Posted by Jessalyn Lim on Nov 08, 2023
RYLA Oceania hosted their inaugural RYLA Awards on 15 October 2023.
We received 12 nominations, and won 2 of them.
Please follow Read More link fore all the details.
RYLArian Service Above Self
The RYLArian Service Above Self Award celebrates all of the RYLA participants who are doing amazing work with Rotaract, Rotary, or other Rotary Programs.
0-5 years post-RYLA
Sean Mann
Sean has been involved in Rotaract for around three years. He is a passionate member who is always present and willing to help out at events in any way he can. He was the 2022-23 Treasurer for the Rotaract Club of Whitehorse and shows a keen interest in connecting with new prospective members whenever they attend meetings. Sean organises social events for Rotaractors that foster fellowship and has recently expanded that to engage with clubs across the state. He has served on the International Women's Day breakfast committee within his cluster clubs. This year, he joined the RYLA leadership team and continued to contribute positively.
Jessalyn Lim
Jess is a fantastic candidate for this award. She was the 2022-23 President of the Rotaract Club of Monash, and is now the District Rotaract Representative of D9810 for 2023-24. Jess is also involved with Rotaract Australia, the Multi-District Information Organisation, supporting their communications and social media. Jess leads with fantastic knowledge of Rotaract and Rotary in a wider sense. She is always present and involved, attending the Rotary and Rotaract Zone 8 Conference in Canberra last year, the D9810 Conference also in Canberra, and the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne this year. She was pivotal in supporting the social media coverage of the convention. Jess strives towards supporting and encouraging the clubs within her District, and developing connections with clubs and individuals on a wider scale. 
5+ years post RYLA
Kai-Xing Goh
Kai-Xing was an active member of Whitehorse Rotaract for many years. She held numerous board roles and served as District Rotaract Representative. Eventually, Kai-Xing transitioned the Rotary Club of Mont Albert Surrey Hills, where she continues to be an active and dedicated member. Kai-Xing has been a kind, dedicated leader who encourages and supports those around her. She also attended the D9810 Inspire Rotary program that was designed as a sort of Reverse RYLA for Rotarians.
Daniel Du Bois
Daniel was a member of the Rotaract Club of Yarra Ranges for a number of years. He served as deputy District Rotaract Representative before taking a break from Rotaract. He returned, and joined the Rotaract Club of Whitehorse. From here, he has demonstrated all of Rotary's values. Daniel served as secretary in 2020-21, and took on far more than the expected workload, as the President had to step back for personal reasons. He was than co-President of Whitehorse for 2021-22, and co-District Rotaract Representative for 2022-23. With Daniel in these roles, Rotaract in his district has strengthened and thrived. He is a diligent and hardworking member of the Rotary community.
RYLA Leader
The RYLA Leader Award is designed to showcase the incredible work that people are putting in to make their RYLA Programs possible! The RYLA Leaders Award is for all of the leaders, facilitators, mentors, and coordinators.
Amelia Savige and Alice Terrill
Amelia is an incredible RYLA Leader. This year, as the program coordinator alongside Alice, she demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, empowering everyone on the team to step up and have an impact on the program. Her communication skills made working alongside her wonderful. Throughout the week of RYLA, Amelia juggled the roles of Program Coordinator and also being a Colour Group Leader with grace and capability, despite the challenges that always come with holding multiple roles. She also delivered well received presentations about Servant Leadership and Different Leadership Styles.  Prior to this year, Amelia has been a RYLA leader for many years, and it is clear that Amelia is incredibly passionate about RYLA, and does an exceptional job in making our RYLA program the best it can be.
Alice worked tirelessly to make sure that the RYLA program delivered during those 6 days was as beneficial and effective as possible. The activities the participants completed, the speakers they listened to, the entire structure and atmosphere of RYLA was greatly affected by her input. Furthermore, Alice not only affected the participants at RYLA, but also the team leaders and other committee members. Alice ensured that the colour group leaders were prepared and ready to be open, and through this, create a local space, where every night, us participants could discuss and chat freely and in a safe space. Alice assisted all the team leaders in being the best versions of themselves, and helped them inspire and motivate the participants, which was absolutely integral to the week, and resulted in such close connections between the colour groups and their leaders.
RYLA Committee
The RYLA Committee Award is designed to showcase the incredible work that people are putting in to make their RYLA Programs possible! The RYLA Committee Award is for all those who serve on the RYLA board or committee.
