Local Rotary clubs are looking for a young person interested in experiencing a one-week summer camp. Justin Ma (left, striped shirt) attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp last year. Submitted photo

Rotary camp, excellent opportunity for a Greater Trail youth

Waneta Sunrise, Trail Rotary clubs will cover the cost for one local to attend

Local Rotary clubs are looking for a young person interested in developing their leadership and other personal skills this summer during a one-week camp.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp runs from June 29 to July 6 at the Chewellah Peak Learning Center in Washington. The Waneta Sunrise and Trail Rotary Clubs will cover the cost for one local youth aged 18 to 25 to attend the conference, which will include sessions on group dynamics, goal setting, leadership styles, ethics, dealing with conflict and change, and much more.

Last year’s candidate, Crowe 2018 graduate Justin Ma, says he still thinks about the experience while studying mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo.

“I thought we would just learn a few skills that you would expect from any leadership seminar, such as public speaking and conflict resolution,” recalls Ma, whose area of study involves the design of robots, automated systems and artificial intelligence. ”It turned out to be much more than that.

“I came to realize during the week that leadership is not about telling others what to do. It is about how you make others feel and about making the right decisions during times of difficulty. A major part of the week was dedicated to learning about ourselves. We were asked to confront some tough questions about our own lives, such as, what are our core personal values, how do we conduct ourselves according to our core values, and where do we want to go in life.”

The camp is organized by Rotary District 5080, which includes more than 60 clubs from Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and Southeastern B.C.

“When we first arrived at the retreat, the volunteer helpers ran up to our car and welcomed us with open arms. They were really excited to have us and said that we were going to have an amazing experience. The week was full of activities and guest speakers from all over, who were eager to share their perspective about the world with a group of young adults.”

“During this journey, we not only learned how to become better leaders and citizens of our community, we learned how to become better people. Many tears were shed in the process of personal growth.”

Ma was impressed by how well organized the camp was and the dedication of its volunteers.

“Considering that it took many weeks of planning, I was amazed that the people who ran RYLA were all volunteers who valued giving young adults this experience. Some have been coming back to RYLA every year for over a decade. It was inspiring to meet people of such great character.

“I was blown away by how everyone there cared for each other and how it is possible to form deeply meaningful relationships in little time if we just opened up to one another. It was a very safe environment to be vulnerable and learn from each other.”

While the local clubs cover the registration fee, which includes food and accommodation, attendees are responsible for ensuring they have adequate health insurance, a passport and transportation to and from the venue, which is adjacent to the 49 Degrees North ski area outside Chewellah.

It is an opportunity not to be missed, according to Ma.

“The community that forms around RYLA for one week every year is something that is truly unique from the outside world. I often think about the people I met there. If I find myself doing something that I am not proud of or doesn’t reflect who I truly am, I think back to the lessons I learned at RYLA and reflect on how I can be my best self.”

For more information on the RYLA camp and an application form, visit the “youth service” at district5080.org, or contact Raymond Masleck (364-2893; masleck@telus.net)

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