Rotary club, making them true “partners in service” and key members of the Rotary family.
  • Rotary Youth Exchange: Rotary Youth Exchange is an excellent and inexpensive way for high school age students to travel and study in a foreign country.  Youth exchange gives the participant the opportunity to improve their language skills and school and family experiences will teach them the culture of their host country. 
  • RYLA: Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) is a multi-day camp where high school -aged youth are chosen for their leadership potential to attend to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.   This year’s RYLA camp will take place July 29 – August 2, 2024. Learn more about RYLA
Interested in getting more involved with youth programs? Contact District Youth Chair, Sylvia Barry.
Finally, if you watched the Kentucky Derby on May 4, you know it was a thrilling race with a memorable finish (and upset!).  One thing that was evident is that one of those horses never gave up – they focused on their goal (the finish line) and didn’t let up until it was crossed.  While life may throw us curveballs – veering us off course temporarily – it’s important that we never lose sight of our goals and keep pushing until they’re reached.
We can also draw inspiration from horses… as leaders. True horsemen have earned the trust of their horses by simple actions… showing up, being empathetic, being aware of their needs, keeping their emotions in check, and communicating clearly and consistently. The same goes for your club. In the world of working with volunteers, you need to find a way to harness their strengths and get everyone pulling in the same direction. If you do this, your team — like your horse — will happily follow you. 
Here's to being more in tune with our members and finishing this Rotary year just as strong as we started!
Yours in Rotary Service,
Laine Hendricks
Rotary International District 5150 Governor 2023-2024
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