District 7070 Sets Example: Truth & Reconciliation Integrated into RYLS

Rotary District 7070 has taken a significant step towards empowering youth and fostering a culture of understanding and empathy. For the second year in a row, they have incorporated a two-hour Truth & Reconciliation session into their four-day Rotary Youth Leadership Symposium (RYLS) curriculum.

According to Mark Chipman, the Past District Governor of District 7070, the Rotary Youth Leadership Symposium (RYLS) is an annual event held at the Ganaraska Forest Centre. This transformative program spans over four days and caters to around 30 young individuals aged between 17 and 23. It offers a remarkable learning experience centered around various essential and timely subjects. These topics include Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Group Dynamics, Public Speaking, and Truth & Reconciliation including Indigenous Culture. The RYLS aims to inspire and empower the youth, equipping them with invaluable skills and knowledge for personal growth and leadership development.

John Currie, the Executive Director of HIP, commends Rotary District 7070 for their exceptional efforts in creating a powerful platform that raises awareness and drives positive change. This ground-breaking initiative reflects Rotary’s unwavering commitment to social responsibility and serves as an inspiring example for other service groups to emulate. By undertaking such endeavors, Rotary showcases its dedication to making a significant impact and leaving a lasting legacy in the pursuit of a better world.

Rotary RYLS has long been recognized as a transformative program that equips young leaders with the skills, knowledge, and network necessary to make a difference in their communities. By integrating Truth & Reconciliation sessions, Rotary has elevated the program’s impact to a new level. These sessions provide a safe space for young individuals to learn about historical injustices and confront uncomfortable truths, empowering them to be active participants in creating a more inclusive society.

The Truth & Reconciliation sessions within the RYLS curriculum are carefully designed to promote open dialogue, cultivate empathy, and foster understanding among the participants. Facilitators engage the youth in discussions about the experiences and challenges faced by marginalized communities, shedding light on historical injustices and systemic barriers that persist today. Through these sessions, young leaders gain a deeper appreciation for diversity, fostering a sense of empathy and an awareness of their role in dismantling prejudices.

The impact of incorporating Truth & Reconciliation sessions into the RYLS curriculum goes beyond raising awareness. It serves as a catalyst for inspiring young leaders to become change agents within their communities. Armed with a newfound understanding and compassion, participants are motivated to address inequality, discrimination, and social issues head-on. They leave the program with the tools and determination to effect positive change, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond the confines of the RYLS experience.

“Thanks to the teachings and assistance of Honouring Indigenous Peoples (HIP) and Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) organizations, RYLS participants in the past have had the privilege of delving into the rich and diverse culture and history of our Indigenous peoples in Canada. They have gained valuable insights into the cultural significance of sports, particularly lacrosse,” expressed Mark. “These teachings hold immense importance for Canadian youth, enabling them to expand their knowledge, gain a deeper understanding, and continue their efforts towards Indigenous reconciliation.”

Rotary’s commitment to incorporating Truth & Reconciliation sessions into the RYLS curriculum demonstrates its dedication to creating a more inclusive and equitable society. By encouraging dialogue and education around historical injustices, Rotary is actively contributing to the healing process and working towards reconciliation. This bold initiative sets an example for other service organizations to follow, showcasing how a youth leadership program can effectively raise awareness and influence lasting change.

Inspired by Rotary’s impactful integration of Truth & Reconciliation sessions, other service groups should consider adopting similar practices within their own youth leadership programs. By incorporating these sessions, organizations can foster dialogue, promote understanding, and cultivate empathetic leaders who are equipped to address the complex challenges facing society today. Together, we can create a generation of compassionate change-makers who strive for justice, equality, and reconciliation.