RYLA program prepares youth for leadership roles

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Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is Rotary’s leadership training program for young people emphasizing leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and aims to demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth, provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders, encourage leadership of youth by youth and recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.

Rotary districts all over the world annually organise an RYLA training program in their respective districts. RYLA participants can be between the ages of 14 and 30, but most Rotary clubs and districts choose to focus on a narrower age range of 14-18 years of age.

Past President Sermchai Saksalakul presents a token of appreciation to PDG Pratheep Malhotra after his talk on the roots of Rotary.Past President Sermchai Saksalakul presents a token of appreciation to PDG Pratheep Malhotra after his talk on the roots of Rotary.

This year the Rotary Club of Plutaluang played host to the RYLA programme in District 3340. The 4-day training programme was held from October 8-11 at the Royal Thai Navy Scouts Camp on Had Yao in Sattahip district of Chonburi province.

Thatree Leetheeraprasert, governor of District 3340, Rotary International and Past President Sermchai Saksalakul, organising chairman of 21st Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, presided over the opening ceremonies.

Past President Sermchai said that the 21st RYLA project was held at Sattahip under the Rotary ruling that clubs in all four regions of Thailand should participate in holding the project to help develop the skills of youngsters nationwide. Every year the district governors assign a club to organise the camp.

District Governor Thatree Leetheeraprasert presents RYLA certificates of achievement to the participants.District Governor Thatree Leetheeraprasert presents RYLA certificates of achievement to the participants.

Youngsters who took part in the project were from Rotary District 3340 which covers the East and Northeast regions of Thailand.

At the opening ceremonies, District Governor Thatree spoke on morality, ethics, energy consumption and preservation of natural resources.

Past District Governor Premprecha Dibbayawan spoke on Leadership saying, “The leader must be discerning, visible, and sharp. We should not only give commands but also empower others with the freedom to make their own decisions. Being a good leader is not a matter of ‘I the leader and you the workers’. It must be ‘us’ the team. To be a good leader, you must be an outstanding co-worker yourself. Don’t think of it as ‘our side and their side’. Lead by example. Show your team that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, doing exactly the same things that you would expect them to do.”

“But most important of all, to become a great leader, you must learn to be a good listener.”

Past District Governor Pratheep Malhotra gave the children an insight into Rotary and their good work for humanity. He spoke of how and when Rotary was founded and how it has evolved into the most respected service organisation in the world.

The ceremonial bonfire brought the RYLA camp to a close.The ceremonial bonfire brought the RYLA camp to a close.

Experts in various academic fields were invited to give talks on a variety of subjects. Each day the children took turns to be group leaders and held activities such as a walk rally and debates. This gave a chance to practically every boy and girl to act as leader for that day.

Children from many parts of Thailand met for the very first time, but in just a few days they created friendships that will last them a lifetime.

This is what one RYLA student had to say, which is echoed by youth the world over, “Although this was only a few days in my life, what I learned at the camp was a lesson that will always remain with me. In all aspects of my life where I will become a leader, I know that I can lead more successfully because of the benevolence that I extend toward others. Helping a person in need moves them toward success as well as increases the chance that they will help others. If leadership is inspiring positive action by one’s own actions, then kindness is an essential aspect of leadership.”

Kids from many parts of the world fall in at the start of a once in a lifetime adventure.Kids from many parts of the world fall in at the start of a once in a lifetime adventure.

The kids had an exciting time getting close to the airplanes at Utapao airport.The kids had an exciting time getting close to the airplanes at Utapao airport.

East meets West at RYLA where humanity meets to build world understanding and peace.East meets West at RYLA where humanity meets to build world understanding and peace.