Youngsters speak of RYLA

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Three local youngsters who took part in a summer youth leadership camp paid a visit to Oldmeldrum Rotary Club last week to share their experiences of the trip with members.

Gill Marshall, Stephanie Cowie and Grant Routledge were all selected by Oldmeldrum Rotarians to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp (RYLA) in July this year, together with other young people from all across the north of Scotland who had similarly been selected for the course by their local Rotary clubs.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award is a programme for young people, which was adopted officially by Rotary International in 1971.

The Awards are designed to develop the leadership skills of young people with potential. Activities at the RYLA camp are designed to nurture the skills of the young people in question, who will go on to become the future leaders inside their communities.

RYLA can be particularly helpful to those who may need some further encouragement to exploit their leadership skills, and make the most of hidden talents.

Gill, Stephanie and Grant shared their respective experiences of the girls and boys camps with club members, demonstrating some of the many activities they had taken part in with the aid of a Powerpoint slide show.

Rotarians enthusiastically thanked the youngsters for their talk, and for their participation in the awards scheme. The three then posed for photographs with their certificates and President Elect Richard Thomson.

Speaking afterwards, Oldmeldrum Rotarian Hilary Gordon, who led the girls’ camp, said that although the youngsters had enjoyed themselves at the camp, they would also take tangible skills and learning from the experience.

She told the Ellon Times: “While the emphasis at RYLA is always very much on fun, the week is all about giving each of the participants a physical and mental challenge.

“While everyone who comes on the course benefits, for some, the experience can be genuinely life-changing, and allows them to discover, perhaps for the first time, exactly what they are capable of when working together with others. It’s a fantastic way to build self confidence and self belief.

“It’s great to see the personal growth that the participants experience during their time away here.

“All we ask in return is that they give their best at the camp, and come back to tell their local Rotary Clubs what they got out of the week.”