For the first time in nearly 75 years, we will miss smiling faces like these, as there will be no students coming from all over the world to participate in a program unlike any in Rotary. The executive committee of the Georgia Rotary Student Program made the unhappy decision to defer the program until next year - Fall 2021 - to make a small attempt to keep students, Rotarians and Rotarian families a little safer and to allow students to make alternate plans for their academic year.
The committee recognized there was in fact no way to have a full program with a full experience for all concerned given consulates around the world are still not open and with no opening in sight, delays in issuing the required I-20s from the schools for a visa, and no real information on what universities will be doing in the Fall. The mission of the GRSP goes beyond just academic studies offering cultural exchange among 40 or so students from different nations, their host families and Rotarians. It had become apparent that we would be lucky if a couple of students were able to get their visas in time to get to Georgia for their academic year. GRSP has been a dream for many students for more than a year and the committee did not take the decision lightly.
Contrary to normal rules, Trustees and host families are encouraged to stay in touch with their chosen student over the next few months to ascertain whether the student will be available next year and whether the club would still like to have first priority for that student. The clubs will not be held to their commitments for this year; however, at some point (date certain currently under discussion), the clubs and students will be asked to recommit.
In the meantime, if your club is looking for Zoom programs, we might suggest asking your alumni to visit a Zoom meeting. Rotarians seem to enjoy reconnecting with their students and, as always, the students are anxious to let everyone know how they are doing and what they are seeing in their own countries.
PLANNING FOR INCENTIVE CHECKS
Once again, for those clubs that wish to receive a rebate for next year, it is not too late to get in your donations to make the $50 per capita in giving that is required to receive an incentive check. A club can ask their trustee for that information or can make a request from me or the Savannah Office. Any of us would be happy to review what is needed to assure a club some extra funds to be used in whatever way the club desires.