On November 12, Interact District 5160 Conference was held at Salesian High School in Richmond, CA. The conference served as an opportunity to listen to speakers, meet other Interactors, and to gain valuable skills that could be used both in Interact and in other activities, and at the end of the day, Interactors left with new knowledge and perspective on Interact.
The conference began at 10:00 AM with some opening words from our district governors, Darcy Coulter and Swetha Sankar (Cal High Interact’s Vice President), who introduced Christine Dean. Ms. Dean described her experiences working as a police officer and her struggles as a woman to fit into a career that, at the time, was widely considered a job for men. As she explained the various duties she had as a police officer, she showed Interactors the actual gear she wore and carried – including the first bulletproof vest for women, which was custom-made to fit her. Her presentation was truly empowering, showing that no barrier, whether it be gender discrimination or something else, can stop one from achieving one’s goals.
After the speech, we broke up into groups and played games that would help us meet new Interactors from other schools.
We then had our first break-out session, where Interactors could choose which workshop they wanted to attend. The first workshop that Cal High Interactors chose was “Advertising and Branding”, where members of the District Council talked about how to use social media to address a wider audience and provided tools, such as Canva and Prime, to make our social media more engaging. They then split us into groups for an activity in which we had to create a poster advertising for a company. A company used whale barf to make perfumes, and we branded it as “Overwhaleming Fantastic.”
The next workshop we attended was called “How to Run Your Interact Club.” In this workshop, the District Council showed us an example of a poorly-run club and compared it to a club that was well run. They also presented us with organization techniques and tools, as well as ways to create a closer and more comfortable environment for Interact club members. We were able to ask District Council members more specific questions about various aspects of running a club after.
After a nice lunch break, we went to our final workshop, “Rotary Youth Programs”, which primarily focused on Youth Exchange. We started with an icebreaker game with the people in the room, in which we grabbed one to five M&Ms out of a bag and had to state one to five facts about ourselves depending on the number of M&Ms we had grabbed. Following that activity, we learned more about Youth Exchange and its life-changing aspects. They told us the various benefits of Youth Exchange, including learning a new language, a wider global perspective, and a nice blazer with pins from each activity in the host country.
We finished the conference with some final words from the district governors. Overall, the District Conference was very rewarding and enjoyable, as we got to see many different parts of Interact and how Interact is more than just a club for volunteer hours. It was really worthwhile to see the passion in which Interactors were willing to give back to their community.