What to expect

Hear from our past participants

The best people to talk about what to expect on RYLA are the people who have completed the programme. They have stood in your shoes deciding to go on RYLA and wondering what they will get out of a programme like this.

Below are the thoughts about the RYLA programme from past years participants, their advice to people thinking about applying or to the applicants who have been accepted and are about to attend themselves.

Tom Hutton

RYLA will take you on a journey of teamwork and personal growth, and will challenge your limits. It’s one of the best ways you can spend a week if there is something, anything, that you want to achieve in life. OR if, like I was, you’re feeling somewhat directionless at the moment.

The programme at RYLA is diverse, with something for everyone. You’ll work within teams, share with those around you, listen to a range of truly inspirational and engaging speakers, and take part in all manner of dynamic activities RYLA offers.

Your RYLA journey will be intense and the best thing you can do to be prepared is be ready to throw yourself into it. That means being well rested, and also being ready to stretch your comfort zone and contribute as much as you can to the programme. Whether that’s sharing with a large group, engaging in one on one conversations, or giving 100% in the interactive activities. The more you’re able to put in the more you can get back out.

Fortunately if you’re a little hesitant at first the people you meet will be there to support you. The blue team (organising team) bring such an amazing positive culture to the course, and the other participants you meet will be your inspiration and your passion throughout the course and throughout your post RYLA life. With such an amazing collection of people sharing the RYLA experience I can almost guarantee you will come out of it with friends and cheerleaders who will be with you for life.

He aha te mea nui o te ao

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Hannah Brightley

RYLA, five inspirational days of personal development, team building, fun and laughter! For me three main things made RYLA the type of experience you walk away from thinking “take me back, I want to do more!”

  1. You will get to meet 40 fellow inspirational young people, an enthusiastic Blue Team (organising committee) and an experienced group of speakers. You can learn something new from all of these people and most importantly they become your support network/cheerleaders not just on the course, but also in your endeavours following RYLA.
  2. There are so many different activities that everyone will be challenged in one way or another, whether it is overcoming your own fear or learning how to support your teammate to overcome theirs.
  3. The programme is carefully catered to include a variety of teaching techniques and spreads these over the five days, so no one day is the same and you remain constantly engaged (and surprised).

So before you come to RYLA, make sure you are well rested and have a lot of energy, as it’s a full on, but rewarding week. Come with a few ideas on what you want to achieve over the next year or two, this can be anything from aiming to stay fit and healthy during your first year of university, to starting your own business.

Coming with these ideas, a willingness to get involved and to meet new people will see you get the most out of RYLA!

Josh Chandulal-Mackay

Congratulations! - If you're thinking of applying to participate in the RYLA experience then you're showing proactivity, you're demonstrating that you want to grow, to develop your skill-set, to extend your networks, to challenge and to be challenged.

I participated in the RYLA programme in January, and even though it's only been a couple of months, thinking about RYLA brings about the odd combination of a smile, and a lump in my throat. Put simply, this experience has been one of the most enhancing and rewarding periods in my life and I'm incredibly grateful to the Whanganui Rotary Club for offering me the opportunity to take part.

At the outset, a person who succeeds in the RYLA programme needs to be someone who commits fully from the get go. You should be open to meeting new people, expanding your networks, supporting other participants and embracing challenging situations.

The RYLA programme is designed to accommodate your strengths and abilities and will also allow you to develop new ones. If you're a singer you can sing, if you're a dancer you can dance, if you're an actor you can act. Your abilities will be essential to the success of your group throughout the programme, over a range of challenges based indoors, outdoors, and within the community - every day is different!

Your RYLA programme will be dynamic and engaging, with a suite of activities provided by expert presenters that engage and interact with you over each session. There will be times when you might feel challenged or unsure of how best to approach an activity - you'll be supported by both the other participants and your leadership team and if you're anything like me, you'll leave the course feeling both exhausted and energised after an action-packed and rewarding programme.