Attending a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program earlier this year has catapulted former Cire Community School student Taylah Minca onto a huge and positive learning curve.
Whilst still a student at the school, sponsored Tayla to attend the challenging week-long camp which provides a unique opportunity for leadership skills development while having fun and connecting with others.
Since attending RYLA, 18-year-old Tayla has commenced a beauty therapy course at Victoria University. She has captured her Rotary experience in the following article.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to win a scholarship provided by Wandin Rotary to go to RYLA.
While I was waiting for the bus to go to RYLA, I made friends with a girl who was also going to the camp. When we arrived at RYLA it was super intimidating. We walked through a human tunnel of arms created by the leaders and they were all super energetic. I really didn’t know what to expect at this stage.
At the start, there was lots of team building activities which seemed really silly at first. I won a paper scissors-rock-competition, which was one of the best parts of the experience and made me feel really welcome. While these games seemed silly at the start, by the end of the camp, they felt normal as there was no judgement from anyone. We felt so free, and you could express yourself without embarrassment.
I found the first day a bit hard and felt homesick. The leaders were very supportive and encouraged me to keep going. Alan (the camp leader) was particularly supportive and made a massive impact with his service style of leadership. I’ve never felt so much support before.
By the second day, I realised that I needed to take on board as much as I could from the experience. It was great to be off my phone, and always be present with the people around me.
Over the week, my team all became super close and learnt so much about each other and ourselves. I hadn’t realised I was an introvert; I am a lot more self-aware now.
At one point, I had to introduce someone to the whole group after only meeting him for five minutes. It was nerve-wracking, but I did ok. He had a lot of cool, interesting things to say and really engaged the audience.
On our final night, we had a lot of fun, and I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. I learned a lot about mindfulness, gratitude and kindness, which has already had a big impact on how I live my life. I hope to take the lessons that I learned on this camp into the next part of my life. I cried, I laughed, and I learned so much about myself.
I would like to give a huge thanks to Wandin Rotary and Cire Community School for giving me the opportunity to have this experience.