Rotary Youth Leadership Academy to be held at WWU

The Rotary Youth Leadership
Academy (RYLA), a unique hands-on
experience in service
leadership for high school students
entering or exiting their sophomore
year, will be held at
William Woods University June 23-26.

“We are pleased to host RYLA each year,” said
Dr. Sherry McCarthy,
WWU vice president
and academic dean and a
Fulton Rotary Club member. “These high school leaders
are the type of students we want to attract when they conduct their college search,
and this gives great exposure to our campus.”
Originally established in Queensland,
Australia, the Rotary Youth Leadership
Academy promotes global community awareness and service through high, fair,
ethical standards and through personal relationships. In 1971, the
academy was officially adopted by
Rotary International.
The Missouri RYLA
Academy is the only Rotary International board-recognized
RYLA in the world. It
is sponsored by Missouri Rotary
districts 6040, 6060 and 6080. Academy tuition is paid through student
sponsorship by local Rotary
The Rotary clubs of Missouri annually
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: New Bloomfield High School students Ashley
and Brooke Kelley, twin daughters of Rotarian Patty Miller.
Students from all over Missouri are
placed into 10 groups
of 10 people. Over four days,
students work with a curriculum based on creating and expanding knowledge of
leadership and service.
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 2012 RYLA participants pose for a group photo on
the steps of Dulany Auditorium.
2012 RYLA participants listen for instructions about the next
All RYLA “campers” participate in the ropes
course as a way of team-building.