PUBLISHED: 4:09 PM on Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Rotaract club brings fun to networking in Juneau
Capital City Rotaract recently got its start in Juneau and is looking to become an active part of the community. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. at the boardroom of the Juneau Economic Development Council on Wednesdays and take each fourth Wednesday of the month off and reserve the fifth Wednesday of the month for "Wild Wednesdays."

All Rotaract efforts begin at the local grassroots level and Rotaract clubs have access to many of the resources of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. There are more than 8,000 Rotaract clubs in some 155 countries and geographic areas.

For information about the group, call president Melissa Griffiths at 364-5201 or send e-mail to

What is Rotaract and what is its purpose?

Courtesy Photo
  Melissa Griffiths, president of Capital City Rotaract, far left, conducts business with fellow members at a recent meeting.
Rotaract is a club related to Rotary International - the name is an abbreviation of Rotary in action - for young professionals and students ages 18-30. We are a civic organization and have a few major foci: Service, professional and leadership development, and global awareness and international service. Another purpose that may not be listed officially is that we are a social networking group and we want to build friendships and network!

How did the Juneau club form?

The Juneau Club was formed by the three Rotary clubs of Juneau - they recruited and planned and brought all of us together for an event at Sandy beach. Many of us were hooked on the ideals for the group and looked forward to meeting new people with similar goals and attitudes so we continued to meet and build up the group. We elected officers in a blind election and have spent a lot of time trying to get our group going.

How do you hope to see this group develop in the next year?

Since the Capital City Rotaract has just started, we are really still creating an identity for our group. We are working hard to decide on our causes, our events, and our relationship with the community. So far we've had many a brainstorming session related to how we want to help Juneau and how we want to help internationally. We've also declared ourselves a fun organization and we are working hard to try to develop this as well. We want the group to grow in the next year as well, we'd love to have University students and other young professionals join us for our meetings and events. A more detailed look at how we are growing - we've been discussing fighting cancer and patient/survivor support as a possible service project, both locally and globally.

What does Rotaract do with Juneau's Rotary clubs?

Since the Rotaract club was put into motion by the Rotary clubs, we receive a huge amount of support from the three Juneau groups. We also have made a commitment to support the Rotary clubs in terms of volunteer time and attending Rotary events. All Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact groups are pretty intertwined - we share ideals, sometimes projects, and we may frequent each other's meetings. We've also been working on a mentorship program between Rotary and Rotaract members, pairing young people with people in their field of interest for potential job shadowing or just advice and support.

Courtesy photo
  Courtesy photo Some members of Capital City Rotaract, from left, Steve Allwine III, Shauna Wishart, Alexa Connolly, Melissa Griffiths, Luke Fanning, Jessalynn Rintala and Hannah Baldwin.
What are the benefits of a Rotaract club in Juneau and how will this group interact with other Rotaracts in the state?

I think all of us in the group can see many benefits of having a Rotaract club in Juneau. It is great to have an opportunity to meet with likeminded young people, to have resources available, and to have fun events to attend. One thing we discussed at our most recent meeting was that we were happy to get to know some people our age who would be sticking around for the winter, we also think that something like Rotaract might give people a reason to stay through the cold months! In terms of our relationships with other Rotaract groups in the state - we've received a lot of support from these groups as well. More exciting is the opportunity to do joint events, to travel, and to meet people outside of Juneau. It doesn't stop at interaction with other Alaska groups though - there are Rotaract groups worldwide, opening up so many possibilities.

Editor's note: Capital City Weekly will each week feature a business or organizational leader to answer five questions. To send suggestions for interviewees, send e-mail to Amanda Gragertat