RYLA – Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

This is a guest post from our fantastic Events and Activities Assistant Chloe Jackson who, before she travelled around the world and came back to keep our office in line, was both a FedUni student and a young leader!

ryla-4p-2-rgbBeing a blogger myself, (a very amateur and out of practice blogger I might add), I quickly accepted the proposal to write something of my choosing. In the seconds to follow it dawned on me that I had no idea what I would write about.  I have been many different leaders in life; on the sporting field, in the work place, in my studies; but did students really want to hear about a staff member’s personal experiences and different leadership roles?  How would this impact on their journey in defining what type of leader they would be?

I sat a while before deciding to share my experience of attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), something I would encourage you all to consider. I had deferred from my studies, was working full time and was still none the wiser about the person I wanted to become or the job I wanted when I was a ‘grown up’, when a friend suggested I apply for RYLA.  Having never heard of it before I was very, very sceptical about leaving my bubble and doing something described as “a life-changing experience”. I didn’t really believe that was possible but my friend pushed a little harder so I took her advice and found myself heading into the unknown for a week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur week at RYLA began with what I imagine is the same for each year.  The uncomfortable ‘getting to know you games’ that I envisage each individual dreads in a room full of new people, I know I did.  It was through this however, that I started to see glimpses of people’s true personalities and think maybe it’s not so bad after all!

As the week progresses, you participate in seminars that allow you to develop your skills as a potential leader, encourage you to develop your public speaking skills, set goals and learn how to achieve them, gain motivational tips and (one that always resonates with me) learn about your ability to change other people’s lives with something as small as a smile.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a great experience and I would highly recommend the program, even if you are a little sceptical like I was! 5 years on, I still look back on the techniques I learned, check off goals that I set for myself – some as recently as last week – and keep in contact with the great friends I made.

The program is for young people aged between 18 to 25 and is held annually, usually over the Easter holidays. This year’s event has just finished, but to find out more information, and keep an eye out for next year, visit http://www.ryla9780.org/.

– Chloe