WEST POINT – Rotarians have long been committed to serving youth in their communities. The work of Rotary is divided into five Avenues of Service. The New Generations Avenue of Service acknowledges the exceptional work that Rotarians do with youth and young adults. It also encompasses a fundamental idea: that every Rotarian has a responsibility to support the personal and professional success of young people while recognizing the diversity of their needs. At the 1996 Rotary International Convention in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Past RI President Luis Vicente Giay coined the term New Generations when he shared his belief that the future of Rotary relied on involving young people in the organization's programs and activities. Giay said: "Our vision for the future, now more than ever, is the difference between success and failure. The New Generations are our investment in the future. Let us begin to build that future today."
Hence, New Generations Service became Rotary's fifth Avenue of Service in 2010. It is defined in article 5 of the Standard Rotary Club Constitution by "recognizing the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities, involvement in community and international service projects, and exchange programs that enrich and foster world peace and cultural understanding."
The Rotary Club of West Point has from its beginning focused much of its energy toward local youth. In that regard, as guests of Rotarian Mark Dorsey, the club was pleased to welcome its sponsored participants in this year's Camp RYLA and Chesapeake Bay Conference.
RYLA is founded on the ideal that the future of Rotary is reliant on the youth of its community. RYLA participants are selected on the basis of academic excellence and their potential to be leaders in their schools and their communities. Relationships developed at past RYLA camps have led to lifelong friendships among many of the participants. The core educational foundation of RYLA is essential in equipping our youth with the necessary experiences, relationships, and knowledge that will foster the development of a responsible citizen. West Point High School's representative this year was Daniel Zwerner who travelled to the camp at Prince William Forest Park in Prince William County from September 27-29. In addition to leadership, teamwork, and citizenship activities with mentors from George Mason University, Daniel also heard guest speakers and participated in a Shelter Box demonstration.
From its beginning more than two decades ago, the Chesapeake Bay Conference has featured unique educational experiences blended with fun, sun and fellowship in a setting focused on the Bay and its estuaries and its vast natural resources. The Rotary Club of Gloucester launched the program in an effort to promote awareness of the importance of the region and to encourage future leaders to be conscious of the need for preservation efforts. West Point High Schools students Sarah Sheffield and Jane Hagen attended this year's conference at Christ Church School on the Rappahannock River in Middlesex County. After a water safety lesson, students were able to kayak the Dragon Run and other Bay estuaries during this week-long summer camp. Students visited the Reedville Fisherman's Museum, a Menhaden fishery, a working boatyard, and-a highlight of the conference-a visit to Tangier Island to interact with the local people. The week was capped off with a crab picking on the Rappahannock River.
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