“I had an amazing time at RYLA, and I’m hoping to pay it forward to the next generation of young leaders by returning next year as a camp facilitator.”
 
 
Annabelle Newby describes in her own words some of her experiences at the youth leadership development opportunity supported by Stittsville Rotary at Eagle Lake in 2022: (Photo of all students at RYLA 2022)
“I went into the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) with the goal of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and getting back into the world after 2 years of lockdowns and quarantines. I left Eagle Lake with renewed confidence, newfound skills and many new friendships!
The first day of RYLA was a whirlwind of introductions and getting set up. Some of the highlights included a presentation on conflict management and the opportunity to do archery, orienteering, rope climbing and swimming! In the evening we had a campfire and a guest performance by Trevor Strong of the Arrogant Worms, a Canadian musician and singer. That night I truly started to feel close to my fellow campers. The friends I made while singing songs around the campfire, running around the woods and hanging out in my cabin are people that I am still in touch with today.
The next morning, the Rotary facilitators hosted workshops on their areas of expertise. I learned about time management and teamwork. Hearing experienced adults give tried and tested advice about leadership was especially helpful, and I still refer to my notes every now and then. Later in the day, guest speaker David Graff gave a presentation on public speaking. What Mr. Graff taught us is that if trying something new in front of others scares you, whether it’s public speaking or something else, the best strategy is to just get up and do it. He encouraged every participant to give a minute-long presentation. The positivity that my fellow RYLArians demonstrated towards me during my presentation drove home the point that we were all there to learn, try new things, and support each other through it all. Later that night, we had marshmallows around the campfire and played board games in the mess hall.
All in all, I learned so much about myself and gained so much knowledge about leadership over the course of the weekend. I’m happy to have met so many interesting people, some of whom became my friends, others who became mentors. I had an amazing time at RYLA, and I’m hoping to pay it forward to the next generation of young leaders by returning next year as a camp facilitator. I already can’t wait for RYLA 2023! For information about Stittsville Rotary and RYLA, checkout www.stittsvillerotary.com