With such a big emphasis on youth programs, it was particularly rewarding for Estherville Rotarians Thursday when the program was two Estherville Lincoln Central students - Heather Natterstad and Anthony Segura - who attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) this past July at Wartburg College in Waverly.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is Rotary's leadership training program for young people. RYLA participants can be ages 14-30, but most clubs and districts choose to focus on a narrower age range, such as 14-18 or 19-30.
RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship and personal growth and aims to:
n Demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for youth.
n Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders.
n Encourage leadership of youth by youth.
n Recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.
Natterstad and Segura told how rewarding their experience really was, meeting other youth with similar interests, hearing motivational speakers and learning about Rotary youth exchange programs that help young people truly experience the mission of Rotary International.
Natterstad highly recommended the camp for any youth who want to attend. "I had an awesome time," she said.
This is the sort of investment that really pays off - when youth have the pathways of success laid out for them so they know where to tread.
Rotary, and similar service organizations, should all be commended for their mission to foster youth leadership.
It's absolutely critical that we train tomorrow's leaders. And it's something we have to do today.