Once again, another successful event was held at Williamwood High School where singers and instrumentalists battled for the opportunity to go forward tour regional final at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.
Our two winners were Amy Murphy (vocalist) and Ewan Miller (instrumentalist).
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!).
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!
A great and very busy night at Eastwood Rotary when our two RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadesrhip Award) students came to give the club a presentation on their time at the RYLA camp. As ever, they were thrilled at how much they had enjoyed their time at camp and at how much more confident they now felt.
Courtney McCann of Woodfarm High School and Sean Douglas-Kellie of Barrhead High School and their mentors were visitors along with parents, grandparents and siblings.
A packed meeting also included Rotarian visitors from Glasgow, Annan and Inverness Riverside Rotary Clubs. Brenda Waugh of Annan Rotary Club was mentor to Courtney who was also supported by John Stuart, Depute Head at Woodfarm.
Big thanks to our own Rob Wilkinson who puts in a power of work to see that these youth opportunities happen.
Nine primary schools in East Renfrewshire battled for the honour of the Eastwood & Barrhead Rotary Primary School Quiz Shield.
Last year’s winners, Mearns Primary, hosted the event but were pushed into second place by a fine performance from Our Lady of the Missions Primary School. Their winning score of 65 out of a possible 72 was 4 points ahead of their hosts for the event.
Meantime, St. Thomas’ Primary School also put in a fine performance and were just 2 points further back in third place.
Eastwood Rotarian Peter Daniels, who organised the event, commented “The buzz in the room is always electric and this year it seemed even more so. All teams played to a very high level, and it took a fantastic effort by OLM to take the top spot.”
The full list of teams was Mearns, Thornliebank, Springhill and Auchenback, Eaglesham, St. Marks, Calderwood Lodge, Our Lady of the Missions, St. Thomas’ and St Cadoc’s.
Santa Had his work cut out at this year's Clarkston Bid Christmas Extravaganza where, once again, Eastwood Rotary Club had Santa's Grotto.
For a mere £5, the children could meet Santa, receive a nice present and have their photo taken with the great man himself.
No wonder there was such a long queue of expectant children with one or two of the younger ones looking a bit more anxious than their older siblings.
However, everyone enjoyed the experience and Santa was his magnificent, friendly self... coaxing details of their Christmas wishes from children of all ages (although some of the parents received a bit of a shock. Err.. and where will we keep that full size Unicorn then?)
Eastwood raised over £1,000 on the day and, after costs, we expect to have around £900 to support our own Rotary Youth charities and the incredible work of Kidney Kids Scotland.