Transforming Future Leaders 

District 7080 has supported the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) for over two decades and the organizing team was proud to bring back RYLA in-person to the Ecology Retreat Centre this year (ERC). 
RYLA is truly a transformative experience for aspiring young leaders and leaves a lasting impact on their personal and professional growth. RYLA is designed to help unlock our full leadership potential, providing participants with a diverse range of workshops, interactive sessions, and inspiring keynote speakers. Each day was carefully structured to foster personal growth, ignite creativity, and encourage innovative thinking. 
One of the highlights of the retreat was the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with like-minded leaders. We exchanged ideas, shared stories, and learned from one another's experiences. The diverse perspectives brought forth a wealth of knowledge, enabling us to gain fresh insights into our own leadership styles and strategies.
Thanks to the continued support of Rotary clubs across the district, 17 participants were sponsored this year. When asking them what RYLA means to them and what their most memorable moments were, this is what they had to say:
RYLA is …
  • An amazing time for friendship, heart-ship connection and leadership
  • An opportunity for Rotary clubs to invest in the youth leaders of their community
  • An opportunity to get youth into spaces and provide opportunities they might not have gotten
  • "Rotary Youth Leadership Academy." All jokes aside, I think it mostly means community. Simple an explanation as that
  • Self development
  • Connection, Exposure, Growth, Sparking
  • Extended Family
  • A camp program for those who want to mentally, physically, and emotionally grow as leaders
  • An opportunity to challenge yourself, learn more about yourself, and connect with others
  • Friendship
  • To disconnect from the noise and connect with people
What was your most memorable moment at RYLA?
  • There were a handful of distinct moments in my mind that I will hold dear to me always. They were moments shared with others but experienced independently and they seem relatively insignificant and inconsequential when viewed merely at a glance. But these small moments are when I feel human connection most strongly, unparalleled, and they often happen when least expected and yet needed the most. I'm going to keep these moments to myself, but the entire experience of RYLA, as a whole, is so memorable and I hope the details don't ever fade from my mind.
  • Doing the speak out, because it required me to be more open and vulnerable than I had been throughout most of my life.
  • Every part of RYLA was excellent, but getting to know everyone over the course of four days was the best part.
  • My fellow RYLA attendees. Everyone has different experiences which make for excellent learning opportunities at every turn in each conversation.
The RYLA Organizing Committee looks forward to working together to bring this transformative opportunity to more youth in the years to come!
Yours in Rotary, 
Jananee Savuntharanathan - Rotaract Mississauga/Rotary Passport Club South
Chris-Beth Cowie - Rotary Passport Club South
Lorraine Menezes, Rotary Passport Club South
Leah Parent - Rotaract Mississauga
Betty-Jo Parent - Rotary Club of Mississauga West