The first Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Conference ever held on Delmarva was hosted by Rotary District 7630 (all of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore). The event was held at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City over President’s Day weekend. Eighty-nine teens from all over Delmarva 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.
The Rotary Club of Easton sponsored five delegates from Easton High School; Samantha Serio, Erin Rahim, Jazzmine Davis, Sarah Kilmon and Collin Ertter, who recently attended the Club’s weekly meeting to share their RYLA experiences and the community service project that they created at the conference.
The highlight of the weekend was the presentation of ten community service projects that had been selected, planned and marketed by each teen group with assistance from a group leader from the Delaware State University Rotaract Club (collegiate Rotary). During the conference, the teens selected a project based on an actual community need that they had not participated in previously and something that a youth group such as Interact (high school Rotary), 4-H or Scouts could realistically accomplish. The winning project, by delegate vote, was recognized with a donation to the charity of the group’s choice. The winning project was “Karnival for Kids”, designed to provide a fun-filled day for children hospitalized at A.I. DuPont Hospital. The group’s charity was Kenny Wood’s Water Well Drilling in Africa. Mr. Wood, a member of the Centreville Rotary Club, has drilled over 900 wells, primarily using his own personal funds.
Rotarians from all over Delmarva helped plan and conduct the conference including Jen Reider and Kim Warren from Newark; Tom Harlan from Centreville; Ceil Rozumalski from Middletown; Lisa Wachter from Easton; Phil Reed from Cambridge; and Dan Tabler from Georgetown. Five past and future District Governors were also part of the conference including PDGs Susan Giove and Don Hackett, DGN Dan Houghtaling, DGE Jan Reider and Asst. Gov. Rob Hemmen, who will serve as DG in three years. Other Rotarians who were part of the program included Manning Lee of Easton, AG Phil Allen, David Blair, Wes Perkins and Kenny Wood.
According to Dan Tabler, District RYLA Chair, the conference could not have been more successful, especially for the first conference. Over the past 10 years, Delmarva teens have attended RYLA in the Washington, DC area. By bringing RYLA to Delmarva, more than double the number of teens participating in the past had the opportunity to enhance their leadership, teamwork, communication skills and their commitment to community service. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self, a concept that the participating teens know much more about as a result of the conference.
To learn more about the Rotary Club of Easton, visit www.eastonrotary.org. Further information about RYLA and Rotary on Delmarva can be found by visiting the District 7630 website at www.rotary7630.org.
In photo: Pictured after their recent community service presentation at the Rotary Club of Easton’s weekly meeting are (from left to right) Lisa Wachter, RYLA Committee Member; Easton High School Juniors Samantha Serio, Erin Rahim, Jazzmine Davis, Sarah Kilmon and Collin Ertter; and Kerry O’Keefe, M.Ed., History Teacher and Interact Advisor at Easton High School.