The RYLA scheme is designed to help young men and women to live and work together in usually a country setting. In the case of our district the residential premises are situated in the middle of the Dorking Hills in Surrey, in an isolated spot surrounded by forest. During the course the candidates will have had their nerve tested and have been encouraged to lead but not to dominate, to listen to the opinions of others and make decisions. They will have suffered physical discomfort i.e. long hikes, climbing when suffering from a fear of heights, getting very wet etc. They will have had to organise a dinner midweek for everyone and on their last night they will have had to appear on stage to tell the large gathering of parents, relatives, friends and Rotarians about their experiences, perhaps providing some music or other entertainment. They will have been divided into four teams, for the week and in the case of our District there were two courses on successive weeks and around 45-50 taking part each time. Each group had an instructor. The enthusiasm and pure joy felt by all the candidates at the conclusion of their course was most impresssive, as it is every year. This was not because the course was ending, quite to the contrary but because they had become so close as a group and all of them had made friends for life - or so they said. What is apparent - and this is based on past knowledge of the effect these courses have on the individuals concerned - is the depth of the friendships made.
The phrase 'life changing' can be a cliche but our club members believe that these RYLA course are invaluable for what they do in a positive way for the young people attending. Our club aim to sponsor two candidates each year and the cost of this to the club is around a total of £1000 which we think is money well spent.
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