Maui News

74 Maui County Students Attend Leadership Camp

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Seventy-four Maui County students from nine high schools gathered together at Camp Keanae on Feb. 10 and 12 for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp program (RYLA).

This worldwide program was sponsored by the nine Maui County Rotary clubs. Participating students included 15 from Lahainaluna High School, seven from Lāna‘i High School and nine from Moloka‘i High School.

The Maui RYLA Camp was directed by Joanne Laird and Phylecia Platte, members of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset. The purpose of the camp was to give the students an opportunity to participate in quality leadership training experiences and activities.


Activities were led by 24 student facilitators who helped guide the campers in understanding the principles of effective leadership. Student facilitators were selected from the 2016 camp RYLA participants.

Workshop topics included the “Nuggets of Leadership,” respect, ethics using the Rotary four-way test and “Finding Your Spark.”

On Saturday afternoon, the campers experienced a two-hour ropes course led by the student facilitators. They also participated in a cultural community service project in which they cleaned a kalo field in Keanae.


Campers also had the opportunity to meet 10 Rotary leaders from Maui County and ask them about community leadership.

The culmination of the three-day program was a graduation ceremony, where each camper was presented with a diploma and camp RYLA pin by Assistant District Govs. Wendy Hornack and Larry Laird.

Campers and facilitators completed an evaluation at the end of the program and the overwhelming response was that the camp exceeded their expectations.


“RYLA not only made me a better leader but it helped me to identify my passion, my ‘spark,’” said Althea Cariaga, a student facilitator and 11th grader from Moloka‘i High School.

Lāna‘i High School junior Leslie Anne Nabor said, “I discovered that when we all work together we get to feel comfortable stating our own opinions and that is what leads to our success as leaders.”

Mele Sanchez, in grade 11 at Kīhei Charter High School, noted that the camp introduced her to new and different people who share a common goal. “The one thing we all share in common is motivation, drive, passion and openness to  learn about school, life and new experiences!”

74 Campers and Rotary volunteers pose for the “official” camp photo. Photo by Ron Harris Photography.

On the first night of camp, student facilitators presented a special skit as entertainment for the campers. RYLA photo.

On the first night of Camp RYLA, Director Joanne Laird shares a “bedtime story” with the campers. RYLA photo.

RYLA campers. RYLA photo.

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