For 40 years, high school juniors and seniors have attended the World Affairs Seminar to gain a better understanding of other cultures and of the world’s problems.
Now held at Carroll University, the program is offered by Rotary District 6270 and includes a variety of speakers on a specific theme.
Last year, was global water issues, and this year, it was education and social justice.
Tom Plantenberg of the World Affairs seminar spoke the impact the program has on students who come from around the world to attend. One testimonial from a student told how it changed her approach to everyday life and her openness to learn from everyone she meets. Students make lifelong friends and often change their career path after participating, Tom said.
About 300 youths attend every year, and this year came from 36 different countries, including those in Europe, South America, as well as some from Sudan, Nepal and China, and of course, the United States.
At the seminar, they are called delegates, and Tom said they represent the service clubs, their families and schools that help send them
“We try to stick closely to Rotary International and tell them what Rotary is,” Tom said, adding that the hope is that they become future members.
The seminar starts out with an interactive exercise meant not only to break the ice but to introduce the delegates to a theme. Members of the State Department attend to set up a United Nations type of scenario, he said.
“The delegates not only study subject matter, but then learn how to identify and solve problems in an interactive way,” he said.
Tom said he spent time in the Navy.
“I love to blow up stuff,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe that will solve problems. Discussion and diplomacy are much better tactics.
People from all ideologies attend the seminar and share their ideas in safe environment.
“The whole rule of the day is civility,” Tom said.
Every delegate is assigned a group for the interactive exercises, and counselors show them techniques.
This year, the delegates presented their ideas in a trade-show type of setting, with groups going from table to table.
The week also includes large and small lectures, along with field trips. This year, the students visited General Electric and Johnson Controls, Tom said. One of the lecturers this year was an older, Rosa Parks-era civil rights activist.
The delegates are involved with social interaction throughout the week, and when it ends, they say goodbye with “heartfelt hugs,” Tom said.
Tom said the budget is razor thin, and he still has to raise about $50,000 to keep the program afloat. That would change if more delegates attended, he added, encouraging the club to send more students.
Other News:
Sign up sheets with shifts are being created for Wauktoberfest. The beer selection is being finalized, but Lone Girl will have two beers on Friday night, and Octopi will have a pilsner for Saturday.
Guests: Kathy Kearney, guest of Kevin Kearney.
Visiting Rotarians: None.  
Birthdays: Aug. 19, Allison Feldbruegge; Aug. 22, Don Hoffman; Aug. 23, David Rupp
Anniversaries: Aug. 26, Lori and Peter Derauf; Aug. 26, John and Debbie Cullen; Aug. 27, Danny and Lori Miller; Aug. 28, Connie and Marjorie Blau; Aug. 30, Tasha Chambers and Joe Bialkowski.
Greeters: Aug. 24, Don Hoffman and Mick Holm; Aug. 31, Roxanne Johnson and Kevin Kearney; Sept. 7, Tom Kennedy and Bob Klostermann.