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Rotary Club recognizes students who attended leadership camp

Thirteen of the 17 campers attended the appreciation dinner last month. Front row, left to right: Anika Agarwal, Alina Sabalevskaya, Zoe Dermody, Saige Tinker, Laini Nallathamby, Jack Tomlinson, Chase Terrones, Sumanth Kaja, William Li, Haley Vetter, Katie Dupper and Kaeli Nallathamby. Back row, left to right: Tobin Miller, Arnav Markanda and James Weinberg. Darrell Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Castle Pines and Rotary Youth Chairperson is kneeling in front.

Seventeen students from Rock Canyon High School and Rocky Heights Middle School were chosen to attend the Young Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (YRYLA) week-long camp last summer in Estes Park. Students who showed leadership skills with a recommendation from teachers were interviewed and selected by members of the Rotary Club of Castle Pines (RCP). The RCP is very proud of their YRYLA camp record and hosted a dinner last month to recognize the students and their families.

“Over the past 10 of our 11 years in existence as the rotary club in Castle Pines, we have sent more kids to YRYLA camp than any other rotary club in Colorado, Wyoming and western Nebraska,” stated Darrell Johnson, president of RCP and also Rotary Youth Chairperson. “We have sent, to date, 79 students and 2022 was a record year for us.” On average, between 25-30 students are interviewed for seven slots every year.

The focus of the YRYLA training is to underscore teamwork and the importance of listening to others as well as recognizing that every individual plays a part. “Talking over someone in a group that is working toward a solution is not indicative of a leader,” added Johnson. “The kids spoke of inclusivity, listening and valuing input from others.” Johnson said that the students also participated in hikes in the beautiful outdoors and recognized “some things bigger than themselves.”

The campers were funded by grants, approximately $600 per kid. Many of the surrounding rotary clubs weren’t able to fill their camp spots and donated their grants to RCP. “The Rotary Club of Highlands Ranch provided funding for three of our kids and Castle Rock High Noon Rotary Club provided funding for one person,” stated Johnson.

Each student shared their camp experiences and cherished friendships that were made.

By Hollen Wheeler; photos courtesy of Rotary Club of Castle Pines



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