3 things you should know about advancing youth service-learning

By Caitlin Cangialosi, Rotary International Programs and Engagement Specialist

Every year, over 350,000 youth participate in Rotary’s youth programs. Yet, until recently, Rotary didn’t have resources that directly engaged them in service, a fact that surprised me when I first began working for Rotary International’s Programs for Young Leaders team in the spring of 2019.

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RYLA fuels creation of new clubs

Jeffrey Thompson, Elizabeth Piwonka, Madalyn Smith, and Sarah Jenkins were motivated to create a new club from their experience leading RYLA camps in District 5830 in 2019 and 2020.

By Sarah Jenkins, president of the E-Club of Leaders in Service (District 5830), Texas, USA

In 1996, Rotary District 5830 held its first ever RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). On the 25th anniversary, a group of alumni decided it was time to start our own Rotary club. Rather than creating a traditional club, we decided to be innovative and chartered the Rotary E-Club of Leaders in Service in February 2020 with 22 Rotary program alumni, all former participants and staff from RYLA 5830. Continue reading

RYLA in Madagascar unites cultures

Soovan Sharma Dookho, lower left, with other participants in the RYLA sponsored by District 9220 in Madagascar.

By Soovan Sharma Dookhoo, president of the Rotaract Club of Riviere Du Rempart, Mauritius

Attending a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event hosted by District 9220 in Madagascar has been one of my most cherished experiences both from a leadership and a cultural standpoint. I joined members of Rotaract from Mauritius, marching as one, as we eagerly boarded a flight to the longest island in the Indian Ocean. From my first day in Madagascar, I was surrounded by a completely different culture. It was a joy simply going through the streets, and taking in all of the scenery and action.

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RYLA breaks down walls

Mike Norkin leads District 5330’s RYLA as camp director.

By Mike Norkin, RYLA camp director for District 5330 (California, USA)

I attended my first Rotary club meeting as a 24-year-old guest of a member, and sat in complete awe. Students and members who had attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program the weekend before were sharing their stories. I will never forget the feeling I had as I listened to the accounts of how lives were being changed. I knew, at that moment, that I would be a lifelong Rotarian if I was able to participate in this program.

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How RYLA changed my life

Daniel Eduardo Zavala is a District Rotaract Representative. Taking part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event set him down a path of Rotary service.

By Daniel Eduardo Zavala, Rotaract Club of San Joaquin, Venezuela

In 2010, I had my first exposure to Rotary during a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event in San Cristobal, a beautiful city in my country of Venezuela. A secretary at the university I was attending recommended that I would get a lot out of the event scheduled for the following weekend, and being up for adventure, I said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Continue reading