Rob Cook
In this year's program, Rob was the designated Rotarian that stayed on-site throughout the week and the RYLA leaders could not have asked for anything else! Rob was a constant calming and kind presence. He was always willing to help out wherever he could, and was often sent on shopping trips to pick things up that the leadership team needed. He was always happy to listen and support, without needing to step in and articulate his own opinion. Rob was a genuine joy to have as the on-site Rotarian, and made everyone's week so much better by being there.
Nigel Cousins
Nigel has led true growth of D9820 RYLA to a successful, youth-led Conference, which is now delivered across 2 districts. He passionately contributes at every level, attending the complete weeks-long conference every year. His skills and knowledge of learning styles and leadership theory have supported our youth leaders as they undertake training in facilitation, group dynamics, personality styles and the actual programming of the week long event. In 2022, the conference had to be cancelled midway through when an outbreak of Covid-19 struck: Nigel, although unwell, worked to ensure all were safely returned to their families. Recently, Nigel has designed a model that would enable an extension of RYLA, honing leadership and staff management skills for past RYLArians for his board to consider.
Andrew Rowse
Andrew served as a RYLA leader for many years up until 2016. Upon the merging of District 9810 and 9820’s RYLA programs last year, he returned and took on the role of program director. He worked tirelessly to deliver the first merged program, which inevitably came with a host of trials. Throughout the week of the 2022 RYLA program, there was a COVID outbreak and they were forced to finish the program early. Andrew handled these challenges with grace and calmness. This year, he encouraged Amelia and Alice to step up as Program coordinators, while he took on the role of advisory board. Throughout the lead up and planning Andrew continued to exemplify the qualities of a RYLA leader, he was supportive of Amelia and Alice, and made the preparation and week less stressful than it otherwise would have been.
District Program Awards
The RYLA Program Awards celebrate District RYLA Programs that are going above and beyond to deliver an incredible experience for their participants.
Best Community Engagement
D9810/9820 Social Impact Pitches (won)
The D9810/9820 RYLA program runs a section called the Social Impact Pitches. This involves hosting an expo that brings in Rotary Clubs and Rotary projects from around their two districts, and gives them an opportunity to showcase what they do to all of the participants. The expo is hosted over morning tea and then lunch, giving the participants and Rotarians ample time to network and learn about each other. After this, participants are put into smaller groups and given one of the projects that was showcased at the expo. They are taken through a social impact framework that allows them to identify areas for improvement in the project and workshop ways in which they can improve/maximise the impact the project is having. Throughout the week, participants are given time to work on this project, and at the end, they present their idea as a pitch to the Rotarians who come to the closing ceremony. There is money included in the RYLA budget to help participants continue to work on these Rotary projects and implement their ideas post-RYLA. This provides meaningful community engagement because it connects participants to an exciting Rotary project and gives them the autonomy to actually have an impact on the project while making connections with the Rotarians involved.
D9810 Inspire Rotary
D9810 created an initiative called Inspire Rotary, a program designed as a RYLA program for Rotarians. The program incorporated speakers in person and online, and saw the participation of around 50 Rotarians for a full day leadership event.
Greatest Improvement or Innovation
D9810/9820 (won)
In 2022, the D9810 and D9820 RYLA programs merged, ahead of the official District merger that will begin at the start of the 2024-25 Rotary year. Naturally, combining two programs comes with a host of teething problems as different ideas and perspectives about how to best run the program clashed. However, as these were slowly worked through and managed, both programs ended up better off for having gone through it. It means that the combined 9810/9820 RYLA program has the best bits of two separate RYLA programs!
Best Alumni Engagement
D9810/9820 engage with their RYLA alumni to have them return as guest speakers. In this year's program, they had one speaker who was a participant in 2018, leader in 2019, and in 2022 returned to present on diversity, equity and inclusion. They had another couple who first attended RYLA many years ago and were involved on the leadership team for a significant time. Engaging with RYLA alumni as guest speakers is beneficial to the alumni because it gives them the opportunity to stay connected to this incredible program without having to commit the hours and months that being a part of the leadership team takes. It is also awesome because it gives them a platform to trial workshops and sessions they want to run, but might not have the opportunity to elsewhere. Engaging with alumni as speakers also benefits the participants because the speakers have been in their exact position before, and can tailor their content with a better understanding of the RYLA program.
Congratulations to all involved for winning the two District Program Awards!