In early February, approximately 100 students from high schools in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and Grand Bahama Island gathered at Florida National High Adventure Sea Base camp on Islamorada in the Florida Keys for seminars and activities on ethics, problem-solving, leadership, project planning, school violence and bullying issues, communication and teamwork. The weather was perfect for plenty of fun, too, including a ground-level ropes course and a boat trip. Rotarian volunteers chaperoned and acted as facilitators over the jam-packed, 3-day weekend.

“These students, recommended by their school teachers and counselors, are the people who will be running our world in the near future,” said Ellen Blasi, a past District 6990 Governor and RYLA 2019 Chairperson. “Our goal is to provide training and encouragement to help them build confidence, self-esteem and effective leadership skills. Most of them are already holding leadership positions in their schools and communities, and we look to broaden their horizons so that they can continue to grow in those roles.”

The students made new friends and learned more about their own interests and capabilities while figuring out how to protect a raw egg on a 20-foot drop, writing and performing skits, and planning a community service project in groups divided by color. Friendly competition fueled the fun as the teens participated in largely self-directed exercises.

Applications for RYLA 2020 will be taken in the fall of 2019 through local Rotary clubs. For a brief overview of the experience, search YouTube for “District 6990 – The RYLA Experience” and visit https://ryla.rotary6990youth.org for pictures, videos and more information.
Thanks,
Ellen Blasi