Rotary September 22, 2014

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Student Presentations
      The three students – Abby Edwards, Ava Hagwood and Dale Morgan – who attended Camp RYLA over the summer gave their individual impressions of RYLA and how they felt it helped them grow as leaders and as individuals. Abby Edwards began by telling the club she wasn’t sure she was going to Camp Ryla.  She found out that her dog had cancer.  She tore her ACL tendon and had to have surgery.  As a result of the ACL injury, she was going to miss her senior year of tennis. She did decide to go and while her participation was limited by her injury, she said “it was amazing!”
      One of the important parts of the camp is the Ropes Course.  Abby couldn’t manage the course, but felt she could at least do the ‘zip line.’  Unfortunately, to do that she would have to climb up to a platform, walk a tight rope to get to the line.  But teamwork is an important part of the experience and Abby’s team wanted her to go.   With help from those in charge, they were able to hoist her up to the tree and she was indeed able to zip down.      Another important project for Abby was a project to put together bicycles for children from the Auburn area.  It was fun putting them together, she told us, but even better was to meet the children and see their expressions when they gave them the bikes.
      She also spoke about the Emergenetics Profile that each of the students did.   The Emergenetics web site calls it a “merging of brain and behavior”, and describes it as a way of helping groups or teams work together.  Using situational questions the profiles developed at RYLA helped the students find out which of four quadrants they fell into – analytical, structural, conceptual and social.  Abby was not surprised to find out she fell almost equally into all four quadrants. 
      Ava Hagwood described the experience as “incredible” and said she felt she really grew as a person and found out how important it is to interact with and support one another.  One of the great experiences of the camp for her was relating to her counselor Regal.  She described him as caring and compassionate and even though he was ‘older’, he did everything the students did.  On the Ropes Course, she and a friend had a goal to climb at least 2/3 of the way to the platform.  She didn’t quite make it to the platform, but her team members who Ava described as “terrified” helped her make it.  She also highlighted the lasting relationships that were formed at RYLA.  The longest phone call she’s had with any of them is three hours.  Ava has been selected to be a counselor in next year’s Eight Grade Leadership Program.
      Dale Morgan was the only boy from Quincy.  He too described it as an “Incredible experience”.  Before going, Dale said that he knew it was a ‘leadership’ camp and that he had a very limited idea of what it would be like.  He soon discovered it was a self-driven experience – it was up to the individual to determine what kind of experience it would be.  He quickly decided, “I am going to have a terrific time.”  Out of 100 students attending, he knew 70% by name and had made many long-lasting relationships before it was over.  The ropes course he agreed was an excellent experience.  He learned how, as a leader, to facilitate different types of people.  He discovered that learning to lead is about discovering who you are and recognizing it is about continually refining the process.  The three values Dale came away with were
  • Love People – not being biased and not prejudging people. “I need to know who they are and how I can help them.”
  • Trust – “I want others to know they can trust me.”
  • Sacrifice – being willing to give what you need to give.
Dale expressed his gratitude to the Club for sending them to Camp RYLA but also said that because of how important this experience is to young people, the Club needs to work to raise funds to send more students, as many as you can.
Note:  Dwight Pierson announced that the Board has already decided to send four students next year.