High school students packaging food supplies at New Jersey City University on June 28 for delivery to a food bank in Kearny.

Speaking to high school students who had just completed a four-day RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) program, District Governor Stephen V. Jarahian noted that earlier in the week - on Sunday, June 25 - he had predicted that they would find the program “awesome”. Did they find it “awesome”, he asked, to which they responded with an enthusiastic affirmation.
In closing ceremonies on June 28, Governor Steve urged his listeners to not be afraid to fail. While one should not embrace failure, he said, one should learn from his or her mistakes, thereby becoming stronger in spite of a given failure.
Sharon Weiss, who has coordinated and worked with RYLA programs over the years, told the students that the four-day program they had just completed resulted from planning that encompassed approximately 362 days out of the year. “They let us off three days a year” she told them.
In her remarks, Amani Mohsen, Rotary District 7490’s RYLA Coordinator told the parents and families who had arrived to bring their children home, that they had packaged more than 4,000 meals that afternoon for delivery to a food bank in Kearny. Indeed, she said, they had completed that project shortly before the evening’s closing ceremony.
The approximately 100 students participating in the program had been organized into nine groups of approximately 11 people, with representatives of all of the groups offering insights into their experiences. The thrust of their remarks was that rather than working by themselves in order to accomplish a given objective, the nine groups needed to work together.
In one scenario more than one student said, blindfolded students needed to communicate with team members who were not blindfolded in order to “rescue” a counselor who was being held “hostage”. In another, the team members needed to step on designated squares on the floor, with each team trying to be first. The result, they said was failure.
The teams then worked together as one large team, thus, allowing them to complete that challenge. In summing up their experiences, one student quoted the adage that the “best laid plans of mice and men” often go awry, thus requiring them to regroup and try again.