5 of this year’s RYLA graduates came to our meeting along with their parents, each telling us about their experience.

Two of the graduates had baseball finals and one joined us via Zoom.

Estrella Merced told us that she was pretty scared going in but quickly got out of her comfort zone

and explored her boundaries. She developed close bonds with many other students she met there.

She thanked Rotary for giving her an amazing experience.

Alejandra Quintero said she loved meeting so many new people and learning new things. She enjoyed

public speaking because it is something she was not comfortable doing prior to going to RYLA. RYLA

really challenged me in a good way, she said.

Ashley Merced thanked us for the honor to speak to us. She said she went into RYLA with few expectations.

RYLA forced her to be open minded and she learned a lot about herself. She realized

that anything is possible if you try. She learned new ways to be a leader and is looking forward to

inspiring others.

Jacob Althen told us about all the amazing people he met and how he felt welcomed by everyone. It

gave him must more confidence and he is sure, going forward, he will be much more open to meeting

new people and experiencing new things.

Emma Wharton told us how, on just the 2nd day, her color group was asked to gather together

for a group picture. She said it was a pretty awkward photo because nobody knew each other so

they kept their distance from each other. On the last day, they again were asked to pose as a

group. Everyone was smiling and hugging and looked like they had known each other for years!

She said RYLA taught her to be herself and to put herself out there.

Sabas Melgar told us, via audio, that it was hard for him to explain the experience only that it was amazing. People

had such energy! The class on diversity was his favorite.