Greg Mumford introduced Paul Elsley, one of our speakers.  Paul is the President of the Rotary Club of Kingston, and is a real example of Service Above Self.  It was Paul with his affiliation to Isthmus who brought the Covid 19 food project together, and he is also involved in a back pack project every fall.  Paul has been Bill Egnatoff’s partner in Adventures in History, and with his connections to the schools, he has been instrumental in getting students to attend Rotary youth programs.  He took over RYLA when it came to Kingston three years ago, and took it virtual this year.  Paul is going to be assisted by Jorja Majury, who is a student who attended RYLA this year. 
RYLA 2020:
RYLA occurred in May from the 29th to the 31st.  It’s always difficult to find a time that works for all the school boards with differing exam and course schedules. 
The rationale for Rotary Youth Programs is schools are less able to provide enrichment programs, and these experiences can be transformational.  They build cultural literacy and provide a place to form life-long friendships.  Youth programs are integral with the Rotary International ethos.  They also serve as a place to expose youth to Rotary and eventually have a relationship with Rotary.  Paul attended RYLA as a student in 1975, and he has also found that many of today’s members were introduced to Rotary through youth programs.
Recruitment is also a challenge  – this doesn’t work without including schools in the process.  The idea is that it should be a collaboration between Rotary and the schools.  We should also invite youth who have attended a program to come and speak at a club meeting.
Numbers – There were 53 students, representing 25 Rotary Clubs in District 7040 and 7010.  They were 15 – 18 years old, between their third year in high school to their final year, and there were 13 male students and 40 were female.  There were 12 from the USA and 41 from Canada.  A unique benefit of being online is that American students can participate without the hassles of border crossing!
Location – This is the last year in the cycle for Kingston.  RYLA will move to Montreal next year.
Key Personnel – Leaders came from multiple Rotary Clubs and Rotaract Clubs.
Hurdles – This year, the Covid 19 pandemic made recruitment a challenge because the schools were physically closed.  It made it more difficult to connect with the delegates.  There were technical challenges due to running the program virtually.  Typically, we can engage with students within a classroom setting but this wasn’t possible.
Opportunities – There were some benefits in the way RYLA was held.  Kids are familiar with technology.  Costs were reduced and some logistical problems with the international border didn’t exist.  Time commitment was limited, 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.  The potential number of participants was unlimited.  The fee was $100 rather than $500 so some clubs sponsored multiple students. 
Jorja took over and talked about her experience as an attendee.  She found that the speakers were amazing, and she gained confidence in talking to and meeting people.  She learned a lot about leadership, identifying her own leadership style and skills.  The participants developed a project called Fitness 4 Food that is going to raise money for the Covid 19 food project. 
Paul said that being in charge of RYLA has been a rewarding experience.  There was a lot of collaboration between Rotary Clubs, and seeing it evolve over three years was interesting, as it improved every year.  There was great support received from the schools as well as the Rotary Clubs.
For the Fitness 4 Food project the students will be choosing an activity and then looking for pledges.  Jorja was asked to send an email that will be forward to all of our members. 
During the question period, we learned that Greg Mumford has known Jorja for about 10 years, as it was her grandfather Greg Hasted who brought Greg into Rotary. 
John Gale thanked our speakers, pointing out that this year’s theme for Rotary is “Rotary Brings Opportunities”.  This presentation showed that Rotary brings opportunities to Rotarians as well as youth.  John also noted that the Rotary FAR project wants to establish an Interact Club.