Three Sealy High School Interact club members attended RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards last month at Carolina Creek Christian camp near Huntsville.
Cris Meza and Miguel Garcia, seniors, were sponsored by Sealy Rotary club to attend RYLA last year.
Their experience was so incredible, they returned this year to serve as Kid Crew Coaches, said career preparation coordinator Melissa Simms.
Sophomore Carissa Olvera was sponsored by Rotary to attend this year. She also wants to go back as a coach next year. Rotary District 5890 explains the goal of RYLA is to expand a student’s fundamentals of leadership, ethics, communication skills, problem solving and management skills while building self-esteem and confidence to become outstanding community and global citizens of the spirit of Rotary’s Four-Way Test and Motto of “Service Above Self.”
“I felt accomplished, like I finally did something good in life,” said senior Cris Meza. “The kids I had [in my group] felt like my family at the end of the weekend. At first, it was challenging to speak to them; but, as soon as they understood me and the happiness I brought them- and smiles- it was the best. My coach, my other coach-in-training and I made a lot of progress throughout the weekend. I got close to two kids specifically; but, we made them feel confident to come out of their bubbles and let other kids in and speak their minds and become such great leaders.”
Other students also had a positive experience.
“RYLA was a great experience and an incredible opportunity,” said sophomore Carissa Olvera. “It had a very positive impact on me by showing me that I should not judge people quickly and consider that not all people think as I do. It opened my eyes. I got to meet people from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds, I made new friends and hopefully long lasting relationships with them, and I made new connections. We are all different, we all grew up with different views and in different households, but at the end of the day we all came together in order to pursue the thing we all wanted most: to make the world a better place.”
Senior Miguel Garcia said the conference had a positive impact.
“Before [when] I went to RYLA as a camper I was a funny, goofy, and easy to get-along-with-at-school type of guy,” Garcia said. “Now, I'm all of those; but with skills I never thought I would ever have and that is leadership and a good listener. If I had never gone to RYLA, I don't think I would have ever discovered those two traits within myself. Now, as I continue to go back and coach I get to utilize those skills and help others to discover and develop their own skills.”