Ricky Hallam, President of the Rotaract Club of Leicester, spoke to the Rotary Club of Leicester Novus about his visit to the recent four-day International Rotary Youth Leadership Award event in Sydney, Australia.
Ricky was accompanied by Cara Cugley, from Philadelphia, whom he had met in Sydney and who had been a member of Ricky’s RYLA family of a dozen young people who all wore blue bandanas and who bonded firmly over the four-day event. Cara had chosen the blue bandanas, demonstrating that she was a leader best recognised as a Lion. The team chose Nexus as their name.
Ricky said he had arrived in Sydney after a long, tiring journey, at 6.30am and by 5.30pm was standing on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, having checked in at the event, based in the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.
Ricky called on Sam Sleath, who had attended a RYLA — Rotary Youth Leadership Award — course at Grafham Water, Huntingdon, in 2012, to demonstrate ‘the mousetrap challenge’. Sam was blindfolded to demonstrate trust in one’s leader. To protect the nervous, it’s best that the details are not revealed here. But it can be said that after Sam had his go, Cara demonstrated that she had learned a remarkable technique in Sydney.
Although clearly a lot of fun, the iRYLA event was motivational with speakers including Dr Mark Strom and Dr Mona Khanna.
After the four-day Rotary Youth Leadership Award event, Ricky and Cara moved on to the Rotary Convention in Sydney, where they had to get used to being part of an assembly of more than 18,000 delegates instead of the 68 they had been at the iRYLA event.
Paying particular attention to Ricky and Cara’s reflections from Down Under was Nathalie Craig, a 25-year-old Australian journalist currently working at the Leicester Mercury as part of an exchange trip sponsored by the Rotary Club of Blaby. Nathalie was a community journalist in Newcastle, north of Sydney until her two-month ‘trip of a lifetime’ to England.
Ricky, a teacher at Lutterworth, is a veteran of the week-long RYLA camps at Grafham Water, having returned every year as a facilitator since going there as a participant in 2007. RYLA is a fun, but intensive, training programme in leadership development
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