Left to right: Ethan Wade, Jacob Althen, Caiden Kennedy, Sabas Melgar, Emma Wharton, Alejandra Quintero, Estrella Merced, Ashley Becerril

Eight Coast Union High School (CUHS) sophomores and juniors attended the highly acclaimed Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Camp last week.  Through Rotarians’ unceasing belief in the potential of youth, RYLA has become an opportunity to help the next generation of leaders define themselves and expand their skills.

     RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, personal growth, and service.  It provides an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders and encourages leadership of youth by youth.  It recognizes publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.

     Students attended Camp Ramah in Ojai from April 28 to May 1.  This year’s guest speakers were Jimmy Wheldon, the famous voice actor and television host; Jim Brogan, a retired pro basketball player who inspires audiences with his message of personal achievement; and Emmanuel Gentinetta, a double World Record holder, the youngest and fastest man in history to mountain bike the longest road in the world.

     CUHS students commented how they were especially inspired by the Diversity Class at RYLA Camp, where they were encouraged and inspired to be their authentic selves.  They felt safe to be vulnerable, which created a stronger bond with other students attending the camp.  Many commented how life-changing the experience was.  Students hope to bring the spirit of RYLA to CUHS, inspiring classmates to celebrate authenticity and one another.  This community has a long history with Rotary International, and CUHS has a long-established Interact Club.