Rotary Youth Leadership Awakening (RYLA) winner Ian Rhea and his mother Joy Rhea were guests at the August 18 meeting of Lawrence Central Rotary.

Each summer Lawrence Central Rotary sponsors a high school student to attend RYLA, an intense leadership training experience held on the campus of Kansas University.  Local leaders presented information and moderated activities for the student participants. Leadership presentations included learning about civic engagement, Rotary Youth Exchange, and Rotary, Rotaract and Interact.

Although RYLA was conducted by Zoom this year due to the pandemic, there were some in-person events: rock climbing, and tours of the Dole Institute and the Lied Center.   Participants did a small group problem-solving exercise about creating strategies for addressing the “brain drain” in Kansas.  They also did a service project:  putting together and distributing hygiene kits.

Ian will be a high school sophomore this fall and hopes to be a fire fighter some day. He is active in student council and marching band, volunteers at the local food bank, belongs to 4-H and participates in church activities.  Ian reported that the best part of the experience was interacting with the other kids.  He added that RYLA made him think about the importance of public service.

Hearing from RYLA students always makes for a popular program.  Thanks to Leticia  Cole for her work recruiting and coordinating with our RYLA winners.