Rotary Club member attends leadership retreat

Emily Ward

One Friday morning, I took a bus filled with other students to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) which is a leadership program ran by the Rotary Club. A family friend, Norman Kay, who is a Rotary Club member, selected me to attend the Leadership Awards because he sees potential in me as a leader.

The program was at a mountain retreat  in Blue Jay, California, just outside of Lake Arrowhead. From April 10 to April 12, teenagers from all around Los Angeles came and participated in this event.

Going there, I really had no idea what to expect and I didn’t understand the whole concept of it. I also didn’t think I was going to see anyone I knew until I saw sophomore John Ford, who also attends the school.

“I’ve learned more about personality types and I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to shut up and let others talk,” Ford said, who is also an Interact Club member. Interact Club is the student run community service arm of the Rotary.

The events that took place at RYLA were all day events that went on for three days. These events included workshops, presentations, and activities. These events also covered many topics, including: leadership fundamentals and ethics, communication skills, problem solving and conflict management, and community and global citizenship.

RYLA was meant to be an experience to help us open our minds and to learn how to work and interact with others. It was a long three days, but they did their job.

Even though I went into this leadership program not knowing anyone or what it was about, I left knowing many new people from all around  Los Angeles County and knowing how to be a better leader. I know I could take the skills I have learned and use them for my own wellbeing as well as share them with the people around me as I continue in high school and in life.