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RYLA – 2021

When I 1st heard the name RYLA I wasn’t even interested in it but somehow the president of my club suggested that I go so I can improve what is lacking in my personality skill set. Initially, I was hesitant to attend since it’s only been 2 months at our club and I was supposedly the only person attending from our club. I was clueless and a stranger to everyone and everything. However, I chose to challenge myself and attend the workshop.

When I reached Racecourse in the morning I was kinda nervous because I tend to be introverted around strangers. Everyone else happened to know each other, but once I got on the bus everyone became so friendly as if we’ve known each other for a long time. I was caught by surprise as I wasn’t expecting this gesture. 

RYLA 2021 was one hell of an experience. From the time we got there to the time we left, we made memories and most importantly new friends. The training was definitely tough and challenging but it also gave us the opportunity to improve our leadership qualities without even realizing it. We were taught how to face challenges as leaders and how to face healthy and friendly competition. The bunch of strangers that I met on the first day turned into a bunch of amazing individuals that I could consider friends with by the end of the second day. All in all RYLA 2021 was surely a fun-filled event and an amazing experience!

Team Charlie
Rtr. Sayumi Jayawardene 
Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Ratmalana

Team Charlie

The organising committee held the event at MAS Athena, a fine place located in Thulhiriya with a peaceful and spacious environment and especially CLEAN toilets! It definitely exceeded my expectations.

My expectations before the program was that it would be a boring day with sleep worthy speeches and discussions. But the sessions turned out to be exciting with speakers like Dr. Philip Mullegama and Dr. Rohantha Athukorala among others. Dr. Philip Mullegama taught us “It doesn’t matter how many screwups we have in our life, if we still want to change it we can change it and to change there is no age limit.” Dr Rohantha Athukorala showed us how we have to pay attention to the weak signals in society and change strategies to adapt to them accordingly and achieve our targets with practical examples.

United we stand, Divided we fall

We might be the best team of RYLA 2021,
But for us, this is more than a team it’s a group of strangers who became family with a lot of strength thanks to Rotaract once again❤️.
As a family, we know what to do and how to do, because we value each other by listening and giving opportunities.
So in simple words, RYLA 2021 did not make a team, but it has created an everlasting family.
We worked together, converse effectively with each other, acted together as one and that is the story behind our success. Whenever we failed, we understood, adapted accordingly and corrected our mishaps, eventually making us winners!
Like one big family, we would like to thank the organizing committee, sponsors, guest speakers and trainers for giving us this wonderful opportunity. It was a real privilege to be at RYLA 2021
Cheers to good friends and lasting connections!

Team Delta
Rtr. Sharan Balasubramaniam
Rotaract Club of ICBT

Team Delta

After those amazing sessions, we started our outbound session with Kolitha Ratnayake which included a series of fun and meaningful activities which helped us learn the kind of obstacles we have to face when leading a team. In the evening each team had to present a skit alongside the bonfire and the night ended with a party till midnight and a DJ raving the crowd. But here is a little secret, the night did not end for some of us, as the boys managed to sneak out of their dorm rooms and into the pool after midnight.

RYLA was one of the best Rotaract experiences ever! Making new friends, Fun, learning, motivation… it had everything!

Team Alpha
Rtr. Haaziq
Rotaract Club of Colombo Mid Town
Team Alpha

The following morning, the session started at 6.30 AM followed by some intensive physical training program where our amazing trainer taught us that leadership is not necessarily about handling people and passing orders but also being responsible for the team, listening and tapping into their hearts. 

RYLA 2021 was a great experience overall. It was inspiring to see our own Rotaractors from the District Steering Committee taking initiative to organize the program. The flow of the sessions kept the momentum throughout the program and we had enough time to bond, learn and enjoy. 

I consider being one of the luckiest to be a part of the last physical event for Rotaract Year 2020/21😉.

Team Delta
Rtr. Usama Liyaudeen 
Rotaract Club of Colombo West

After lunch, we all got the opportunity to take a few group pictures with the team. Post the photography session, the final session of the program commenced. The team was delighted at the presence of DRR Rtr. PP Kavindra Kasun Sigera, District Governor Rtn Ajith Weerasinghe and Rtn Gowri Rajan. These speakers shared their thoughts and experience on the opportunities that rotary can offer us, how important the rotary network is and how some of us can achieve our desired goal through rotary. 

Apart from winning, our goal was to have fun and make memories that will last forever – and yes we did it!

Team Echo
Rtr. Shameela Lafeer
Rotaract Club of College of Chemical Sciences
Team Echo

Team bravo was an enthusiastic team and is one of the best teams I have ever been in. We made loads of good memories and this was a team filled with great talents. Not a single second we spent together was without laughter. We cherished all the moments and got one of the best experiences of our lives through RYLA. All 19 of us came into the team as individuals and went back home as a family carrying love and good memories.

Team Bravo
Rtr. Julien Kenneth
Rotaract Club of Kandy
Team Bravo

The award ceremony commenced right after. All participants were awarded participation certificates while Rtr. Rithmaka won the best male Rotaractor award, Rtr. Thejani was awarded the best female Rotaractor and Rtr. Anju Cheran was awarded the most popular Rotaractor of RYLA 2021. With the closing of this session, it was time for us to head back home. 

After tea, we checked out from our dorms and it was time to say goodbye.

From my personal experience. I joined RYLA as a stranger, but I’m leaving as a part of a family, a leader and a proud RYLArian. And guess what? The fun never really ended till around 2 days post-program since our bodies were still recovering from that intensive training session we had on the final day. I cannot begin to thank the OCs who worked days and nights to organize and execute this event successfully.  

Writer’s thoughts
Written By: Rtr. Sanju from the Rotaract Cub of Pan Colombo.

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