Rotary Youth Leadership Academy to be held at WWU
|6/20/2012||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
The Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) will be held at William Woods University June 24-27.
The Rotary Youth Leadership Academy was originally established in Queensland, Australia, to promote global community awareness and service through high, fair, ethical standards and through personal relationships. In 1971, the academy was officially adopted by Rotary International. Among Rotary International Clubs, the Rotary clubs of Missouri have been recognized as the best of the best.
Each year, the Rotary clubs of Missouri sponsor 100 students from the state to participate in teambuilding and awareness activities, as well as service projects and self evaluation, to learn the ideals of service.
Each Rotary club may sponsor a student or two from their area. Students are typically recommended by schools’ guidance counselors and administrators or by members of the community. After the academy, students attend a local Rotary meeting to explain what they’ve learned and focus on doing future community service projects.
This year the Fulton Rotary Club chose to sponsor two students: Leah England of Fulton High School and Kelsey Slaughter of South Callaway High School.
“I am really looking forward to attending the academy and can’t wait to grow in my leadership skills,” England said. “I am very thankful to the Fulton Rotary Club for sponsoring me and seeing my potential.”
Slaughter said, “It was such an honor to be sponsored by the Fulton Rotary Club. I am excited about meeting teenagers from across the state and sharing thoughts and ideas about leadership with them and learning from each other. I know it will be an informative and fun camp.”
Missouri students who have finished their sophomore year of high school are eligible to attend RYLA. Each student is sponsored by their home Rotary Club, which has worked with other community-oriented organizations to find candidates with hearts for service.
Students are pulled from all over Missouri and placed into 10 groups of 10 people. Over three days, students work with a curriculum based on creating and expanding knowledge of leadership and service.
“The transformation of these kids in the academy is amazing! When we first team them up together on Sunday night, you can tell they’re slightly uncomfortable because each person in their group is from a different walk of life. By Monday, the groups have become the most tight-knit group of friends,” Cathy Libey, state Rotarian counselor and past president of the Jefferson City Evening Rotary, said.
RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship and personal growth, and aims to demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth, provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders, encourage leadership of youth by youth and recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their community.
“Our goal is to offer our participants a transformational experience. Although we want them to have a good time while at the academy, we are clear about this not being the primary reason we are together,” said Rachel Russell, director of programming for Missouri RYLA.
She added, “We hope they will enter their adult lives seeing service as a way of life that naturally emerges from a commitment of their hearts; see themselves as connected citizens of their communities, nation and world. We hope they take in the message, ‘It is not about me,’ and embrace the motto of Rotary International, ‘Service above Self.’”
The 2011 RYLA participants pose for a group photo on the steps of Dulany Auditorium.
2011 RYLA participants share ideas.
Participants in RYLA 2011 discuss their strategy for a team-building exercise.
All 2011 RYLA “campers” participate in the ropes course as a way of team-building.