Six Liberty High School students just returned from RYLA, a Rotary Youth Leadership Association weekend camp held each year.

Sandy Meyers, LHS Counselor, introduced the students who attended RYLA the weekend of Jan. 9-11 at Pineywoods Encampment in Woodlake, Texas. Participants were Interact President Camilla Brady, Kaitlyn Slack, Trevor Pierce, Reid Williams, Clark Mangum and Charlotte Stanley.

Liberty Rotarian and Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader, who chairs the RYLA committee for the Rotary Club of Liberty, said, “We don’t teach them to be leaders. They are already leaders. We try to inspire them with tools they can use to help lead in our community.”

Meyers said, “I have the good fortune of being a counselor at Liberty High School. … It is such an honor to see the bright things that the future holds in the students at Liberty High School. The best and brightest juniors are picked each year to attend RYLA by the character and leadership they show in the classroom.”

Hudson Standish participated last year as a junior and was invited back this year to be a camp counselor. Meyers added, “That is an honor for our school and an honor for Hudson.”

Standish said, “It was such a blessing to go back as a counselor. Going back this year with 23 other counselors helped me expand as a leader from that opportunity. It wasn’t always easy. I think I got four hours of sleep the entire weekend I was there. You felt like you may give up, but you knew you were there for a purpose and could not let anyone down. This was maybe the best group of juniors that went through RYLA. Everybody had constant enthusiasm. They were excited all the time.”

Camilla Brady thanked the Rotary Club saying, “I think your money was well spent in sending us there. … I was surrounded by so many valedictorians. We got into groups. RYLA did a great job of making sure we were in different groups of people every time we met. … Everybody at RYLA was kind. It was part of the atmosphere that we are not competing against each other. I got really inspired by all the things other Interact groups are doing. Interact stands for international action … I am looking forward to getting more into international regional work. Thank you for sending me there.”

Kaitlyn Slack said, “RYLA was so much fun. I met so many new people. We went through the ropes course in the woods on a Saturday and it was freezing. We went through six situation activities, working together with complete strangers, to get through obstacles and solve problems. This was one of the best experiences of my life. RYLA was like a safe zone.” One of the activities was a trust fall into the arms of the fellow team members, a drop of about five feet.

Trevor Pierce said RYLA had really good food. He loved the fact that there was unlimited ice cream, 24 hours a day. He said, “We learned to work together more. The counselors were really crazy, doing chants and singing songs. It was really fun. I learned that there are leaders all around. You don’t have to be in front. I learned the four-way test and I found myself using that a lot to make decisions.

Reid Williams said, “I knew I was a leader, but I didn’t know what it took to be a great leader.  I learned more about teamwork and how to be a positive leader. What I learned, I will use in the community and later in life. Thank you.”

Clark Mangum said, “I had the time of my life and I will never forget it. I usually lead by example. Now RYLA helped me develop as a vocal leader. I am glad that you gave me the opportunity to try to be a better person. Thank you.”

Charlotte Stanley said, “Going to RYLA opened my eyes to a new world. Everybody there was unique. Nobody was the same. One thing that stuck with me is that some leaders can be vocal. Some are not. Some leaders sit in the back. There are amazing leaders out there. I wouldn’t have seen myself as a leader. Going to RYLA showed me that I could be one. Thank you.”

The Rotary Four Way Test:

“Of the things we think, say, or do,

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER friendships?

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

All good questions.Image