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RYLA campers speak to Rotarians

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Latest

Raquel Moreno and Brycen Williams spoke at the Farmersville Rotary meeting Tuesday, June 4, about their experience at the Rotary Youth Leadership Association (RYLA) camp.

Raquel Moreno and Brycen Williams are two young Farmersville students whose lives are now changed after spending a week in a program sponsored by Rotary International.

The two of them recently returned from a weeklong camp in Midlothian, where they attended the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Association (RYLA).

Raquel and Brycen brought their message to the Farmersville Rotary Club Tuesday, June 4. After their brief presentation, a Rotarian asked if they would go back to which they swiftly answered in unison that they “would go back tomorrow.”

The students are both are entering their senior years at Farmersville High School. Raquel is the daughter of Maria and Manuel Moreno; Brycen’s parents are Mitzi and Donnie Williams. Raquel specializes in audio-visual production at FHS, while also working on the regular newscast. Brycen is the head drum major for the Fighting Farmers’ marching band. Raquel said she enjoys reading and Brycen spends his off time riding a mountain bike.

Their introduction to Camp RYLA was a bit frightening at first, they both said. “People were screaming at us,” Brycen said, “and we had no clue where stuff was or where it belonged.”

“We were all strangers when we got there,” Raquel said, “but then they showed us where our cabins were.”

They soon settled into their week which included games and activities designed to promote leadership among the students.

 Raquel said the camp this year included 198 students from throughout Rotary District 5810.

Brycen joked about a “crazy hat day,” which allowed attendees to don goofy-looking hats and perform what he called “runway walks” in front of other campers.

What did Raquel and Brycen gain from this event? They said they learned how to “talk to others.”

Raquel called the week a “life changer,” and said she learned about how to be a mentor to those who need guidance.

RYLA was established in 1991. Each camp features return visits from past RYLA participants, who go back to act as advisers to the staffers who work at the camp.

As for whether the latest FHS participants plan to return in that capacity… don’t bet against it.

The Farmersville Rotary Club meets Tuesday at noon at the O.C. Carlisle Civic Center. Those interested in joining may call club president Jason Gomez at 972- 784-6011.

For more stories about the Farmersville community see the next print, or digital edition of The Farmersville Times. Subscribe today and support local journalism.

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