Posted by Samantha Drivas on Apr 01, 2019
Registration is now open for District 7930 RYLA 2019, which will be the weekend of May 10-12.  For information about how your club can support high school students in your community, visit the District RYLA page or contact RYLA Chair Christina Harris.  Deadline for Applications is April 15, 2019.
 
In 2009, my addiction to Rotary began. Sponsored by my hometown Rotary club, I attended the District 7780 RYLA and after that weekend, I was hooked. I joke now that RYLA is the gateway drug to Rotary, but looking back on it, it could not have rung more true for me. The RYLA experience opened my eyes to the potential Rotarian community. In an effort to be more involved, I would become the President of my local Interact club the following year, and then receive a Rotary scholarship for my college studies. I often went back to the club that had sponsored me for both RYLA and the scholarship to share my experiences and the opportunities they had given me, and each time felt like I was walking into a family reunion rather than a room full of strangers. After college, I moved to Boston, a city that immediately felt uninviting and overwhelming to a Mainer. My remedy for homesickness? Find the nearest Rotary club. The minute I walked into the first Downtown Boston Rotary meeting, I knew that I had found a new home. I can say with one hundred percent certainty that the reason I walked into that meeting and became so involved in our club is because of that glimpse of community I received way back in 2009 through RYLA. While I may joke about RYLA as a gateway drug, it may be more a life-sustaining one as it truly is our youth programming from RYLA, to Interact, to Rotaract, that keeps the Rotary name alive.  For any club looking to attract millennials is to invest in the younger generations from the ground up. You never know, the high school junior you sponsor today for RYLA may be our District President in 10 years.
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