Rotary holds Youth Leadership Awards

Published 2:19 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

Sponsored by Washington (noon) Rotary Club and Washington (evening) Rotary Club, four high school juniors from Washington were awarded Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and joined over 50 other delegates to Rotary International’s’ annual RYLA.

Washington High School and Beaufort County Early College High School students Mary Dixon, Dianna Hyatt, Thomas Edwards and Kaleb Davis were delegates at RYLA, held April 21–23 at the Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia.

“I really like meeting new people” Davis said, a BCECHS junior, after his experience at RYLA.

“I am really very shy around people I don’t know,” another student said. “But this weekend I learned to find my voice.”

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a leadership program coordinated by Rotary clubs around the globe. Each year, thousands of young people participate in this program. Participants are chosen for their leadership potential. Rotary clubs and the Rotary district cover all expenses for the participants. The format commonly takes the form of a seminar, camp or workshop to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.

“Most of the time we worked in small teams and worked on ideas or projects like building benches,” Edwards said. “And made daily presentations of our activities such as ideas for community service projects,” Hyatt interjected, as the two students described their experiences during the hour-long trip home to noon Rotary Club member Carol Burtt.

RYLA 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 communities. Every RYLA program covers the core topics of fundamentals of leadership, ethics of positive leadership, importance of communication skills in effective leadership, problem-solving and conflict management, Rotary’s purpose and service to the community and building self-confidence and self-esteem. RYLA participants often go on to become youth exchange students, Rotaract participants or ambassadorial scholars.

On May 2, 1960, RYLA became an official Rotary project. The framework of RYLA is to train youth ages 14-30 in character, leadership, personal development and good citizenship. These guidelines helped RYLA expand and led to its approval as a Rotary International program by the RI Board at the 1971 convention in Sydney, Australia.

“One night we dressed for dinner in business attire. The boys wore suits and girls dressed in slacks or dresses, and demonstrated etiquette in speech and manners,” Dixon said.

Dixon received an etiquette RYLA award.

Washington (noon) Rotary Club and Washington (evening) Rotary Club are a part of Rotary International and meet weekly for fellowship, a meal and an informative and interesting presentation from guest speakers. Join us!  Washington (noon) Rotary meets Mondays at King Chicken, Carolina Avenue. Washington (evening) Rotary Club meets Thursdays at the Washington Yacht & Country Club. To learn more about Rotary, the oldest service organization in the world, and its 1.2 million members, please visit Find us on Facebook.