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RYLA camp: It can be the highlight of your summer

This past summer, I was able to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Leadership Camp at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. It was the highlight of my summer, and I learned more about myself than ever before.

This past summer, I was able to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Leadership Camp at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. It was the highlight of my summer, and I learned more about myself than ever before.

RYLA is a program that provides leadership training and is a Rotary-sponsored camp. At RYLA, campers (RYLArians) learn not only how to be a leader but how to become a better person as well. You get to listen to awesome speakers, partake in discussion groups with the whole camp and learn how to work with other teens from around the region.

When I went to RYLA, I had heard that it was one of the best experiences to be able to go through, and I had high expectations. My experience went above and beyond my expecta-tions, and I learned so much about what it takes to be a good leader. We were taught the "Four-Way Test," which helps you differentiate the difference between a good decision and a bad one. You can use this strategy to decide on some difficult decisions, and I know its helped me make some decisions.

The Four-Way Test asks you:

- Is it the truth?

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- Is it fair to all concerned?

- Will is build good will and better friendships?

- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Something else that is taught at RYLA, are the "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey. We studied and discussed all of the habits, and it was great to hear so many other people's point of view.

The seven habits are:

- Be proactive.

- Begin with the end in mind.

- Put first things first.

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- Think Win/Win.

- Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

- Synergize.

- Sharpen the saw.

Both these concepts are still with me today, but the relationships I built with my friends that I met there are what impacted me the most. I had roommates and friends from all over Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and even Canada. I was allowed to hear the point of view of other people that I never would have gotten the opportunity to meet.

If you're interested in attending RYLA, contact your local Rotary or go to www.campryla.org ] www.campryla.org for more information.

Cymbaluk, 17, is a senior at Crookston High School.

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