Students learn leadership skills at RYLA
Three students from Tinley Park and Lincoln-Way East high schools are back from a Rotary-sponsored leadership program where they participated in a variety of team-building activities and learned about the six C’s of leadership – charisma, confidence, character, courage, commitment and communication.
Tinley Park junior Kalynn Anderson, Lincoln-Way East junior Sean Lachat and Lincoln-Way East junior David Purucker joined students from across the country at a three-day Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program in Lake Geneva.
They reported on their experiences Dec. 13 to the Tinley Park-Frankfort Rotary Club, which sponsored the trip.
“It made me step out of my comfort zone,” said Kalynn, explaining how she knew no one at the conference and had to learn to trust others very quickly so they could work together as a team.
“Being able to trust strangers was challenging,” she added.
Both Sean and David said they especially enjoyed RYLA’s Reality Store, which challenged them to pick a profession and then manage their finances, deciding whether they could afford a car, house and the insurance payments that go with them.
“It was a reality check,” said Sean, who chose a military career for the exercise – something he’s thinking about doing in real life.
“I didn’t know what the pay would be,” he said.
For fun, David chose a career as a diplomat. He learned diplomats don’t make as much money as he expected.
“I had to ride the bus as a diplomat,” he said.
Every year, the Tinley Park-Frankfort Rotary Club pays for at least two students in the Tinley Park/Frankfort area to attend RYLA, a worldwide program aimed at demonstrating Rotary’s respect and concern for youth.
The program provides an effective training experience for youth and potential leaders.
This year, three students were selected to attend the program. They were selected for their leadership potential to attend workshops to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.
“The Tinley Park Frankfort Rotary understands that developing and encouraging future leaders is critical to the success of our nation and our world,” said Rotary Club President Margaret Semmer. “That is why we support RYLA. The RYLA retreat in particular encourages leadership development by promoting team building, collaboration, and problem solving. The students who attend this retreat return from their experience with a new perspective and a greater understanding of service to others. I am proud that we are able to contribute to leadership development in this way.”
Anxious to share what she learned at the training program, Kalynn put together a power point presentation about her trip, showing pictures of some of the team-building exercises.
“I really enjoyed this experience,” she told Rotarians. “I believe that I have and will continue to apply what I learned from RYLA to my daily and future life.”