Local youth attend RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

“We’re this close” to eradicating polio from the world say seven of sixteen Washington County students recently returned from their RYLA weekend in Heber City. Front row (kneeling) from left: Shannon Sizemore and Katarina Aikens, students at Snow Canyon High School. Middle row: Stacy Britt, Youth Committee Chair of St. George Rotary Club; Kaitlin Price and Kayla Greer, both students at Dixie High School, Christian Case from Snow Canyon High School, Brooke Meadows from Dixie Middle School and RYLA facilitator Mindy Case. Back row: Hayden Heinz from Desert Hills High School and Richard Isom, RYLA parent and SGR club secretary. St. George, Utah, circa September 2014 | Photo courtesy of Linda Sappington, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Sixteen young men and women from four high schools and one middle school, were among 120 students from throughout Utah who attended the mid-September Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program in Heber City.

Sponsored by St. George Rotary, Dixie Sunrise Rotary, Red Rock Rotary and Hurricane Valley Rotary clubs, young attendees, ages 14-18, selected through a rigorous application process for their leadership ability, said the experience was “excitingly cross-cultural, awesome, life-changing and inspiring.”

Among the fall leaves on display on the Wasatch Front, students had the opportunity to “Aspire to Something Higher” through leadership activities including public speaking and learning about other cultures through interaction with 11 Rotary exchange students from around the world. According to one young attendee, “we also learned everyone can be a leader … and everyone can be a follower.” Another said he had learned to be a “better leader and a better person” through the program.

Mindy Case (pictured) of St. George, who attended as a facilitator with her two children, said, “it was definitely not a vacation. We were up at 7 a.m. and worked and played hard until 10 p.m.”

Every RYLA program, which is under the direction of the each Rotary district, covers the core topics of fundamentals and ethics of positive leadership, communication skills, problem-solving and conflict management, Rotary’s purpose and service in the world community, building self-confidence and self-esteem and the elements of community and global citizenship.

For more information about RYLA, youth exchange or to inquire about membership in any of four Rotary clubs in Washington County, telephone 435-669-8020.

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