Rotary’s RYLA Conference enhances Sussex Tech students’ leadership skills
Sussex Technical High School sent 13 student delegates to the second Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and RYLA Conference held on Delmarva. Rotary District 7630, Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, hosted the event Feb. 21-23 at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City, Md. Nearly 120 teens attended.
The Georgetown-Millsboro Rotary Club, Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club, Milford Rotary Club and Nanticoke/Seaford Rotary Club sponsored the Sussex Tech delegates. Tech had more students participating than any other school on Delmarva. Students attending were Jessica Bishop, Milford; Everton Brossus, Ocean View; Zoe Collins, Millsboro; Xavier Drummond, Ellendale; Andy Duvall, Millsboro; Maria Ferreri, Lewes; M.J. Greene, Lincoln; J.L. King, Seaford; Isabella Nicoletti, Lewes; Olivia Outten, Georgetown; T.J. Pinto, Milton; Chelsea Sivels, Lincoln; and Dustin Waller, Georgetown. Georgetown-Millsboro Rotary Club member Dan Tabler, District RYLA chair, was in charge of the conference.
Rotary Youth Leadership Award is an intensive training program that brings together youth and young adults to further develop character and leadership skills and learn about Rotary. RYLA gives Rotarians the opportunity to mentor promising young leaders serving their own communities and beyond. Students enhanced their leadership, teamwork, communication, and community service knowledge and skills by participating in team-building activities, hearing expert speakers, and planning a community service project.
A community service project was selected, planned, and marketed by each of the 12 groups of about 10 teens with assistance from a Rotaractor, collegiate Rotary, from Delaware State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Dover Community Rotaract clubs.
The highlight of the weekend was the group community service presentations. The delegates vote to select the best project, except their own. The winning project received a $500 donation to the charity of the group’s choice. Dustin Waller’s team was the winner with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital receiving a $500 donation in the name of Dustin and his fellow team members. M.J. Greene’s team was a close second.
Over the past 10 years, Delmarva teens have attended the RYLA conference held at the National 4-H Center, Chevy Chase, Md., hosted by District 7620, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area. In 2013, District 7630 hosted its own RYLA conference, doubling the number of participants to nearly 90 teens. According to Dan Tabler, District 7630 RYLA chair, the number of teens participating has now nearly tripled from 2012. All 40 District 7630 Rotary Clubs sponsored at least one delegate.