By Rae Shirer, PDG
You’ve seen all of the clickbait on the internet: “10 Things to Do to Change Your Life Forever”, “10 Positive Habits That Could Change Your Life”, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”, and thousands more links and websites hawking motivational speakers, books, diet milkshakes and exercise equipment.
But none of it sounds fun! So let me share with you a Rotary secret that will not only change you but 200 other people too–in only 3 days!
The secret word is “RYLA”. Wut? “RYLA”, stands for “Rotary Youth Leadership Awards“, a program that develops self-confidence, teamwork skills and leadership traits in high school students.
Sounds boring? Stick with me here. In Rotary District 5320, the RYLA program is a two-and-a-half day adventure in the San Bernardino mountains. Each spring, Rotary clubs sponsor 180 high school juniors from throughout the District to attend the camp for free. (That’s the “awards” part.) On Friday afternoon they get to know each other in “families with icebreaker games, group art projects and by creating their own “air guitar” musical number to perform for the rest of the campers.
Some may stay up late in the RYLA study hall, but they might regret that decision on Saturday, when everyone heads out for a full day on the “Boojum” high ropes challenge course. They, and their adult “parents”, swing from trees, climb rock walls, and solve physical puzzles along the challenge course. By 4 p.m., parents are tuckered out but campers are still raring to go…
…to the Saturday night dance and bonfire (complete with ‘smores). No twerkin’ but plenty of fun.
By departure on Sunday, kids who had never met before Friday are saying emotional goodbyes, trading phone numbers and social media, and making summer reunion plans. In only 3 days, their lives have been changed for the better.
Change your own life in only 3 days–serve as a RYLA volunteer. It won’t even cost you $29.95 plus shipping and handling.