We invited Philip Harris (Space Center Rotarian) to be our keynote speaker at our 2012 Interact District Conference, and he did an amazing job inspiring 400+ Interactors, Rotarians, Rotaractors, RYE students, and parents that attended.  Since he was only 7-8 years older than the Interactors, he instantly became the new face of Rotary for them, and reminded them that they don't have to wait "decades", or "forever" as one of my Interactors said, to become a Rotarian.  Interactors were asking him to sign the backs of their Interact t-shirts, and they were signing the back of his.

 
 
He gave them 3 steps to acheiving their dream, and I had Interactors, plus parents, thanking me for inviting him speak.

The greatest compliment to Philip came later in the evening.  We divided the Interactors into 20 groups of 20 Interactors, and gave them 1.5 hours to develop a Rotary/Interact themed group song, or skit, that involved all their members.  One group used Philip and his speech as their topic, and it was outstanding.  He was impressed, and had lots of fun watching them pay homage in their own way to him.  It was cool.
 
During the evening, he had 8-9 Interactors on several occasions approach him for advise, and he sat down and talked to them for long lengths of time giving them advise.  I was so happy to see him engaged with these young leaders.  They respected, and admired him, and I know that he was honored to be sharing his knowledge with him.  Thanks to social media, they are all going to stay in contact with him.  
 
One parent said that she wished she would have had someone like Philip talk to her when she was young, and that his presentation had inspired her.  She said that she would have brought her other son to the conference even though he isn't an Interactor, just so he could have heard his presentation.
 
He also had a Shelterbox display, including the tent, so he was able to spread the word about the project.
 
I look forward to getting Philip more involved on a district level with Interact, and I know that they look forward to having him be a mentor to them.
 
Please bestow congratulations to him at your next meeting.  He just might be one of the best kept secrets in D5890.  
 
Take care,
Tommie Buscemi
Interact Chair, District 5890