Emma Conway, 16 of Kunkletown, can't say enough good things about her recent camp experience. But she tried at the last West End Rotary Club meeting held in Brodheadsville.
Emma, a junior at Pius X High School of Bangor, spent one week at Camp RYLA at Mt. St. Mary's College in Newburg, NY. She was one of 150 kids who attended. She was one of only eight from PA, the other young people were from New York. She was selected by the WERC from five applicants based on teacher recommendations and leadership abilities.
The club sponsored Emma at Camp RYLA and she told them "It was the best five days of my life."
Camp RYLA is Rotary International sponsored and thousands of scholarships are given each year worldwide. RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. A complete scholarship is awarded to young men and women of high school age. It is the intent of this program to prepare students for leadership roles in their school years and beyond. It brings business, social, professional and educational leaders of the community and the nation together with the young leaders of the future to share with them ideas, techniques, philosophy and inspirational messages.
These young people are given the opportunity to learn more about themselves through the voices and eyes of people who have experienced life, people who can help them see things from a different viewpoint. They learn not only from special speakers, volunteer Rotarians and non-Rotarians, but by interacting with other scholarship winners just like themselves.
Emma told WERC that she was part of the Hollywood group of 15 young people and they made a movie, "RYLA-Only in Dreams." She shared the short movie with the members of WERC and all were impressed with the end result.
"It was a unique experience. Pretty amazing. I loved it and it helped build up my self-confidence. I would like to go back next year as a junior counselor," she said.