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Collingwood youth club 'sways from the norm' to raise money for those in need

The Interact Club of Collingwood is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Collingwood and South Georgian Bay

A group of local youth are becoming known for their unique community and global fundraisers and events. 

The Interact Club of Collingwood is a youth Rotary Club that consists of more than 20 members aged 12-18 years old from Collingwood and the surrounding areas. The club was founded in 2017 and is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of both South Georgian Bay and Collingwood.

“It’s a great way to get involved in the community, make new friends, gain leadership skills and get our volunteer hours,” said Erin Stransky, the current president of the Interact Club of Collingwood. 

Stransky is in her final year at Collingwood Collegiate Institute and has been a part of the club since its inception. She served as the club’s vice-president the past two years before being elected as president in September. 

Both of Stransky’s parents are members of the Rotary Club, and she grew up helping out with events and fundraisers. When the Interact Club was created, she thought it would be a great way to get involved herself. 

“I really like connecting with people and seeing how you can make a difference with a little time and effort,” said Stransky. 

From September until June, the club meets weekly at the Saunders Building in Collingwood to discuss fundraisers, what they want to focus on, who they want to support and how they can increase engagement in the community, Stransky said. 

They aim to hold three fundraisers and at least one event per year. 

The club’s most recent fundraiser, the third annual “Not a Car Wash,” took place on Oct. 23 at Georgian Meadows. Instead of washing the outside of cars, club members offered 30-minute interior car detailing for $50 with all proceeds going to the Back-to-School Rotary Project in Cebu, Philippines. 

“We like to sway from the norm and do something different,” said Stransky. 

The day was a success, and the club raised a total of $2,000 — enough to send 40 children to school for an entire year in the Philippines. 

Other past projects include one called Holiday Bows, where club members handmade eco-friendly Christmas bows from recycled newspaper and sold them online last December, and Pie a Rotarian, where Rotarians from both sponsor clubs volunteered to get pied in the face. 

“We had four Rotarians from our sponsor club volunteer to get a pie in the face, so people would donate in their name with a little message and whoever had the most donations in their name ended up getting pied,” laughed Stransky. 

When COVID hit, the club knew that there was still need in their community and the world, so they decided to start hosting meetings and fundraisers virtually  

According to Stransky, the club actually grew its membership over the last year, now sitting at a total of about 25 members.

For more on the Interact Club of Collingwood, visit their website here.