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A total of 20 high school students from the state attended the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) Camp on the Southwestern College campus from May 24-28.
Students learned about the responsibilities and possibilities of servant leadership through interactive experiences such as the ropes course at Camp Horizon, leadership lessons taught by SC students minoring in leadership studies, and a service day at the Winfield Kansas Veterans’ Home.
The service experience on Memorial Day was particularly meaningful for camp participants, say camp organizers. Students attended the Winfield Memorial Day celebration then spent the afternoon interviewing and talking with veterans about their experiences, wisdom, and challenges. The students also shared an ice cream social with the veterans. At the closing of camp, many students noted lessons learned from their veterans and even wrote poems detailing their experiences.
RYLA camp members included: Paige Richardson, Sydney Fox, Trenton Ging, Laura Podschun, Andrew Everett and Ally Hovey, Winfield; Julia Montoya and Ellie Gerber, Garden City; Angel Palacioz, Kayleigh Serviss, and Autum Povrhussin, Derby; Morgan Lyles and Jaylynn Luna, Wellington; Jeremy Anderson, Kingman; Megan Bartley, Haven; Elena Carlos and Marissavel Rodriguez, Dodge City; Gabe YoNash, Belle Plaine; and Wisdom Knerr, Etoy Modica, and Mahalia Clemons, Wichita.
District Rotary clubs sponsored the camp costs for students who attended. Additionally, Legacy Regional Community Foundation sponsored a student from Belle Plaine. The Winfield Rotary Club of District 5690 played a significant role in the design and implementation of the camp. Member Dean Kennedy helped to orchestrate a Rotary picnic and secured Judge Tommy B. Webb to come and deliver his “You Can Make a Difference” motivational speech to campers.
“Rotary Leadership Camp is always a powerful experience,” says Lindsay Wilke, assistant director of Leadership Southwestern. “In a span of five short days, campers grow and learn things about themselves and others that challenge them to make an impact in their home communities. Campers come to realize that true leadership springs from a desire to serve and make the world around oneself better, and this is a freeing and motivating experience for many of them. They become friends with students from around the state, connect with Rotarians who are living lives of service, and are challenged to do something differently when they return home. It is inspiring to witness.”
SC Leadership team members Madison Hovey and Shawn Pancoast served as the directors of the camp, and leadership team members served as counselors. Counselors were Caleb Janssen, Michael Bond, Brenna Truhe, and Maggie Collett.
According to Wilke, anyone who may be interested in the May 2015 Rotary Camp, is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at www.sckans.edu/rotarycamp. Scholarships are available.