Posted by Trish Carr on Nov 05, 2023
As a Rotary district heavily impact by lockdowns RYLA has been a breath of fresh air for the younger members of our community but there are many who could use that burst of inspiration and so It made me think – wouldn’t it be amazing if we could run a RYLA for Rotarians. Not only would it refresh their own leadership skills, it would encourage better teamwork and communication in clubs, connect them to a new generation but more importantly would give them a taste of RYLA and an understanding about how important the program is in supporting the leaders of tomorrow. It was a win, win situation as they would say.
Our 6-day live in RYLA includes a Rotary Expo Day where the aim is to show RYLA participants what Rotary does, but it also has a positive effect of the Rotarians attending. I was so amazed at how Rotarians were affected by RYLA when they came onsite during our RYLA Rotary Expo Day, they were so inspired to see young people embrace the opportunity of being a leader and global citizen all because of RYLA. All Rotarians that attended walked away saying they would support RYLA even more now and ensure their clubs would sponsor RYLArians in the future.
Fortunately, our District Governor who attended RYLA had the same feeling of inspiration and was very receptive to my idea of running a RYLA for Rotarians. His support was invaluable. I therefore set about to create such a program and called it Inspire Rotary. I prepared a 2-day program which could run over a weekend, arranged speakers, some professional but many who were RYLA leaders or Rotaractors and delivered the program to a group of selected Rotarians (many of which had never had a RYLA experience) with amazing results.
The program consisted of Speakers delivering key presentations on varied subjects which included Effective Communication, Leadership Tools, Personalities, Goal setting, Burnout, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We ran Ice Breakers as well as team building activities just like RYLA and it was incredible.
100% of attendees surveyed after the program were even more supportive of RYLA and as a result, we have seen an increase in sponsorship from clubs who had not normally supported RYLA. As a result, Inspire Rotary has had a direct impact on growing our RYLA program, but of course it has had so many other benefits including connecting young leaders with Rotarians. As a result, our District is now looking at holding this program annually as it has had so many incredibly positive effects including Rotarians stepping up in leadership positions within their clubs who would have never done so prior to Inspire Rotary.
The Inspire Rotary program has enormous potential to boost the RYLA program with our Rotarians, to help to create incredible connections between generations of young leaders and more mature generations but also a positive effect on anyone who facilitates and attends the program. It is the true embodiment of Rotary’s vision as it unites people with diverse experience, unites generations and in turn provides the opportunity to create lasting change.