From the diary of a RYLS Participant

RYLS is about Perspective, Friendship, Leadership and Citizenship

It’s a big world out there!  And it takes special people with special talent to thrive, grow and contribute to making it a better world.  I always knew there were challenges, and sometimes I felt overwhelmed.  I mean, I’m doing OK, my friends are great, and I’m learning a lot in school and at work.  But until I got to RYLS, I never knew how much I could learn in just one week.  Yes, it was a hectic week, long hours, and a lot of activity – but I really was involved, and the time flew!

The hardest part of the whole experience is to sum it up in just a few words.  I mean, we dealt with ideas, impossible problems, learned the perspective of our classmates and our faculty members, produced a newspaper, put on entertainment for visiting Rotarians, did volunteer work – and had fun every step of the way.

The bottom line though is that I feel more confident, connected and committed to my future and my role in building a better world.  Do you?

Thanks, Rotary

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end, may also be only the beginning”. 
- Ivy Baker Priest

I gained a lot of perspective when I learned more about myself and how to apply that learning to improving my communications and relationships with others. And that perspective was sure useful when we began to work in teams to solve problems, innovate, and share our experiences.

Perhaps the hardest part was to learn to appreciate the differences between individuals, and apply that understanding to improve and strengthen the bonds of cooperation and achievement.  One of the greatest things we did was to improve our observational skills, and to give and get feedback that helps make us better, stronger and more confident.



“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely”. 
- Karen Kaiser Clark

Leadership – we hear a lot about it – but our generation looks at the world and wonders just what the ‘leaders’ are thinking!  But when you are given a task to perform or a problem to solve, working to achieve results through the leadership and cooperation of your peers – it’s never so easy.


We got a lot of practice – and some frustration – from the activities and exercises that were part of the program. We learned by doing – and applying the learning from our classroom work to real problems and challenges in the field.  As a result, we are all much better prepared to take a leadership role - or to follow the lead – as the situation demands.


“We know not where our dreams will take us, but we can probably see quite clearly where we'll go without them”. 
- Marilyn Grey

Who would have thought that a bus full of strangers from all over the District would become lasting friends.  But it happened.  The shared experiences, the fun evenings, and the accomplishments of all led to a real appreciation of just how great the RYLA participants are.  I mean, we were each pretty good before we started, but we were all great when it ended.

We worked in teams to learn and to lead, and the feeling of accomplishment that came from involvement and the energy that came from achieving the impossible got stronger and stronger from the time we arrived until we boarded the bus to go.  But it didn’t end there.  We will go back with a commitment to stay connected – by phone, letter, and facebook.  Many of us will re-connect in Rotaract, and eventually in Rotary – and continue to make a difference in our work and our world.  What greater bond of friendship can be found than in “Service Above Self”

Group Outside

“In matters of style, swim with the current; 
In matters of principle, stand like a rock”. 
- Thomas Jefferson

After working with my fellow learners, I feel I became a citizen of the world.  All walks of life and every geographic area of the world are represented in RYLA – and these people turned out to be my neighbors.  We learned the Four Way Test, and used it as a reality check in measuring our plans and actions for the future.


Working together – in the classroom, in the field, and in volunteer work really expanded my understanding of other cultures and perspectives.  And it helped me to realize that diversity really does lead to strength, understanding and a deeper appreciation that differences mean new perspectives for cooperation and creativity.  I also came to appreciate that alone you can do very little that is really worthwhile – but in committed teams you can help Move Mountains.


“Not everything that is faced can be changed. 
But nothing can be changed until it is faced”. 
- James Baldwin