"The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow" is a saying we all use from time to time. In District 5170, Rotarians put their time, treasure, and talent into the development of those leaders. Be it a club function such as Kids Day Fishing, a mentoring project, a District program such as Interact, or RYLA, the Rotarians of our District serve thousands of young people each year.

Donn Wadley chairs our Rotaract program which serves adults from age 18 to 30 in both College and Community based clubs. We currently have five clubs, but the work that they do is amazing. International projects such as eye care in India and computers to Bulgaria are just examples of the Rotaract District functions. The Silicon Valley Rotaract Club, a community based club, raised $47,000.00 to purchase a Giraffe bed for the neonatal unit at Valley Medical Center in San Jose. This is a full function bed that is used to assist premature and under weight babies in their first days of life.

Service to youth continues with the Richard D. King Speech Contest. Nick Leon will chair this event, which gives each club the opportunity to have a speech contest and then sponsor their winner on to the Area, Regional, and the District Contest which is held at the District Conference on Sunday morning. Many clubs feel that this is one of the best days of the year. Listening to these high school students deliver motivational speeches in a most professional manner gives us faith in our future leaders.

RYLA is a program that changes lives. Joanne Mansch and her team can tell you stories of how much this leadership camp means to the lives of the campers. Without giving details we can say that, not only does RYLA improve the lives of the attendees, it has actually saved lives. On at least two occasions, campers who were contemplating suicide have been brought back and given the assistance that they needed to continue life. One hundred and eighty campers are served each year, some are not happy being sent to camp, the same campers are not happy when camp is over. Marvelous!

Evonne Hopkins and Joe Furtado head the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Along with Mike Cloutier, Janet Ferraro, Mark Junod, and Ron Hyde, approximately fifty in bound and out bound students are served in both long term and short term programs. This is no small chore, this team spends hour upon hour to make sure that these young people have all the necessary paperwork completed and are being properly cared for during their stay. RI President Wilf Wilkinson stated that if every seventeen year old could go on a Rotary exchange, we would have peace on earth in a very short time.

Bette Daoust is the Chair for the "You're My Hero" Youth Literacy project. This project is new to the district this year and has been designed to provide writing, reading and community interaction between Youth and Rotary Clubs. This unique project will help each Interact Club raise funds for RYLA, International Projects and more. It is easy to get started with this project and easy to help Interact at the same time. This project is not restricted to Interact Clubs and can be used for Community, Youth at Risk or other projects. Connect with Bette Daoust through email Literacy@Rotary5170.org

As has been said many times, Rotary happens in the clubs. Clubs throughout the District run wonderful programs such as Kids Day Fishing, Day at the A's, mentoring, All Star Football games, Bull Dog Boxing, support for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc. District 5170 can be proud of all that is done for the leaders of tomorrow.