Despite some rather extreme weather on the Thursday when we were packing up to come home, this was another successful delivery of the program for 118 young people.  Rotary Young Leaders Awards (RYLA) is one of Rotary's most successful leadership programmes with a huge impact on the lives of those who take part and the 2019 camp was no exception.
 
9920 Rotarians may be interested to know that this RYLA is the largest in Australasia by quite some margin and the only one involving members of the defence forces in either country. 2019 is the 20 year anniversary of our District 9920 relationship with the New Zealand Army and it keeps getting better every year.
 
This year RYLA was led by a district team of experienced individuals including Todd Hanlon, Jon Atkinson, Peter Ross, Hilary Prior and we were joined by Richard Wilkie from Half Moon Bay. 
 
The team planning and running this event is very diverse across our district and we are engaging growing numbers of past awardees in increasingly senior roles right across the program.  There are approximately 100 different roles involved in managing the event and we are planning to steadily turn these operational roles over to the young people who have graduated through the program. This will in turn require an elevated level of “post RYLA” training for awardees in preparation for new roles. The district leadership team is looking forward to the gradual shift in the direction of younger course leaders.
 
Georgie and Roger Harvey took on the roles of Camp Mum and Dad this year and did a great job. With all the illness that occurred these two roles turned out to have considerably more activity than last year. Not only did they both cope well but they won the hearts and minds of all the participants. Others Rotarians who played key roles in the planning included Brian McMath on the speaker program, Steve Udy on the Community Day, Bill Chakow on the Gala Dinner, Steele Gibson on logistics and ex Rotarian Geoff Wake (now on Waiheke) who facilitated the end of day sessions and on one occasion stood in for a missing speaker. Geoff did an outstanding job.
 
This year we had a wide representation of Clubs helping, including St Johns, Papakura, Drury, Newmarket, Manurewa Takanini, Howick, and of course the host club of Half Moon Bay, led by Richard Wilkie, Lesley Gascoigne and Ian Thompson.
 
The practical leadership outdoor section went off quite well with no real casualties apart from some illness. It was wet underfoot and the awardees got a much greater challenge than was delivered in 2018. Bad weather can be harder for participants but it is also hard for the volunteers.
 
The dinner on Friday night went well. These are steadily improving as we have standardised a good deal of the operation and focussed more on the delivery of the speeches and entertainment. Many thanks to Bill and Jacqui Chakow for pulling it all together.
 
This year we had over 50% of our candidates funded by companies they were employed by. A few sponsoring companies also sponsored Charity and NGO candidates and this adds considerably to the programs diversity.
 
Just as RYLA was closing we received confirmation that The RYLA Oceania alumni group are planning a regional Camp in Sydney for RYLA graduates. We will be encouraging our people from the past three years to participate. More to come on this.
 
Well done District 9920, on another district wide contribution to RYLA.