Cal Rotaract is a wonderful club with four different subcommittees: Rotary, Local, International, and Interact. Earlier this month, I participated in Interact for the first time. I have to say it was a really rewarding experience and I’m already looking forward to the next one!
Interact Stayover, formally called Cal Berkeley Rotaract Stayover, is a biannual event. Every single semester, Rotaract brings in a group of about sixty students to host for the weekend. This event is a mix of community service, mentorship, and fun all wrapped into two days.
As a part of the Interact Committee, club members attend a weekly one-hour meeting (typically on Thursdays although subject to change). This low time commitment enables Cal students of all majors and backgrounds to join the committee to help plan for Interact Stayover. Within Interact, there are four subcommittees which focus on different aspects of Stayover. For example, one subcommittee plans the icebreakers for the weekend and another group plans out the logistics of food and supplies. Each member gets to pick a subcommittee which interests them. And with each Interact meeting, Stayover weekend is one step closer to completion.
I signed up to be one of the group leaders with two of my awesome friends. As a group leader, we were in charge of about 7 Interactors (the high school students). I never dreamed I would be excited to wake up to get to Lower Sproul by 8 am. But there I was, wondering who will be in my group. First, we started with morning icebreakers to help the Interactors and the group leaders to converse and learn more about each other. Then, we went to workshops about various topics regarding college and life. At the end of the day, we had a segment called RealTalk. At first, I was worried that I would not be at facilitating this type of event. Everyone wrote one of their insecurities and crumbled up the piece of paper and threw it in the middle of the circle. During the event, I both gave advise and learned a lot from the high school students. It was a growing experience for all of us, not just the Interactors. I was surprised, but I remembered myself as a high school student. That limbo stage where I am treated as if I’m a child but expected to be an adult. Those expectations, placed on them and myself a few years ago, are heavy and it’s difficult to find the right people to talk about them. Mental health is a topic seldom discussed at school and at home. I hope RealTalk was a positive way for Interactors and for Rotaractors to talk about the deeper issues that affect us. I walked out of that event a little teary eyed but with a lighter heart.
The next day, we all went out to various community service events. I went to VIDA Warehouse, one of the locations the International Committee volunteers frequently. VIDA Warehouse collects donations from nearby hospitals of medical equipment and supplies, which would otherwise be thrown away, and collect them to send to South America and Africa. After this event, we had a closing event with Sunshine bags. Everyone wrote notes for each other filled with positivity.
This experience was one of my highlights this busy semester. I loved being a part of Interact Stayover. You will definitely find me in an Interact Committee meeting next semester.