On Global Youth Leadership: From Toronto to Washington, D.C.

Posted by Garima on July 28, 2016

Inside Perspectives

A few weeks ago I shed some “club spotlight” on an organization called the Rotaract Club of York University. As an executive member of this organization, I had a sponsored opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., from July 19 to July 24 for a global conference. This conference, called Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, North America (RYLA NA), brought together delegates from more than 40 different countries for a week full of learning, friendship and fun.

Now that I have returned from my trip and a day of much-needed sleep, I thought I would bring the highlights of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the readers of the YUBlog.

Nota bene: The majority of this conference took place at George Washington University — which I have to say, is one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen — and consisted of workshops, keynotes, visits to historical locations, socials and more.

Visit to the Capitol & Library of Congress

One of the most memorable parts of the trip was our visit to the Capitol and Library of Congress.  The Capitol — which is known as the symbol of the American people and their government — was a treasure to discover with its various statues and pieces of art. The Library of Congress, on the other hand, was constructed with the most beautiful architectural techniques I’ve seen in my life.

Excursion to French & Venezuelan Embassies

On two of the five nights, we had the opportunity to visit two embassies — the Embassy of France and the Embassy of Venezuela — and learn about their respective cultures through a focused lens.

Representing Canada & the Rotaract Club of York University

Because this was a global conference, delegates had an opportunity to represent their countries and clubs throughout the conference. This included the “International Hour to Remember” — a cultural fashion and talent show — and a club expo.

Masquerade Ball

The masquerade ball was part of the closing ceremonies of RYLA NA and included the Mr. & Miss RYLA competition, dancing, pictures, food and more. This was one of my favourite nights of the whole trip.

And while these are a few snapshots of my week in D.C., there were many other memorable moments during the trip. Other parts of the trip included:

  • Visit to the White House;
  • Workshops and plenary sessions;
  • Low ropes & team-building activities;
  • Eating chipotle;
  • Winning the RYLA NA Social Media Competition;
  • The most intense game of Monopoly I have ever played;
  • Winning Rotary’s Next Global Campaign Competition (Go Team Dipolog!);
  • And of course, meeting people from around the world!

I hope you all enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. Despite the 40+ degree weather and the 60 per cent humidity, this was one of the best trips I have ever taken: not only did I get to visit the beautiful and historical capital of Washington but I made friends from around the globe (with invitations to visit their respective countries!) and improved my collaboration, leadership and communication skills. Because of this, I would like to thank the Rotaract Club of YorkU for this opportunity, as well as the RYLA NA board members for making it possible!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about my trip, feel free to leave a comment below or tweet us @YorkUStudents with the #YUBLOG.


Garima is a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Student at YorkU . She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Garima

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