Sophomore shares time at Rotary leadership

Maia Hito

At the end of April, I was chosen to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp for a weekend. While previous members and counselors gushed about the experience it would offer, I was far from convinced, leaving me to attend this camp with low expectations in tow.

From April 29 to May 1, all of the campers, or Rylarians, were taken to the top of the San Bernardino Mountains where they were taught essential

Sophomore Maia Hito wasn't used to the environment of the Rotary leadership camp but quickly adapted to the life changing experiences.
Sophomore Maia Hito wasn’t used to the environment of the Rotary leadership camp but quickly adapted to the life changing experiences.

skills on how to become a leader in their communities. We were introduced to students from all over Los Angeles from grades levels 9-12.

Immediately once we arrived, we were scrambled into groups full of students from different schools. As the day went on, we were put into situations where we were not only encouraged to cooperate with our fellow teammates we just met but physically interact and trust these strangers.

There was a balance of workshops, guest presentations and team activities that were crammed into one weekend. Some memorable events that stuck with me were the RYLA Olympics,  SCAMMPERR workshop and the coolest galaxy event.

The RYLA Olympics, a series of athletic team challenges, forced the randomized teams to quickly bond and adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, SCAMMPERR, a checklist used in developing products and improving existing ones, was a completely different activity that taught young leaders the merits of creative thinking. The workshop taught substitution, combination, adaption and much more.  The coolest galaxy event, probably the most memorable, allowed all Rylarians to share their moments and experiences with the rest of the campers.

What struck me was how often I was meeting new people, how genuine everyone was when asking each other questions and getting to know them. Talking and sharing to other strangers about myself is something that I would have never done in any other setting. However, counselors and previous Rylarians stressed the importance of letting expectations go and instead focus on finding yourself as a person and as a leader.

When previous members and counselors told me that the Rotary Youth Leadership Association would be a life changing experience, I was skeptical but after experiencing this weekend for myself, I can confidently say that it was life changing.