Rotary International celebrated its 100th year of service in 2005.  That year RI President Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar asked every Rotary club to mark the occasion in a distinct way.  The Rotary Club of Harrisburg (RCH) planning team chose to design the Youth Community Development Team as not just a one-year event but a commitment to serve youth and our community in perpetuity.
RCH member Meghan Bachmore leads an ice breaker activity.
Seventeen years later RCH members serving as YCDT coaches and the 2022 student participants have taken the original concept to new heights and have incorporated innovative technologies. 
RCH leaders are taking time to inspire 36 students from John Harris, SciTech, Central Dauphin and Bishop McDevitt High Schools in the areas of team building, assessing community needs, fundraising, grant writing/evaluation, public speaking, and volunteerism.  This year coaches and participants have been meeting at the Camp Curtin YMCA, as well as virtually.
RCH YCDT committee members include Marion Alexander, Meghan Bachmore, Gillian Byerly, Jennifer Doyle, Brad Gebhart (co-chair), Andy Phillips (co-chair), Jessica Ritchie and Jill Tenny.
While there are perceived and real outcomes of the YCDT program such as increased confidence in the participating students; transformed attitudes; broadened perspectives and new friendships plus increased understanding across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries, the specific objectives laid out by the Rotary Club of Harrisburg are to:
1) Increase students’ exposure to the greater Harrisburg community and their awareness of local resources.
2) Develop and improve students’ oral communication & presentation skills.
3) Increase students’ application of collaboration, negotiation, compromise, and persuasive skills.
4) Provide students with a forum to serve the community and demonstrate an impact.
These objectives of the YCDT program are achieved through a REAL experience.  Participants identify a specific area of community focus, raise money toward providing a solution to that need and select a community organization to receive the YCDT grant funding and participant community service hours.
This year’s YCDT members chose to dedicate efforts on mental health issues facing young people.  Request for proposals were written and send into the community with an astounding record of 22 returned requests.
On February 16, RCH coaches and the participants (via Zoom) discussed how to successfully prepare for the critical step of raising the $5,000.  RCH coaches with incredible credentials in fundraising included Gillian Byerly and Jessica Ritchie leading an hour-long session on peer-to-peer fundraising.  Content included having a personal plan, leveraging personal contacts, planning the pitch and learning how to make “the ask.”  Jennifer Doyle led a discussion on “What Makes A Good Grant Application.” The students broke into breakout groups and narrowed the 22 grant applicants to five finalists.
To spur competition, the participants are divided into teams.  This year’s six teams chose the names Forces L’invissible, Makin A Difference, Turtle League, Team Penguin and Crew Leaders.
 The “Forces” create their team poster.
The teams also incorporated modern-day technology into their fundraising plan.  They will use an online donation platform, business cards with QR codes, Instagram and Tiktok to add new dimensions to raising the important funds needed to address the needs of the selected final request recipient. 
The students will interview representatives from the five finalists and select a winning grant recipient on Wednesday, May 18.
RCH members were encouraged to make contributions to the YCDT by April 30, 2022.  Social media apps were customized for members and traditional checks can be sent to Harrisburg Rotary Foundation re: YCDT, 3310 Market Street, Rear 2nd Floor, Suite A, Camp Hill, PA 17011.      
 Team “Make’n a Difference” present their poster to the group.