This summer I attended RYLA at the University of Minnesota Crookston. RYLA is a leadership program coordinated by Rotary International. Camp RYLA includes students from Canada, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Initially I was hesitant to attend because I didn’t know what to expect; I often feel anxious about experiencing new things. However, after the first day of activities and meeting new people, I knew I made the right decision.
One of the ways they helped us meet others was by placing us in a family, which included two leaders and seven kids. Each day our families would meet to learn more about each other and to discuss what we learned that day.
Our days were full of activities that kept us very busy at every hour. The day always started with the spirit committee knocking on our doors at 6:45 am to get ready for our morning exercises and breakfast. The day would continue with a variety of speakers, some of whom included Marshall Olson, Elisabeth Rubli, and the one that had the greatest impact on me, Lorna Hollowell. Lorna is the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Programs here at the University of Minnesota Crookston. In her presentation she discussed how each culture is unique in it’s own way, but as a human race we are one in the same.
Some other fun activities included the ropes course, which taught us how to cooperate and work with each other. We handed out roses to people in our community, and put on a talent show and family skits. My most memorable activity educated us on the 7 habits of highly effective teens. Those habits include the following:
Habit One: Being proactive, or the habit of personal vision, which means to take responsibility for our attitude and actions.
Habit Two: To begin with the end in mind. This means to begin each day with a clear understanding of your desired direction and destination.
Habit Three: Put first things first! This is about personal management that involves organizing and managing time and events according to your personal priorities.
Habit Four: Think Win-Win! Win-Win is the habit of seeking mutual benefit. This attitude begins with a commitment to explore all options until a mutually satisfactory solution is reached.
Habit Five: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This was a habit that really affects me. It is a reminder to understand others before I expect them to understand me.
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