Castlegar Rotary gives a scholarship for Interact/Youth Exchange students in memory of Lorraine Hartson's deceased daughter Erin.
The students are to write a short essay on “ How Interact/Youth Exchange has affected their life and how they will bring that forward in the future”.
 
Many times they get what the students have done during the years, but not really what they am looking for.  But these two students nailed it.  One is from this year and one is from last year. 
 
Student 1
 
When I joined Interact, I was a bullied insecure little girl.  At school I was an outcast and at home I was a big sister, just trying to figure myself out like all kids are around the age of 12.  At first, I was intimidated by Interact because of all the older kids who were in Interact.  However, as I grew older, I realized how good that was for me, having grown up with little siblings, to have some older kids in my life to give me advice and help me out in high school.  Interact also taught me that, no matter what clique or background people come from (as this was very mixed in Interact), you can still be an amazing person.  Lastly and most importantly, I learned from Interact the importance of being an active part of your community and how positive your impact can be.   Interact has truly been a very influential part of shaping who I am today and I would recommend this to every kid who feels lost.
 
 
Student 2
 
I can’t even begin to explain in full detail the incredible experiences and lessons I have learned while being a part of the Castlegar Rotary Interact Club.  There have been so many great experiences through out the five years I have been a part of this amazing group.  Interact has truly helped me become an individual with compassion, charisma, knowledge, empathy and a strong sense of community.  I have grown so much as a person since I first joined interact.  One of the best examples of this is a colour gamed we played at our meeting before we went on our humanitarian trips.  Questions were asked about our personality and depending on how you answered, you were put in a colour group with others with the same personality.  The firsts time we played this game, I was a happy- go-lucky, carefree, off in my own little world orange.  The second time we played was 2 years later after our trip to Ecuador and then I was an empathetic, compassionate blue.  I feel this change in personality was due to the experiences I had through Interact.  When I first joined, I was the orange kid who couldn’t sit still and had the attention span of a goldfish, but the amazing leaders and my peers as well helped me see it through, and eventually I became the caring, emotional, thought-provoking blue.  I went from someone who wouldn’t have been seen as a leader in my opinion, to being quite a good one.  This change took the biggest leap when I was nominated for club president!  I had never dreamed the year before I would reach that milestone.  The responsibilities that came along with the position also changed me to become the best I could possibly be.  I started to lead meetings, speak publicly, gain confidence and I also became a go to confidant for the younger Interactors.  I learned to lead through example and no matter how much I spoke, it was my positive leadership actions that made waves throughout the group.  I would have never expected I could be the one to lead the way, but also be able to chat and have fun as well.  The leaders if Interact have taught me how to truly be a leader with their encouragement and patience.  I will take the mentoring I received, my positive experiences and my role as a leader and use it in my daily life to encourage those around me to believe in themselves.  I truly have taken leaps and bounds in my maturity through this club, which I will be forever grateful.  I will always have these great memories with the Interact Club which I will cherish and use everyday to better myself.