S of O Student Completes Rotary Academy

Madeline Sparks, School of the Ozarks student and RYLA attendee, with Inez Gibbs, Secretary of the Branson Daybreakers Rotary Club. (photo by Mark Parent)
Madeline Sparks, School of the Ozarks student and RYLA attendee, with Inez Gibbs, Secretary of the Branson Daybreakers Rotary Club. (photo by Mark Parent)

Madeline Sparks of the School of the Ozarks completes the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) held at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. Sparks was awarded a scholarship to attend the academy by the Branson Daybreakers Rotary Club as part of their commitment to developing leaders with a heart for service within the community.

The RYLA Academy is a three and a half day program that includes an introduction to Rotary’s “Service Above Self” philosophy and youth programs, a personality self-assessment, team activities (including a professional team challenge ropes course), and instruction/direction in service leadership based on Rotary’s foundational principles of service.

The primary goal for the RYLA Academy is to teach students how to develop and administer a quality service project, following the Rotarian guiding core values. Leaders work with students who have hearts and minds focused on service. Students are chosen on the basis of their desire to be there, their willingness to participate fully, and their commitment to come home from the academy ready to serve.

The participants leave the experience with a renewed or enlarged sense of purpose, new friends, and the confidence to return to his or her high school and community with an awareness of the importance and impact of service leadership. They leave with established personal goals for their future life of service.

RYLA is a Rotary International program that has been offered inMissourifor the past 20 years. Professional educator-counselors, motivational presenters, and outstanding Rotarians make up the faculty.

Sparks visited a meeting of the Branson Daybreakers to share her story about her experience at the RYLA academy and how she plans to use the skills she learned.

If you would like to be a part of what the Branson Daybreakers are doing to serve our community and the world through Rotary, please join us. We meet on Thursdays at 7 a.m. at the Golden Corral on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in Branson.

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