RYLA 2023-24

May 30, 2024 | District Initiatives | 0 comments

When my president first introduced RYLA to me, I was very excited to represent my club and create meaningful friendships with fellow Rotaractors. Since RYLA was scheduled to be held at Action Park Hanwella, I knew it was going to be a very adventurous and exciting experience.

On the 4th of May, I headed over to the racecourse alone, as I was the only one representing my club. However, I wasn’t alone for long, as I started making friends right from the pickup point. Once we arrived at the location, we were welcomed by the amazing organizing committee of RYLA 2024 chaired by Rtr. Salman and Rtr. Ahmed.

The opening ceremony commenced, and the Rotaract formalities, as well as welcome addresses by the DRR Sathma Jayasinghe, the DIR, and other distinguished guests, took place. 

Following the briefing, we were given our official T-shirts and were asked to get into our tracksuits before heading to the playground to start the warm-up. Later, we were divided into eight teams consisting of both Interactors and Rotaractors, and the official group photo was taken.

The first main activity was Synergy Speak. For this activity, each team had to form a circle and hold hands to create a chain. We were asked to actively listen to the commands of Mr. Chandana, CEO of Action Park, and react accordingly. The commands were ‘jump in,’ ‘jump out,’ ‘jump left,’ and ‘jump right. 

To everyone’s surprise, our team was able to be in sync on almost every occasion. When asked how our team performed, I, being the leader of our team, simply said that we performed correctly and that nothing went wrong. Meanwhile, all the other teams had genuine reasons for not performing in sync.

Later, Mr. Chandana then made things more difficult by asking us to do the opposite of his commands. Even though we came up with numerous strategies on how to tackle this, like all the other teams, we too failed towards the end. 

This activity was a great eye-opener for all of us and highlighted the importance of active listening and good communication, which are critical traits of a good leader.

Then we moved on to the next activity, Delega Craft. This activity highlighted the importance of understanding the principles, processes, and methods of delegation. 

Other activities, such as Innova Spark and Trust Bridge, also emphasized the importance of teamwork and delegation and brought everyone in the team together.

After the lunch break, we participated in Multiline Travers and the Aerial rope course. At first, we were all afraid of Multiline Travers, where we had to walk between two trees with the help of a rope and a harness. However, we trusted the harness, the rope, and each other, climbed the tree, and made it across to the next tree very easily. 

In contrast, The aerial rope was a much easier activity that we were looking forward to, and the instructors highlighted the importance of such activities in case of an emergency.

Then we were given air rifles for a shooting activity. We were given only three bullets, and every shot had to count. Luckily, I was able to hit the target with two of my bullets.

Later, we went on a small hike that took us to the top of a rock where we could spot the Lotus Tower all the way from Hanwella. We all took a moment to relish and unwind during this breathtaking moment, particularly because we were all exhausted after the day’s events. The instructor gave insightful information about an ancient tunnel that ran directly from this rock to a temple.

We ended the day with BBQ dinner with DJ and bonfire. The combination of delicious food, great music, and the cozy atmosphere of the bonfire created a perfect ending to an eventful day.

Since we had already covered most of the activities scheduled for both days within the first day itself, we had plenty of time for the remaining activities, which included the most anticipated events of RYLA 2024: white-water rafting and the zip line.

The second day started with a more extensive set of exercises compared to the first day. Then we headed over to Kelani River to engage in flat-water rafting. Even though paddling was a bit challenging, the view and the experience made it all worthwhile. As we paddled towards the end, we spotted the zip line across the river, which made us even more excited for the upcoming activity.

After reaching the destination, we were taken to the zip line. I had been afraid of zip lining since I was a kid due to the fear of heights. However, the harness and the protective equipment provided reassured me. When it was finally my turn, I was very excited to go on the zip line, enjoy the view, and engage in such an adventurous activity while over coming my fears. After reaching the end of the line, I wanted to go again—that’s how thrilling it was. The moment itself cannot be described in words. 

After the zip line, we officially concluded the scheduled activities for RYLA 2024 and then headed over to the campsite for lunch. After lunch, we waited for the other teams to complete their activities and finally left Action Park with memories we will cherish for a lifetime.

RYLA 2024 helped me overcome my fear of heights and was very successful in highlighting key elements of good leadership. RYLA was a life-changing experience that I will share with my fellow Rotaractors in the years to come.

Written by: Rtr. Akila Weerasuriya

Graphic design by: Rtr. Akila Weerasuriya

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