Danbury hosts culmination of Rotary RYLA season as finalists put through their leadership paces!
Teenagers from the north and south of the county met “in the middle” of Essex over the weekend of 8-10 June to practice their leadership skills and learn the skills required to be effective servant leaders in the community. Danbury Outdoors Centre hosted the annual RYLA residential and 20 “Rylarians” arrived having qualified from day RYLAs in previous months from a series of day events across Essex. They submitted themselves willingly to two nights and three days of outdoor and class-based activity and discussion designed to put them under pressure to analyse and improve their leadership skills.
They learned about teamwork and problem-solving abilities and to generally challenge themselves to further develop the life and leadership skills so essential to navigating their future! Outdoor activities included shelter building, bridge construction, orienteering and the infamous “Jacob’s ladder” and we had classroom guest visitors by professional leadership lecturers and Rotarians Tony Stringer and Nicholas Wilkinson.
Rotary Assessors teamed up with the qualified centre instructors to evaluate their performances both outdoors and in the classroom and around the camp.
Congratulations to Alan Taylor (aged 15) from Ormiston Rivers Academy in Burnham-on-Crouch for scooping the top award from the weekend becoming the 3rd winner and “RYLA Champion” provided by the school in the past 5 years. A magnificent achievement! Teachers and sponsoring Rotary Clubs visited the camp over the weekend to lend their support to the programme and cheer on their students.
All participants were “winners” though as each had a personal journey to acquire and continually develop these skills which only begins with a RYLA camp. The students had a “peer vote” and nominated Binta Kassama from Grays Convent as the “Best Gain” student from the weekend recognising the value and improvement it had already made to her skill set!
Speaking of learning it promises to be all change next year as we build upon our success by becoming the first Rotary District in the country to introduce the Institute of Leadership and Management(ILM) Course into RYLA to provide a nationally recognised vocational qualification equivalent to a good GCSE pass. Our aim is simply to provide a framework which schools and youth groups recognise as complementary to their own in providing students with the soft skills required in the workplace and beyond backed up with the kudos of ILM and Rotary. The funding for the majority of costs for RYLA come from Rotary Clubs across Essex and if you are a teacher or run a youth organisation and wish to be considered for RYLA 2019 and want to make a difference with our teenagers please contact me for a chat without any obligation until you know more.
Phil Grigg (RYLA Co-Ordinator d1240)
Tel: 01245 329458