Rotary Youth Leadership Academy to be held at WWU

The Rotary Youth Leadership
Academy (RYLA) will be held at
William Woods University June 24-27.

The Rotary Youth Leadership
Academy was originally established in Queensland,
Australia, to promote global community awareness and service through high,
fair, ethical standards and through personal relationships. In 1971, the
academy was officially adopted by
Rotary International. Among Rotary
International Clubs, the Rotary clubs of Missouri have been
recognized as the best of
the best.
Each year, the
Rotary clubs of Missouri sponsor
100 students from the state to
participate in teambuilding
and awareness activities, as well as service projects and self evaluation, to
learn the ideals of service.
Each Rotary club
may sponsor a student or two from their area.
Students are typically recommended by schools’ guidance counselors and
administrators or by members of the community. After the academy, students
attend a local Rotary
meeting to explain what they’ve learned and focus on doing future community
service projects.
This year the Fulton Rotary Club chose to sponsor two
students: Leah England of
Fulton High School and Kelsey Slaughter of South Callaway
High School.
“I am really looking forward to
attending the academy and can’t wait to grow in my leadership
skills,” England said. “I
am very thankful to the Fulton Rotary Club for sponsoring me and seeing my
Slaughter said, “It was such an honor to be sponsored by the
Fulton Rotary Club. I am excited about meeting teenagers from across the state and
sharing thoughts and ideas about leadership with them and learning from each other. I
know it will be an
informative and fun camp.”
students who have
finished their sophomore
year of high school are
eligible to attend RYLA. Each student is
sponsored by their home
Rotary Club, which has worked
with other community-oriented organizations to find candidates with hearts for
Students are pulled from all over Missouri and
placed into 10 groups
of 10 people. Over three days,
students work with a curriculum based on creating and expanding knowledge of
leadership and service.
“The transformation of these kids in the academy
is amazing! When we first team them up
together on Sunday night,
you can tell they’re slightly uncomfortable because each person in their group is from a different walk
of life. By Monday, the groups have become the most tight-knit group of
friends,” Cathy Libey, state Rotarian counselor and
past president of the
Jefferson City Evening
Rotary, said. ­
RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship and personal growth,
and aims to demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth, provide
an effective training experience for selected youth and
potential leaders, encourage leadership of youth by youth and
recognize publicly young people who are
rendering service to their community.
“Our goal is to offer our participants a transformational
experience. Although we want them to have a good time while
at the academy, we are clear about this not being the primary reason
we are together,” said Rachel Russell, director of programming for Missouri RYLA.
She added, “We hope they will enter their adult lives
seeing service as a way of life that naturally
emerges from a commitment of their hearts;
see themselves as connected
citizens of their
communities, nation and world. We hope they take in the message,
‘It is not about me,’ and embrace the motto of Rotary International, ‘Service
above Self.’”

The 2011 RYLA participants pose for a group photo on
the steps of Dulany Auditorium.
2011 RYLA participants share ideas.
Participants in RYLA 2011
discuss their strategy
for a team-building
All 2011 RYLA “campers” participate in the ropes
course as a way of team-building.