Posted by Todd Fischer on Aug 27, 2019
Note from Trent Brown, RYLA Junior Leader 2018/19
RYLA never ceases to amaze me with its ability to find the next generation of young leaders, help them discover their voices, and show them the means to make an immediate impact on their communities. Through three years of camp I have learned the values of vulnerability, strength, and commitment, but a single moment defined the RYLA experience for me this year.
While the campers tested their physical and mental boundaries on the College of Southern Idaho ropes course, a camper by the name of Hope, who is restricted to a wheelchair, was crying tears of joy. She had just finished flying over the grounds on the zipline, after racing up the rock wall, and after being lifted in a full-body harness to the top of CSI’s trademark obstacle - the pamper pole. Every time Hope left the ground, Rylarians were asked to assist in hoisting her safely. I would estimate over 40 campers throughout the day sacrificed a small portion of their fun time, so Hope could share in the experiences that they mostly took for granted. Seeing the group face a challenge, and overcome it without hesitation or lack of enthusiasm reminded me why RYLA is such a remarkable place.
The young leaders who graduate from RYLA experience selfless acts, like the one just described, constantly throughout the camp and have the ability to use them as inspiration for service back home. I know Rylarians who have booked over 200 hours of community service in the eight months following RYLA, others who helped their schools’ Interact clubs grow to over 50 members, and multiple who went on to become Student Body President for their senior year. The culture and energy created at RYLA is undeniably a breeding ground for success and a classroom for those willing to put service above self.
I need to thank so many people for making the camp possible through generous donations and commitment to Rotary. Though I am unable to attend the meeting, I would still like to thank Todd Fischer and Victoria Byrd for their passion and time given to protect the campers experience, and lastly, Bill von Tagen for believing in me when giving me the pamphlet for RYLA 2017.
Trent Brown
Class of RYLA 2017
RYLA Junior Leader 2018, 2019