Rotary Youth Exchange Club and District Certification

At its meeting in Bangkok in November 2002, the Board of Rotary International agreed to the followingStatement of Conduct for Working with Youth:

“Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ partners, and any volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact through Rotary.”

In the light of that Statement, the Australian Rotary Youth Exchange Program Chairs’ Conference drafted a Student Protection Policy in October 2004. This policy was circulated to all 23 Australian Youth Exchange Chairs prior to presentation at the Australian Rotary Regional Institute in November 2004.  At the Institute, this policy document was referred to a sub-committee for review.

In the interim many Districts adopted the ARYEPCC Student Protection Policy as their own District Youth Exchange Committee policy.

At the same time, RI, through General Secretary Ed Futa, raised the likelihood of RI moving to adopt a ‘certification process’, which Clubs and Districts who wished to participate in youth exchange would need to complete. The draft of RI’s ‘certification process’ was then released in June 2005 just prior to the RI Convention in Chicago.

The certification process requires Districts to draft specific policies which encompass the requirements of the RI draft but are specific to the laws of customs of the country where each District is located.

At the annual meeting of the ARYEPCC in Canberra in August 2005, it was agreed that a ‘certification process’ for Australian Districts be drafted to assist Clubs and Districts meet the guidelines and minimum standards laid down by Rotary International. From 1 July 2007 certification became mandatory for all Clubs wishing to participate in the Youth Exchange program.

Australian Districts already have very extensive abuse and harassment policies and procedures in place, which ensure the highest possible standard of care to those young people who participate in the program and for whom we, as Rotarians, have responsibility.  These guidelines and procedures are designed to assist Clubs and Districts in achieving ‘certification’ with the minimum of fuss.  They have been developed to formalise what Clubs and Districts are currently operating under, and have much to be proud of in their development.

This certification process is also an important element in our responsibilities, to demonstrate to our Insurers that we are serious about risk management in youth programs, and justify their decision to include molestation cover under the Rotary liability policy.

The Documents
The document links below provide all the background information, forms, criteria and checklists that clubs need to implement the RI certification process. Click on each link to download the document in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

  • COVER PAGE – For the District Youth Exchange Certification Guide
  • INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY – Where Rotary Youth Exchange in Australia stands as of February 2006 and how we reached this position, and an Executive Summary of the Club and District Certification Documentation
  • YESP DI 1 – Australian Rotary Youth Exchange Protection Policy – The Main District Policy Document
  • YESP DI 2 – Rotary Youth Exchange Tips for Students to Use to Stay Safe
  • YESP DI 3 – The Rotary International Youth Exchange Sexual Abuse and Harassment Reporting Guidelines
  • YESP DI 4 – Rotary Youth Exchange District Committee Member Screening Report – “A Guide for the District Governor and the District Committee Assessing Potential New Committee Members”
  • YESP DI 5 – Rotary Youth Exchange District Checklist and Compliance Form – Inbound Students
  • YESP DI 6 – Rotary Youth Exchange District Checklist and Compliance Form – Outbound Students
  • YESP CL 1 – Rotary Youth Exchange Club Certification Criteria – The Main Rotary Club Policy Document
  • YESP CL 2 – Rotary Youth Exchange Host Family Members Screening Report – “A Guide for Rotarians Assessing Potential Host Families”
  • YESP CL 3 – Rotary Youth Exchange Club Counsellor(s) or Other Volunteer Screening Report – “A Guide for Rotarians Assessing Potential Counsellors or Volunteers”
  • YESP CL 4 – Rotary Youth Exchange Volunteer Information and Declaration Form
  • YESP CL 5 – Rotary Youth Exchange Club Check List and Compliance Statement – Hosting an Inbound Student
  • YESP CL 6 – Rotary Youth Exchange Club Check List and Compliance Statement Sponsoring an Outbound Student
  • YESP CL 7 – Rotary Youth Exchange Club Protection Officer Checklist and Declaration