Around 70 future leaders have graduated from the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.

The week-long live-in course, held at Wahroonga, is a mind-opening course for young adults aged 18 to 27.

Northern Beaches Rotary Clubs sponsored six students – Amelia Bates (Rotary Belrose), Ivey Chedid and Elena Anceva (Rotary Balgowlah and Warringah) and Laura Cree, Declan McLerie and Briann Sten (Rotary Upper Northern Beaches).

The program aims to inspire Australia’s next generation of leaders.

The intensive program had inspiring speakers, complex challenges and activities, all designed to upskill our future leaders.

The course is run by previous RYLA graduates and is supported by existing Rotary community leaders.

The amazing speakers who took time out of their busy lives to talk to them included TEN newsreader, journalist and foreign correspondent Hugh Riminton; former South Sudanese child soldier, now a lawyer and refugee advocate, and 2017 NSW Australian of the Year Deng Adut; MLA and dual Paralympian (basketball and sailing) gold medallist Liesl Tesch AM, Shane Fitzsimmons AO AFSM; former Head of Resilience NSW and the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, former Detective Superintendent and “gangbuster” Deborah Wallace and Australian Army veteran Shane Healey.


Ivey Chedid described RYLA as “exceptional and genuinely life-changing”


As well as these wonderful speakers, RYLA provided a range of activities that quickly broke down barriers and fostered teamwork, cooperation, inclusivity and crisis management.

“Meeting 70 young adults with similar aims and leadership focus has given me a range of contacts in many fields – RYLArians are great at keeping in touch,” Ivey said.

Ivey is President of Northern Beaches Rotaract, for adults aged 18 to 30 interested in creating positive change in their community, so they will put new skills into practice, with several fellow RYLArians planning to join.

The next Rotaract meeting was held at The Diggers, Freshwater, on 5 February.

Contact via social media pages under @rotaractnb, as well as the email

After a career as a journalist and media and communications specialist Liz McDougall has chosen to commit to voluntary work, locally and overseas, with Rotary.