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RYLA, (Rotary Youth Services Awards)
The RYLA Program is designed to help high school students develop and improve their leadership skills. Over 150 students from high schools throughout the North Bay counties annually attend this program.
Participants have completed their Junior Year, and will be assuming leadership positions and responsibilities during their Senior Year at their respective high schools. This week long residential program is held in June at a camp in the redwoods near Occidental. There the students engage in workshops emphasizing collaborative leadership, communication skills, conflict resolution, and management of such issue as bullying.
Participants often note that the best part of the RYLA experience is spending a week with other high energy, focused, and like minded peers with many diverse interests. Friendships established during RYLA usually continue during the students’ high school senior year, and sometimes become lifelong connections.
Each year the Rotary Clubs of Healdsburg send up to four students from Healdsburg High School to the RYLA Program with all their program expenses fully paid.
Named by the student participants, Freedom Day is a one day event held annually in May at the City facility Villa Chanticleer. All graduating seniors from Healdsburg High School are encouraged to attend.
This program is designed to provide helpful information about important topics that the students will need to deal with after graduation. Many of these issues are not discussed in depth in their high school classes.
Following a rousing pep talk often conducted by local elected official and Rotarian, Mike McGuire, the students then attend three separate workshops on such topics as money management, defensive driving, renting an apartment, dealing with roommates and landlords, social media, and how to get a job.
After lunch, the boys meet with a local police officer who leads an informal discussion about the legal rights of a young adult, and what specific actions/activities to avoid. The girls learn some basic self defense tactics and moves. They then have an opportunity to practice these skills on each other.
Each year the Rotary Club of Healdsburg works closely with the Healdsburg High staff to develop and organize this program. The Club also provides a barbeque lunch for the 140 to 150 student participants.
Career Choices Panels
During each school year, the HH Rotary Club of Healdsburg and AAUW (American Association of University Women) organize several Career Choices Panels for Healdsburg High School students.
The panels include local professionals from a specific field. Drawing on their own personal experiences, they lead discussions with the students about careers, unique opportunities, and the education or training required to be successful in their profession. Often the panelists are from local businesses in Healdsburg or Sonoma County.
Panel topics have included Culinary Arts, Careers in the Law, Computer Science, Financial Services, Engineering, Science & Mathematics, Sports/Business Communications, Public Safety and Public Utilities, Health Care, Green Technology, Graphic Arts & Computer Design, and Automotive Technology and Repairs.Usually 40 to 60 students will attend each of the 12 panels.