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Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) – July 2019

What are the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards?

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, or RYLA, is a leadership development programme run by Rotary for young adults. Whether you are a secondary school pupil, university student or young professional, RYLA will help you discover your potential and develop the skills needed to be a leader in your community, career and everyday life. Each RYLA course is sponsored by a local Rotary club or group.

What does RYLA offer?

RYLA programmes run between three to ten days and give participants the opportunity to:

  • Gain exposure to leadership scenarios
  • Explore problem-solving strategies as part of a team
  • Discuss and apply creative approaches to leadership and conflict management
  • Build confidence in yourself and what you can achieve
  • Meet new people and make lasting friendships
  • Learn how to arrange youth activities and community service projects at locally and internationally

Being a leader is not just about being confident enough to speak out and knowing what to say, it is knowing when to listen to others and understand. RYLA teaches this, and other soft skills, to help everyone to be the best they can be. Teamwork exercises bring people together from different walks of life in a safe environment where everyone can get to know each other without fear of exclusion or negativity. As with all Rotary programmes, Rotary members are appropriately DBS checked and risk assessments are carried out for all activities.

Who eligible?

The courses are open to people aged 14 to 30. You don’t need to be a high achiever with outstanding academic grades, just be willing to try something new through activity-based learning and discover new talents along the way, as well as having fun. RYLA programmes involve physical challenges so can be demanding. Some degree of fitness is required. More information can be found at the following website:

The Calvert Trust

Under the RYLA auspices, each year since 2012 the Rotary Club of Banbury has sponsored two students from the Griffiths Centre, Frank Wise School to attend the Calvert Trust, Exmoor.  This programme enables people with disabilities to achieve their potential through experiencing exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities. Students are transported to and from Exmoor by a Rotarian accompanied by a mentor from Frank Wise.  Their course starts at 4pm on Friday and they are collected at 10am on the following Monday.

The immediate challenge for participants is that, although the course is fully accommodated and catered, they have to be individually independent outside the carefully supervised daytime activities.  They are shown around the facilities for 30 mins by their accompanying Rotarian and escort before being left to fend for themselves ahead of their evening briefing by Calvert Trust staff. Griffiths Centre student do not generally have previous experience of living in a single room away from their family or school, nor organising themselves to such an extent. They are issued with mobile phones to record their experiences and, of course, contact their parents and school staff if necessary.

Over the weekend the students take part in adventures such as archery, canoeing, zip wire and abseiling, cycle riding and assisting other less capable participants in organised and social group activities both during the day and evenings.  After attending the course students have shown greater confidence, communication and independence and these skills have a direct influence on their subsequent selection for further educational or practical courses of instruction after leaving Frank Wise.

The Club is extremely proud to have worked with students and teachers from the Griffiths Centre at the Frank Wise School, and the Calvert Trust, Exmoor, and we know that our continued support is also much valued by them.

Nigel Randall, 29 July 2019