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Students present on RYLA experience

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Rotary Club of Chilton County sponsored Mabeli Ordaz of Thorsby High School and Nathan Evans of Verbena High School to attend this year’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.

The students recounted their time at the event during the club’s May 22 meeting.

Evans said all of the attendees were divided into teams for three and a half days full of activities. Each team had to develop a name, song, chat and skit.

“Everybody there was really nice … everybody there was easy to talk to,” Evans said.

He said meeting new people was his favorite part of the event.

Both students said they had contact information for other participants, so that they could stay in touch.

They participated in team building activities.

“It was pretty fun,” Evans said as he described trying to get every team member onto platform to the next platform.

Ordaz said her team had to put everyone in order by their birthday, without talking, while standing on a log. She said the activity was challenging.

Other activities required teams to get through a net, stack balloons, make a square and get over a wall.

Evans said multiple people voicing opinions on the best way to achieve the goal at the same time worked against his group.

He said the activities helped him “learn how to work with people instead of working against them.”

Students also attended classes on leadership topics and financial planning.

Square dancing was on the agenda for the first night.

“We square danced for like three hours,” Ordaz said. “It was crazy.”

Ordaz said people were getting tired, and it was hard to hear the directions.

Evans said he could not keep up with the steps being called.

Evans said he and other boys in his cabin played basketball in their free time.

Rotarian Gordon Swenson said RYLA focuses on giving students opportunities to get to know other students.

“I think one of the biggest things for RYLA is just learning how to meet people,” Swenson said.

Evans said many of the people he met were from Gulf Shores.

Swenson said the club sends a student to RYLA each year. This year the sponsorship was made possible through funds raised at the 2017 Taste of Chilton County event.