PLAS students share camp experience with Rotarians

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Garrett was quick to say that Allison Weatherbee was her favorite and most inspiring speaker at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.


Garrett was also quick to say that all of the RYLA speakers where outstanding but, “Allison was born without arms or legs but she has accomplished so much and is such a great leader,” Garrett said. “She inspired all of us. If she can do the things that she does, then we can do anything.”

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RYLA is an international program that was created by Rotary International to encourage strong leadership in youth.

The young people are chosen for their leadership potential and attend an all-expenses paid camp to develop and enhance leadership skills.

Each year, the Brundidge Rotary Club sponsors one or more high school junior or seniors to the RYLA camp at Camp ASCCA at Jackson’s Gap.

Garrett and Sarah Hayden Hollis, students at Pike Liberal Arts School, attended RYLA in March.

Garrett said that, for both, it was an incredible experience.

“Camp ASCCA is a beautiful place, so quiet and peaceful,” Garrett said. “We learned about leadership through the speakers that we had, the leadership games we played and the challenges of RYLA.”

Some the challenges were physical – zip lines, rope walls, etc. – and were designed to promote teamwork and instill self-confidence.

One of the leadership games impressed upon the campers the importance of a leader’s communication skills.

“One person read a story and then told it to someone else and they told it to someone else, and on like that,” Garrett said. “The story changed over and over and that made us realize how important good communication skills are.”

Brundidge Rotarian Jennifer Garrett also attended RYLA as a facilitator and found that the leadership camp had value for adults as well as youths.

“I learned a lot about the fundamentals of leadership and I really enjoyed the kids,” Garrett said. “They were among the cream of the crop of high school juniors and seniors in Rotary District 6880. They displayed outstanding leadership skills and will be leaders in their communities as adults.”

Garrett said that, as a parent who has attended RYLA, she would highly recommend the camp to young people and to their parents.

“Any young person would benefit from RYLA,” she said. “I know what it meant to April and what it meant to me.”

April thanked the Brundidge Rotary Club for a unique and very worthwhile “camp” experience.