R.Y.L.A. vists Rotary

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jennifer Garrett, president of the Brundidge Rotary Club, stepped from behind the podium Wednesday to assume the role of program guest.

Garrett and her daughter, April, were team leaders  at Camp R.Y.L.A. (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in March. The camp is held annually at Camp ASCCA (Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults) at Jackson Gap.

April was a student the first year she attended R.Y.L.A. and has served as a team leader for two years. Her mom has been team leader for three years.

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Jennifer Garrett said she volunteers as a team leader at R.Y.L.A. because she enjoys the students and watching them as they emerge from their comfort zones and began to develop skills that will enable them to be better followers and leaders.

“We usually think that building leadership skills takes time and often it does,” said April Garrett. “But being a good follower is just as important and often we have to learn to follow. When I was a student at R.Y.L.A., I was a little shy and wanted to stand back because I’m more comfortable in the background. But I had to get out of my comfort zone and R.Y.L.A. helped me to do that.  I’m a good follower but I had to work on my leadership skills.”

Jennifer Garrett said she has watched many students come out of their comfort zones to become good leaders and good followers.

“When some students arrive, they are quiet and shy and it’s not easy for them to step forward and be a part of the group but it happens over and over at R.Y.L.A.,” she said.

The camp offers a variety of outdoor activities including, volleyball, softball, archery,  boating and swimming. The camp is handicapped accessible and offers that accessibility to students in wheelchairs for several of the outdoor activities including the popular waterside.

The students also participate in a variety of indoor activities including arts and crafts singing, dancing and storytelling activities.

Brundidge Rotarians realize the importance of camp R.Y.L.A.  and that students’ lives can be changed in a positive way by attending. Each year, the Brundidge Rotary Club sends students to the camp.

“This year we sent two students, one is a graduate of Pike County High School and now attends Troy University and the other attends Pike County High School,” Garrett said.

The Brundidge Rotary Club is a longtime supporter of Camp ASCCA and has donated to many of the Rotary projects at the camp at Jackson Gap. The club has contributed to the building or remodeling of the dining hall, a lodge and the environmental center.

Rotarian Homer Homann said the club’s support of Camp ASCCA and R.Y.L.A. is one of the best things that the Rotarians do.