After a pandemic related enforced break during 2020 and 2021, we welcomed RYLA back this summer to Rotary in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The course itself followed the familiar experiential learning format and the candidates undertook a series of indoor and outdoor problem solving tasks in teams of eight or nine with a mentor – either a member of Rotary or RYLArians from past years. All the activities were geared towards leadership including communication, planning, allocating roles and responsibilities based on relevant experience, inclusion of all team members, delegation, problem solving, time management, etc. The activities were led by our professional instructors “Waveriders” who also facilitated what is the most powerful aspect of RYLA, the in-depth de-brief sessions. The “Kolb Learning Cycle” underpinned all the activities and by reviewing each task and taking the learning points into the next task, the participants grew in confidence and their ability to lead a team.
We always ask the candidates for their feedback at the end of their course so that we may continuously improve. All 68 said that they enjoyed the course (which was a relief!) and that they all had a better understanding of leading people, working with others and communicating effectively. The final question on the form is “How would you encourage another young person to apply for RYLA?” Their answers were many and varied but here is a small selection “The single best and most enjoyable way to better yourself”, “It’s a hard yet once in a lifetime opportunity, where you make connections like no others”, “You change for the better”, “It will be of interest to future employers and universities”, “Go for it! It’s the best thing you can ever do.”
We challenge the 16-17 year olds participants to raise a minimum of £475 each (the cost of a place on the course) for a cause close to their own hearts whether that is through raising money or giving their time. We also suggested that they could offer their help to their sponsoring Rotary Club for any events and keep that connection with Rotary.
Rotarian Tony Jordan also joined us on these evenings to introduce Rotaract and Course Two heard from Penelope Milner, the President of Leeds Rotaract who sent an inspirational video from Mexico where she was volunteering.
We will be keeping all the RYLA participants up to date with Rotaract going forward and the opportunities for them to get involved. Many also expressed an interest in the worldwide Youth Exchange.
We thank the huge range of members and non-members who ensured all attendees benefitted from the opportunity.
A resource for Rotary Yorkshire Lincolnshire clubs: a new (spring 2023) RYLA D1040 promotional video to support recruitment and help young people with their Rotary journey to Rotaract.