A Prestigious Award
At last year’s RYLA Camp the club was so impressed with another of their candidate’s fortitude that we nominated Ashleigh Norris for a Diana’s Award. Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. The Award is the longest running award for young people that are given to individuals and groups through a retrospective nomination process only.
Behind the Diana Award
The thinking behind the award is particularly significant for Ashleigh as it recognises that these special youngsters do not work towards the award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without any expectation of reward.
For obvious reasons, we can’t talk in detail about the background to our decision but suffice to say Ashleigh has done tremendously well to cope with the difficulties that life has thrown at her. The club hadn’t heard of this award but Judy Brunton, wife of Rotarian George Brunton, recognised how hard Ashleigh had worked and suggested that such an award was wholly appropriate.
The Big Day
The result? Ashleigh attended The Diana Award Ceremony on Monday 5th November at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh where she received her Diana Award. An exciting day for her (and for Rob who also attended!).
Nearly Didn't Happen!
When District 1230 decided not to run RYLA this year, Eastwood’s Rob Wilkinson our Youth Convenor was undeterred. Convinced of the benefits of RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), he contacted District 1020 and asked if our club could send candidates to their camp. These take place at the Abernethy Trust’s Outdoor and Adventure Centre at Ardeonaig, the venue for all the camps since the first ones that were organised by West Linton & District R.C. in 1991!
Two candidates from our local East Renfrewshire High Schools – Courtney McCann and Sean Douglas Kellie –were selected to go forward. The selection process focusses very much on identifying youngsters who will benefit from a confidence boosting week and is done in participation with local school leaders. The youngsters experience working in teams and have the opportunity to lead teams, overcome their fears and essentially be transformed by the experience.
Change for the Better
Eastwood have participated in RYLA for over 8 years and our youth committee members are always astonished at the change in students before and after their RYLA week. Each student is invited back to do a presentation on their week at RYLA and invariably every talk ends with “I never, ever thought I would be able to stand in front of so many people and do a presentation!”.
Not All Plain Sailing
This year’s camp wasn’t without incident. Courtney McCann took ill while on the Munro climb and had to be airlifted off by helicopter to the local hospital! Despite that, she returned to speak at the club and was hugely positive about her experiences… up to that point, at least!