Recently Yuma Rotarians had the privilege of attending the 2009 RYLA Leadership Camp at Chapel Rock in Prescott, Arizona.

This is a district wide event with 100 teenagers age 14-17 from all over our district chosen to participate in this four day event. Yuma was fortunate enough to send about 21 kids with Fort Yuma sponsoring ten of them. This is a life-changing event for some of these kids. They learn about Rotary, Interact, Rotaract, Youth Exchange and even learn what the Four Way Test is all about and how to incorporate it into their everyday lives. They learn about leadership, communication, tolerance and acceptance of others, team work and so many other necessary skills to make it in our world today. This is done through hands on exercises and motivational speakers at each meal. The kids are shy at first but by the end of the weekend, they are hugging, laughing and exchanging email addresses and phone numbers.

There are many adults that help to make this weekend possible and rumor has it that it takes over 20,000 man hours to pull it off. Sharon Lake and Cassie Moyers from Sierra Vista were Chairs of this event and did a fabulous job. Keith Boyd was RYLA Chair for the Yuma area and helped coordinate all the Yuma clubs. Keith was also the Program Director at RYLA again this year and did a great job! The Counselors from our club were Dave Carvell and Robert Rolle. From the Yuma club Linda Jordan, Jeanine Rhea and President, Mark Watson were outstanding in their Counselor positions. The Counselors have the hardest jobs at RYLA. They are busy with these kids from 6:00 AM to midnight or whenever they can finally settle them down! Hats off to them! Thank you also to Cullum Smith for providing transportation there and back and to Everett Lacy for arranging the vans.

If you have never attended RYLA, please consider participating next year. You will not regret it and you will probably be hooked. If you have a teen or know one in the right age group, please consider sending them to this absolutely awesome event next year! We will be inviting all the delegates including all the youth exchange students in the district to our club on April 2nd to share their experience with us and see pictures of the weekend.

Again, thank you to everyone for all the hard work and many hours of your time that you dedicated to changing lives!