Posted by Elaine Thompson on Sep 03, 2018
On Friday, August 3rd, PDG Ed and I drove out to the Anglican Church camp on Clear Lake the site of D5550’s Junior and Senior RYLA camps. 
Friday was the last full day of the Junior Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp for youths aged 12 to 14. We arrived by motorhome and were greeted by a large sign on the Rec Hall that read “Welcome to RYLA”.
Although we knew that the welcome sign was for everyone - campers, counsellors, camp nurse, and camp leaders, - the sign made us feel personally welcomed.
The focus of this year’s Junior RYLA camp was public speaking. Friday afternoon included a mini-conference where a handful of campers shared the “TED talks” they had been working on during the week.
We joined the campers and staff for the evening meal.
By 6:00 PM, the meals had been hastily eaten, and the chores quickly completed as every Colour Team was excited to start their Amazing Race.
The “Amazing Race” began by having two members of each Colour team paddle a canoe from the camp dock to a neighbouring beach, where they were met by the remaining four or five Colour team members who helped carry the canoe through the bush back to the starting point. After hurriedly putting the canoe into the rack and returning the paddles and life jackets into the shed, each team rushed off to the next race station, called “Knots”, where each team had to untie knots on a rope using only one hand.  The “Knots” activity was followed by five additional race stations:
  • Cotton Nose where cotton balls had to be transferred from one end of a table to another using their noses and petroleum jelly. (no video of this part)
  • Shaving Cream & Cereal
  • Box Challenge
  • Cookie Face where a cookie from their forehead had to move to their mouth by twitching their face. (no video of this part)
  • Human Ladder where a camper walks across wooden dowels held by the rest of the team’s members.
All team members raced to the dock and jumped into the lake when the race was finished.
This exciting “Amazing Race” was followed by a rather solemn gathering around a campfire.
Each camper and counsellor had a turn to deliver kudos such as expressing gratitude or admiration of those who had made their days at camp special. The evening ended around 10:30 PM, with hot chocolate, served in the dining hall.
The next morning, after breakfast, everyone gathered in the Rec Hall.
Each camper received a certificate for their RYLA Camp attendance and got to take down their “shineys” (notes from other campers about what they liked about you) off the walls of the hall to take home.
Receiving Certificate
A group picture completed the experience.
As the campers prepared to board the buses that would return them to their homes, there were many hugs of tearful goodbyes to the new friends each camper had met at RYLA camp.