Sarah Shears

Sarah Shears from Reading Maiden Erlegh Rotary is the District Organiser for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award scheme in 1090.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, or RYLA, is a leadership development programme run by Rotary for young adults.

It offers young people a special opportunity to take part in developing qualities of leadership, team working, initiative and problem solving at the start of their careers.

Two days are spent team building followed by two days learning new skills, for example, orienteering, rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing and slate mine exploration. These skills are applied in a 30-hour group exercise in locations around the Snowdonia National Park, including a night in the open.

This develops a more complete personality and the new-found confidence and skills are brought back into the community and demonstrated to their sponsoring clubs, by way of a short presentation on their experiences as a precursor to receiving a certificate.

The week-long course takes place at Rhos-y-Gwaliau, a small hamlet near Lake Bala in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

One Rotarian works with each group to assist the staff instructor. Originally the village school, the Centre was adapted to become an outdoor educational base for Berkshire schools but is now privately owned and is the ideal site for this Rotary inspired course.

Candidates, aged between 18 and 25, are sponsored by a Rotary club or possibly an employer. Many clubs sponsor more than one candidate and some involve local businesses who pay for members of staff as part of their development training programmes.

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