Rotary Youth Leadership Awards by Kieran Cushing

2016-01-13 10:50:22 | Uncategorized

My name is Kieran Cushing. I am 19 years old and live just outside of Norwich.

The Rotary group of Blackfriars Norwich very kindly fully funded me to take part in a 7 day Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) week at Grafham Water Centre in Huntington in September 2015.  The aim of RYLA is to help develop young people’s leadership skills, communication skills, problem solving and confidence levels.

Before I went on the course I never wanted to do any public speaking. I also had a big fear of heights and water but I approached these fears by taking them in small steps.

During the public speaking exercise I was part of a team who all supported each other. My role was to design an action figure called Danger Dan. I was responsible for the size of the product along with its cost and main function. I spoke in front of 60 plus people for 2 minutes on this. I felt terrified to start with but became more calm and confident as I spoke. We had questions and answers and a feedback session at the end. Feedback I received said that I came across clearly and with confidence.KC1

I overcame my fear of heights and water by watching my teammates complete these types of activities first. I then did small parts of the task step by step. By the end I completed abseiling, wall climbing and high wires as well as sailing, canoeing and kayaking.

I would like to thank all the people at The Rotary, in particular Ian Elliott, for being so supportive about my concerns before the trip and also giving me a lift to RLYA in Huntington. My advice to anyone who is thinking of doing this course is ‘do it – as it’s the best thing I have ever done’. I made new friends, took part in activities I had never done before, spent time away from home and had expert trainers leading sessions including from the police, fire service and other various business experts.

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