Adopted by the Board of D5040 Inc,  March 2020  Updated December 2020

1. Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth 

District 5040 strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and youth they meet and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

2. Definitions

  • Youth – a person under the age of 19 years
  • Volunteer — any adult involved with Rotary activities that interacts directly with youth whether supervised or  unsupervised.  For a more detailed list for Youth Exchange, refer to the Rotary Youth Exchange Handbook.
  • Youth Program Participant — anyone who participates in a Rotary youth program, whether child or adult
  • YEO – Youth Exchange Officer (club designate) is responsible for oversight of the youth program at the club level and works closely with the District Youth Exchange committee
  • RYLA – Rotary Youth Leadership Award is Rotary’s leadership training and personal development program for young people ages 14 to 30 years of age.  This document compliments hwe comprehensive RYLA Handbook for all RYLA participants.
  • INTERACT is a service club for ages 12 – 18 sponsored by a Rotary Club.  Interact gives young people the opportunity to participate in fun, meaningful service projects while developing leadership skills and meeting new friends.  This document compliments the comprehensive Interact Handbook to sponsor and oversee an Interact Club.
  • Rotary Youth Exchange (YEX) is a Rotary International student exchange program for students in secondary school.  Since 1929, Rotary International has sent young people around the globe to experience new cultures.  Currently, about 9000 students are sponsored by Rotary Clubs every year. This document compliments the comprehensive Youth Exchange Handbook to sponsor and oversee a District and Club Exchange Program.

3. Incorporation and Liability Insurance

Rotary District 5040 is a legal entity known as Rotary International District 5040 Inc. This entity was incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act on April 10 2007.
District 5040 clubs carry liability insurance⁶ renewed annually, with appropriate coverage and policy limits. This policy protects the clubs from third-party claims and lawsuits alleging negligence by the organization, its employees, or its volunteers.  It is important to not take an insurance policy at face value.  A clear understanding of the liability policy expectations are in order for all organizational chairs, whether at a Club or District level.

4. District and Club Responsibilities

District 5040 will monitor all participating clubs and ensure that they comply with the YOUTH PROTECTION POLICY and Rotary Youth Exchange certification requirement. Clubs are responsible for following the Youth Protection Policy and all RI and District manuals related to youth in all club activities.

5. Volunteer Selection and Screening

  • All Rotarian and non-Rotarian volunteers working with youth program participants must meet RI and district eligibility requirements
  • Undergo a background check (CRC)
  • Non-Rotarian volunteers must be registered with their sponsor club in the Clubrunner database to allow certification documents to be registered
  • Non-Rotarian volunteers must complete a Volunteer Information Form
  • If volunteers are involved in transporting youth, an Abstract may be in order
  • If volunteers are involved in transporting youth they must complete the District 5040 Volunteer Drivers Agreement & Protocol
  • Rotary International prohibits the membership and participation of any volunteer who has admitted to, been convicted of, or otherwise been found to have engaged in sexual abuse or harassment.
  • If a person is accused of sexual abuse or harassment and the law enforcement investigation is inconclusive, or if law enforcement declines to investigate, additional safeguards are necessary to protect any youth program participants with whom the accused may have future contact, as well as the accused. A person later cleared of charges may apply to be reinstated as a youth program volunteer. Reinstatement is not a right, and reinstatement to his or her former position is not guaranteed.

6. Training

  • District 5040 and member clubs should provide youth-protection training and information.
  • District 5040 and member clubs should conduct training for those involved in Youth Exchange and other Rotary recognized youth programs and activities.
  • District 5040 will ensure that all clubs are trained on/aware of Youth Protection Policy.

7. Allegation Handling and Follow-Through

District 5040 takes all allegations of abuse or harassment seriously and will handle them in accordance with the Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines
The district will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, child protective services, and legal investigations and will not interfere with official investigations when conducting its own independent review.  
District 5040 may appoint a youth protection officer or district review committee to evaluate and review files, policies, and allegations regularly.
Any crisis prior, during or after events/travel will be handled by the District Crisis Management Team.  Clubs must contact the Crisis Management Team before taking any action regarding unforeseen events.

8. Travel by Youth

Youth travel outside of the local community must comply with youth protection policies and follow the Extraordinary Youth Travel Protocol.  For all youth travel sponsored by District 5040 or its clubs, the following will be done before departure:
  • Obtain written permission from the parents or legal guardians of program participants
  • Give parents and legal guardians details about the travel, including locations, accommodations, itineraries, and the organizer’s contact information
  • When traveling more than 200 kilometers, from the residence, verify that program participants have adequate insurance, including benefits for medical services, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, and legal liability
When travel is by vehicle, all volunteers must follow the District 5040 Volunteers Driver’s Protocol & Agreement.

9.  Standards and Guidelines for Electronic Communication & Virtual Activities

All Youth Programs; District and Club, should follow the Standards and Guidelines for Electronic Communication & Virtual Activities when using on-line communication tools.  Program leaders must be aware of communicating with youth and parents/guardians, using social media and leading in a virtual environment.
Rotary International strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they encounter and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Adopted by the RI Board of Directors, November 2006