3 December, 2023

Youth program reaps benefits

Emilie Medina gave a thorough presentation about her experience with the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program, as she spoke at the Rotary Club of Redcliffe Sunrise, gathering on November 22.

Brad Sleurink (Rotary Club of Redcliffe Sunrise) with Emilie Medina.
Brad Sleurink (Rotary Club of Redcliffe Sunrise) with Emilie Medina.

Emilie said she had no phone or internet reception for the whole week that she was at the Sunshine Coast for the program, as she was “in nature” and surrounded by people she had never met before.

“RYLA supported me to think deeply about who I am,” Emilie said.

This included how she viewed herself amongst others in a group environment, and also what her strengths and skills were, and what made her comfortable, uncomfortable, feel good, feel valued and feel heard.

“RYLA taught me to dream big, to set goals, and to not beat myself up if things don’t initially go as I had planned,” she said.

The program also reminded her to be kind and empathetic to everyone, and to think about what others may be going through.

“I think we just need to understand that every person has a different idea of what a ‘good life’ is, and it’s not about making us all the same, but being creative enough that we can support each other to identify whatever it is that would give us our best life,” she said.

Emilie also explained it was challenging to watch conflict unfold and to watch people not consider the perspectives of others, while she found it hard to speak up.

“I learned to advocate for myself and for others,” she explained.

Emilie said she grew in confidence about who she is as a person, and became clearer about her core values.

She became more passionate about leadership, which was an area she was still striving for.

“I have increased my knowledge-base on more theoretical concepts around leadership, public speaking, working as a team, human psychology and behaviour, etc,” she said.


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