LAHAINA - Seventy-four students from nine Maui County high schools gathered together at Camp Keanae on Feb. 10-12 to experience the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp program (RYLA).
This worldwide program was sponsored by the nine Maui County Rotary clubs. Among the students participating were 15 from Lahainaluna High School, seven from Lanai High and nine from Molokai High School.
The Maui Camp RYLA was directed by Joanne Laird and Phylecia Platte, members of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset. The purpose of the camp was to give the students an opportunity to participate in quality leadership training experiences and activities.
The purpose of the camp was to give the students a chance to participate in quality leadership training experiences and activities.
These activities were led by 24 student facilitators who helped guide the campers in understanding the principles of effective leadership. Student facilitators were selected from the 2016 camp RYLA participants.
Workshop topics included the "Nuggets of Leadership," respect, ethics using the Rotary four-way test and "Finding Your Spark."
On Saturday afternoon, the campers experienced a two-hour ropes course led by the student facilitators, and they participated in a cultural community service project where they cleaned a kalo field in Keanae. They also had the opportunity to meet ten Rotary leaders from around Maui County and ask them about community leadership.
The culmination of the three-day program was a graduation ceremony where each camper was presented with a diploma and camp RYLA pin by Assistant District Governors Wendy Hornack and Larry Laird.
Campers and facilitators completed an evaluation at the end of the program, and the overwhelming response was that the camp exceeded their expectations.
"RYLA not only made me a better leader, but it helped me to identify my passion, my 'spark,' " said Althea Cariaga, a student facilitator and 11th-grader from Molokai High School.
Lanai High School junior Leslie Anne Nabor said, "I discovered that when we all work together, we get to feel comfortable stating our own opinions, and that is what leads to our success as leaders."
Mele Sanchez, a junior at Kihei Charter High School, noted that the camp introduced her to new and different people who share a common goal.
"The one thing we all share in common is motivation, drive, passion and openness to learn about school, life and new experiences," Sanchez said.