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Ninety-six scholars attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards delegates live in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Lawrence County, Anniston, Cullman, Gardendale, Guntersville, Jasper, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Pell City, Inverness, Roanoke, Albertville, Huntsville, Athens, Decatur and Madison. (CONTRIBUTED)
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards delegates live in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Lawrence County, Anniston, Cullman, Gardendale, Guntersville, Jasper, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Pell City, Inverness, Roanoke, Albertville, Huntsville, Athens, Decatur and Madison. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference attracted 96 teenagers for a weekend of character building at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

Rotary clubs in District 6860 were allowed to sponsor two RYLA scholars, event coordinator Karen Morris said. Sophomores, junior and seniors were eligible and screened for academic records, volunteering and hobbies.

Youth participated from Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Lawrence County, Anniston, Cullman, Gardendale, Guntersville, Jasper, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Pell City, Inverness, Roanoke, Albertville, Huntsville, Athens, Decatur and Madison.

Rotary Club of Madison sponsored students James Moore, Sarah Mowery, Thomas Paladino, Mckenzie Rozek, Sara Thorsness and Kylie Thorum. The Greater Huntsville, Huntsville, Madison and Rotaract clubs hosted the conference.

Conference speakers included retired Col. John Reitzell, who discussed traits of a good leader saying, “Do not ask your team to do something you are not willing to do.”

State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw “spoke on your toolbox of life and how to build on your experiences,” Morris said. Tony McGinnis explained the “4 Ps” — Picture what you want to do, plan, prepare and pursue.

Michele Mason, president of the North Alabama Better Business Bureau, spoke about consequences of making wrong choices. Al Mathis taught the 4-Way-Test, on which all Rotary Clubs are based by using these parameters:

* Is it the truth?

* Is it fair to all concerned?

* Will it build good will and better friendships?

* Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Other presenters included Tracy Ciniewicz, Al Mathis and Cassie Scott.

RYLA participants toured the da Vinci exhibit and attended a condensed space camp. The youth stayed at the center’s Habitat with Space Camp counselors.

Students interested in the 2015 RYLA should contact the Rotary Club in their area and consider joining their high school’s Interact Club.

“Interact is a community service club that all Rotary clubs can sponsor. Madison Rotary Club sponsors Interact clubs at James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools,” Morris said.

For more information, visit Rotary6860.org.

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