It was a pleasure to hear from our three 2021 RYLArians, sponsored by Rotary Remuera; Sonja Rose, Brooke Merrick and Luke O'Toole. Each shared a main takeaway and a snippet insight to their experiences from the annual week-long leadership camp
“RYLA took us on a journey.” Sonja emphasised three main components from the camp. The great speakers, the physical and mental challenges, as well as the new people she met. Based on the functional leadership model theory where, “leadership does not rest with one person but rests on a set of behaviours by the group that gets things done;” Sonja’s reflection on the importance of what a good team member looks like, as well as what a good leader looks like, was great.
Prior to camp Brooke hadn’t thought too much about what leadership truly meant to her. RYLA changed that. Brooke’s recognition of the different types of leaders there could be was clearly a strong take away from her experience. Leadership comes in different shapes and forms and this became more evident to our RYLArians throughout the various workshops and challenges they faced.
The speaker that stood out to Luke the most was Alison Mooney. Luke learnt about different personality traits and how individuals often have a primary personality driver (the precise, the powerful, the peaceful or the playful). This was important in understanding how individuals functioned in different ways, giving Luke more confidence when leading a group; a new opportunity for him.
Each thanked Rotary Remuera for allowing them to participate in what was one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives. While our 2021 RYLArians will continue to reflect and learn from their experiences, it was clear they had already learnt a lot about themselves as individuals and importantly about the virtues of being a good leader.
The club was also addressed by Ariana, Grace, Lukey (past RYLArians and team leaders at RYLA) and Scott (2021 RYLArian). The four each shared the impact RYLA had and what they have carried on to achieve in areas of leadership since.
Ariana not only helps out with RYLA but also RYPEN (Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment). It was exciting to hear that a second RYPEN is being arranged in the coming year, creating even more opportunity for young people to be empowered. RYPEN (like RYLA) emphasises working collectively, takes a holistic view on leadership and teaches both life and adult skills.
Grace emphasised how the RYLA and RYPEN programmes work and that there are not many opportunities like these. She hopes to pass the baton on and motivate youth to have a positive effect on their communities.
The presentation was closed out by a video compilation of RYLA 2021. In closing, Peter Ross (Chairman of RYLA District Committee) said he did not need to say much more, as we could all see the leaders that our 7 visiting RYLArians were growing to become.