At a recent Rancho Murieta Rotary Club meeting, a local teenager and Senior at St, Francis High School, Carlye Reed, was the guest speaker. This last summer, Carlye attended Camp RYLA in the Sierra, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Rancho Murieta and she shared her experience at the camp with Rotarians in attendance.

The teen says the experience changed her life.  Camp RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and is an annual camp program Rotary holds each summer. It is open only to High School Juniors preparing for their Senior Year, and this year Carlye was chosen to represent Rancho Murieta. The Rancho Murieta Rotary Club covers the cost of the students they select for the program.

Carlye was part of a group of 92 juniors from throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada for one of several 5 day camps.

The teen says the experience changed her life.  The camp is loaded with group events and exercises designed to challenge one's perceptions of themselves, how they view others and builds self awareness, self esteem and leadership skills.

One of Carlye's favorite exercises was an obstacle course containing a wall that looked impossible to climb. The wall represents weakness and obstacles in life and the participants are instructed to approach and hit the wall to tell it they will overcome their weaknesses. With the assistance of others in the group the participants scale the wall, signifying a conquering of the obstacles in their life.

Rotary Camp RYLA

Guest speaker Carlye Reed, right, poses with Gregg Mason of the Rotary and Carlye's mom, Erin Reed, and sister, Olivia.

In addition, the last activity for the group each day of camp was to hold hands and vocalize positive affirmations such as "I will lead, not follow".

Carlye summed up the experience.  "Because of my RYLA experience I m now better connected with life and people. I am inspired to do the things in life that are important to me, and I realize the importance of being myself and pursuing the dreams that I have for me. I have remained friends with many of the other camp participants and we all realize that we need to accept our self and others for who we are".

Carlye is the daughter of Erin and Andy Reed, and her family has had a lot of exposure to Rotary –both  her Grandfather and her Uncle were Rotarian’s and 2 of her cousins were Rotary Exchange students.

The Senior highly recommends RYLA to others, and says the timing in her life could not have been better -- she now understands the differences between true friends and acquaintances and knows that knowledge will serve her well as she moves into college and adulthood. Her college goal is to attend the University of Nebraska.

If you or someone you know are interested in being considered for the 2014 RYLA Program, please contact Rick Feldman, the RM Rotary Club’s Next Generation and Youth Program Chair at (916) 601-4727.

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