The Rotary Club of Motherwell & Wishaw has been a strong supporter of RYLA since it started in the District in 1991 and, over the past 25 years, the Club has sponsored a total of 55 young people.
The aim of RYLA is to develop self-confidence, leadership and team-working skills in future community, business and professional leaders. To achieve this aim, outdoor adventure activities and a residential experience are used as vehicles. RYLA is open to young people 15 – 17 years old and takes place each July at the Abernethy Trust Centre near Ardeonaig, overlooking Loch Tay. It is a week-long experience, with boys attending one week and girls the next week. Activities include canoeing, hillwalking, rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking, high ropes, assault course, various team tasks, discussions and speakers.
Candidates are selected from nominations by our local churches, high schools, Boys' Brigade, Girls' Brigade, Girlguiding, Scouts, and many more.
One of the important and essential ingredient of any RYLA week is the mentor team. These teams usually consist of four or five Rotarians from Clubs within the District or former RYLArians. Their main function is to encourage and support the young people during their RYLA experience, as well as look after their welfare. Over the years, the Rotary Club of Motherwell and Wishaw has been well represented on the mentor teams. It is hard to think of a year when there was not a Rotarian from the Club on the mentor team. John Mair, Past President of the Club and Past District 1020 Governor, was one of the main driving forces in establishing RYLA in the District and, for many years, was District RYLA Coordinator until his death in 2001. In the past, Past Presidents Tom Sleith and John Arthur also filled the role of mentors (or counsellors as they used to be called). Past President Ian Carrol has been a mentor on 12 occasions and has been District RYLA Coordinator for the past five years. James Gibbons, who will be Club President in 2016/17, has been a mentor on 6 occasions and will take over from Ian as District RYLA Coordinator after the RYLA 2016 camps, which will also be Rotarian Katrina Gibbons’ second year as a mentor on the girl’s week. In addition various Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Motherwell and Wishaw have acted as ‘meeters’ and ‘greeters’ at Hamilton and Bothwell service stations, to ensure the safety of the young people as they depart for RYLA or arrive back home. The young people are transported to RYLA by minibuses driven by Rotarians from various Clubs in the District. Past President Jim Peat has been a member of the RYLA Drivers’ Team for the past four years.
The members of the Rotary Club of Motherwell & Wishaw view RYLA as being a vital part of our annual commitment to the young people in our community. In the years ahead, it is anticipated that the Club will continue to actively support RYLA and give our young people the opportunity to experience and benefit from RYLA.
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