Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Story

ROTARY YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARDS (RYLA) Story

(editors note: more recent information about RYLA is available on their website)

“More New Ground is Broken”

RYLA is a leadership training seminar for selected young people aged 18-25 years, conducted by a Rotary District Committee with the active participation of local Rotary Clubs. All awardees attend a “Residential Seminar for One Wee” aimed at encouraging and assisting with development of leadership skills. RYLA seminars involve Awardees, Directors, An Administrator and Counsellors. The emphasis on the program attempts to provide a “training experience” for young people which will assist them to work in their own organization. It is traditional for a selected single Rotary Club to host the RYLA seminar each year.

In 1990, Morialta was approached by Chairman of the District 9520 RYLA Committee, Rob Burford from the Rotary Club of Mount Barker, and invited to host the 1991 RYLA Seminar. After much consideration, the Club accepted the invitation. Gordon Penner and Kevin Roberts were co-opted to become the Morialta’s liaison people for the project.

Gordon and Kevin attended the first organisational and planning meeting at Murray Bridge on Sunday, 23 September 1990. It was not until this first initial meeting that the size of the project and the extent of the commitment became apparent. The two representatives became co –opted members of the District Committee, and the Club was required to provide a full-time Counsellor, husband and wife Administration, all of whom were expected to live in, an errand person, awardee kits, training equipment, office equipment, organisation for the opening of the seminar, a midweek barbecue, an on-site Rotary meeting and lunch on the final day.

The liaison reps attended the meeting each month until Gordon resigned from Morialta and had to be replaced at short notice by Ron Krieg, who picked up the role and gave excellent support to make the project the success it was. As the time for the camp between Friday 19 and 26 April 1991 drew nearer, individuals and committees with Morialta gave very strong support to help to piece the project together. John Myers obtained sponsorship from Tourism South Australia for delegate’s satchels and seminar kits and Trevor Stirling organized the contents. Ron Krieg obtained the office equipment and Kevin Roberts organized signage and training equipment. A large group of Rotarians came to the Campsite at Longwood Church of Christ to set up for the seminar on the Thursday evening.

By Friday morning, the seminar was ready to run. Kevin and Shirley Roberts were the Camp Administrator and “Camp Mum”. The club was unable to provide a Counsellor, and at the last minute a phone call was received from Bob Grant of Brownhill Creek Rotary Club offering his and wife Marie’s services as live-in Counsellors. It was indeed a bonus to have the services and help of “Mr and Mrs RYLA”, who gave valuable assistance and guidance to the Club during the week, and contributed greatly to the running of the seminar. Several Morialta Rotarians filled in as “gofers” each day to help with errands and general duties. Camp Directors in charge of the training program were Andrea Frisby-Smith, Cheryl Lawrie, Andrew Geue, Kerin Martin and Blake McInnes. Janet Knott filled the very onerous position of Camp Secretary and David Kidney was the “Camp Chef Extraordinaire”. It was a magnificent team of young and not so young people who worked together for a week to help provide training and fellowship for the thirty-four Awardees who were sponsored by Rotary Clubs from around the district, and who came from as far away as Wentworth and Broken Hill. Shane and Damon Roberts also joined in and helped with general duties and the concept of a “Camp Family” was well received by all those present. During this week, guest speakers presented information and recreational sessions at the seminar.

The seminar was opened by District Governor Keith Shaw. Norm O’Flaherty represented Morialta in President Rex Mead’s absence. The official photograph was taken and then training sessions began and continued for the whole week. Support was provided by John and Margaret Grivell and the Community Service Committee, who arranged the reception on Friday morning. Alan Eagle, Ron Krieg and many other Rotarians and wives popped up to help during the week. Mid week, Graham Holcroft and Malcolm Driver provided a barbecue supper, assisted by a whole group of Rotarians after the orienteering session at Mylor Oval. It was wet and cold, but the barby and refreshments were really appreciated. Who brought the Port? This was a RYLA Seminar!!!

Robert Brookes, Dennis Heanes and the Fellowship Committee organised the Rotary meeting on Thursday evening at Mount Lofty Sports Club. District Governor Keith Shaw and the District RYLA Committee attended, along with many Morialta Rotarians and their partners. The Awardees were all presented with RYLA badges and became RYLARIANS. They also presented a musical presentation of their experience for the week. It was an enjoyable night of fellowship and on their return to the camp-site, the young people partied long after the Rotarians had gone home.

On Saturday morning, a group of Rotarians again returned to help clean up and clear the camp-site. Ken and Evelyn Robson provided the lunch and the RYLARIANS returned home enriched by the experience and with a new group of friends. Each one was also required to return to their clubs and give a short talk.

The seminar hosted by Morialta was considered to be one of the best for a number of years. The young people were outgoing and talented, the organisation was excellent and Morialta Rotary Club experienced one of its most rewarding projects since its Charter. Morialta Rotarian Kevin Roberts was also invited to join the District RYLA committee the following year.

from page 112 A Ten Year History 1984-1994