Canadian Interactor Kiara Vallier faced a dilemma: She could either go to her high school prom as planned or attend an invitation-only barbecue with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
"I was dumbfounded when the invitation came," says Vallier, who was invited because of her work as a member of the Interact Club of Frontenac Secondary School in Kingston, Ontario. "I was so happy and honored. It was definitely worth missing prom."
The event, held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on 30 June, during the visit of Prince William and Kate Middleton, was hosted by Governor General David Johnston, a former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The barbecue brought together 120 young Canadians to celebrate their dedication to service. It also gave participants the opportunity to tell the royal couple, government officials, and other dignitaries about their organizations and the work they're doing in their communities.
Vallier was joined by other Rotary program participants, including fellow Interactor Eui-Hyun Yang and Rotaractors Arooj Javaid, Michelle O'Doherty, and Andrea Tirone.
"Rotary was well represented," says Tirone, a member of the Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto. "Many of the dignitaries had more to say about our organization than I did. It was such a great testament to Rotary."
O'Doherty, a member of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa, was invited for her volunteer work with LiveWorkPlay, an Ottawa-based nonprofit that supports people with intellectual disabilities. She says she spent several minutes talking to Kate about Rotary.
"She was very engaging and asked a lot of questions," says O'Doherty. "It was a little nerve-racking speaking with her, but it was exciting to explain the good work of Rotary. She seemed very interested in what Rotaract was all about."
Photo: A group of youth meet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 30 June, 2011, in Ottawa.