Model UN, RYLA and The 4-Way Speech Contest
Youth Services is very important to our clubs and District.  We offer many programs to help develop our young people.  Youth is certainly an area of focus for each club.
Over the next few weeks, some very significant youth programs will be reaching a crescendo.  When you read this Sunday morning, the Model UN conference will be drawing to a close.
RYLA will take place virtually on April 17th.
The 4-Way Speech Contest is now through the sub-regional round heading toward the regional rounds; culminating with the finals on April 29th.
Let’s take a look at these transformative programs we offer to create a better future. 
Model UN
This year we have 52 teams of two students per team participating in Model United Nations. These students are from our District and beyond.  Some of the teams are from outside the United States which makes this conference truly international.
The students grow in their knowledge of the subject matter and present strong reasons why their positions should be accepted.  At the same time they learn to collaborate and build consensus.
These kids are guided and advised by volunteer Rotarians who support this project and keep the kids on track.
The truly great thing about Model UN is that it mirrors what actually happens in UN sessions.  This year two resolutions were debated and discussed:
1.  COVID-19 vaccination distribution; and 
2.  Climate change and human resilience.
Pretty current and topical.  Pretty relevant.
So, what is the connection between Rotary and the United Nations that inspired this program in our District?
In April 1945, with World War II winding to a close, the world sought a peaceful resolution to such conflicts.  Never again.
In San Francisco an international conference was held to establish what we now know as the United Nations.  And, Rotary was there from the beginning to serve as consultants and advisers.  Eleven Rotarians offered their opinions and judgment in shaping the United Nations.  As a result of these efforts, Rotary was granted consultive status.  Today, only Rotary and the Red Cross are non-voting members of the UN.
Part of Rotary’s overall mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace.
By providing this Model UN, we give the forum for young people to develop the skills of diplomacy, negotiation, listening and considering differing points of view and team building.  All important qualities to have as leaders going forward in life.
We are indebted to Pauline Lim-Andresen of the Downtown Breakfast club for marshaling this wonderful program for so many to learn from.
Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by our District.  High school senior and junior  students develop their skills as leaders, while having fun and making personal connections.  
These students connect with the peer leaders in their community and around the world to build communication.  They learn problem-solving techniques and discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leaders.  Community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors present and unlock their potential.
Normally, RYLA is a three-day leadership conference held in Idyllwild, California.  Students are sponsored by their Rotary club, so there is no cost to the students.  Students apply online working with their school guidance counselors and the sponsoring clubs.
With over 600 student applications only about 300 will be selected.  The Rotary club members interview the students before making final  selections. 
The program begins at Friday at 12 noon and continues through 2 pm Sunday.  The students frequently express how great the leadership learning is at RYLA.  They just don’t want to leave when it’s over.  
Speakers from around the world come to RYLA donating their time for the weekend.  They talk and share with the students.  Ten to twelve students return each year as RYLA alumni (seniors), participating with the students and introducing the speakers.  Students teaching students promotes leadership skills that they will use throughout their lives.
This year because of the COVID pandemic RYLA will not be in person.  Rather, a half-day, online event called Leadership Now! powered by RYLA will happen virtually on Saturday, April 17th. 
This program offers a one-of-a-kind, intensive and highly interactive experience, featuring several of RYLA’s most popular leadership speakers.
A big thank you to Michael Metts of the Carlsbad Hi Noon club for chairing RYLA the past few years.
The 4-Way Speech Contest
The District’s 4-Way Speech Contest is now under way.  The Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest is a tradition carried on in districts around the world as well as here in 5340.
Our District allows each club to sponsor students from high schools in their areas.  The club selects a winner or winners to go on and compete at sub-regional contests.  The judging is based on various factors such as originality, delivery, presentation, sincerity and passion.  Most importantly, the students must apply the 4-Way Test to their subject matter. 
Winners from sub-regionals then compete in regional contests.  Those who succeed compete at the District Finals hosted by San Diego Rotary Club (Club 33).  
Cash prizes are awarded at every level.  The sub-regionals and regionals are funded by the sponsoring clubs.  At the District Finals the prize money is paid by the District.
This 4-Way Speech Contest supports the mission of Rotary which encourages young people to join an Interact club, a Rotaract club and hopefully one day to become a Rotarian.  
After each contest, no matter how close the  judging is, or how different the topics are, everyone is heartened to see such thoughtful and  intelligent young people focusing on the Rotary 4-Way Test. 
In the recent past, all the sub-regionals, regionals and finals were held in person at the host club meetings.  This year all the contests were held by zoom.  These kids showed natural charisma presenting their speeches in front of the camera.  Great stuff.
A huge thank you to Nancy Vaughan of the Downtown Breakfast club for organizing and mobilizing this year’s 4-Way Speech Contest.
We should all be proud of the work we are doing with these programs that focuses on our young people - our future.