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Nine Tehachapi students selected to attend RYLA!


Nine THS Students attending RYLA! (l to r) Jared Marquez, Kirsten Kabonic, Lani Ringle, Kira Beaudin, Clarissa Castillo, Reilly Moomey, Eric Bilotta. (Not pictured – Evelyn Yang and Nancy Moreno)

The Rotary Club of Tehachapi is thrilled to be able to send nine Tehachapi High School students to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in Ojai, Calif, April 23-26. RYLA is a leadership camp designed especially for the future leaders of our community. During their four days in Ojai, these nine young people will participate in classes ranging from "Goal Setting" to "Team Building". They will have the opportunity to work on their presentation skills as they participate in classes about public speaking. A ropes course teaches them about team work and trust and learning the benefits of challenging oneself to take risks in order to grow. They will meet students from around the world as well as students from local Rotary District, 5240, which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and all of Kern County.  Key Note speakers will be there every evening to inspire and encourage them. Emmanuel Gentinetta will share his experiences of riding his bicycle from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America the summer after he graduated high school. His journey opened up an entirely new world and career for him and he is back to share his experiences and talk about goals and how to achieve them.

Twelve Rotary International Exchange students will be participating. These students are from Spain, Argentina, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Belgium, Ecuador, Thailand, Italy and Austria. Rotary plays host to exchange students every year while also sending students from our own District to spend a year abroad. The Rotary Youth Exchange program is one of the very best ways for students to participate in global exchanges. The costs are minimal for the student (and parent) who participates, and the education is invaluable. If someone in your family might be interested in being a part of Youth Exchange, have them contact a local Rotarian for a full explanation of the program.

Rotary is so much more than simply a local service organization. Our outreach is global and our commitment to our youth and the future is absolute. The Interact Club is supported by Rotary at Tehachapi High School with Adam Whittier acting as the faculty sponsor. This is the club that was responsible for planting 4500 daffodil bulbs all around town.

Members have helped with local projects including the Rotary Holiday Luncheon for our Senior Citizens, road clean-ups and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. After graduation, many of our local students stay in Tehachapi while they attend college. These students have formed a Rotaract Club in Tehachapi that is both a way for them to stay in touch and socialize with their peers as well as continue to participate in community service projects.

Ian McCool is the current president and they meet once a month at Thrive, in Old Town, to socialize and plan their upcoming projects. Both the Tehachapi Rotaract Club and the Tehachapi Interact Club have a Facebook page, so check them out for further information.

The goal of Interact, Rotaract and Rotary is "Service Above Self". For Rotarians, it is about service, both locally and globally. Here in Tehachapi we have been able to reach out to polio survivors in India, as we participated in a Global Grant through our own District to provide help for people in India who have had polio and survived, but now need assistance in their everyday lives.

We have helped to support an orphanage in Tijuana, providing money for furniture and a new water heater, as well as clothing and help with daily expenses. Members of the club have also traveled to Mexico to help an indigenous people, the Cucapa, rebuild after the earthquake several years ago that brought up geysers of water full of sulfur that decimated their crops.

The Rotary Club of Tehachapi is proud to play a part in educating and encouraging young people to give back to their communities. For information on any of these three Rotary groups, please contact the Rotary Club of Tehachapi at (661) 821-0086.


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