Rotary Youth Leadership Camp in Stephenville

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Submitted by Burton Smith of Rotary Club of Stephenville

“RYLA” (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) four-day summer camp has made its move this week from Texas Women’s University where it had been held for the past 19 years to Tarleton State University and Stephenville.  Over 150 high school juniors and seniors, counselors and Rotary staff from Rotary District 5790 of North Central Texas arrived Thursday morning at Tarleton for a whirlwind of leadership activities.  (These campers proved to be quite a diverse group of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds from the large cities to the small towns.)


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Photos by DAVID SWEARINGEN

One of the favorite events is the “Mock City Council” where the campers learn about city government from actual city officials, and then they conduct a mock city council meeting where they address a “hot topic”, which for this year was chosen to be a city ordinance that would ban the use of plastic straws.  Those city officials who volunteered their time on a Friday evening to work with these future leaders included Mayor Doug Svien, City Manager Allen Barnes, City Secretary Staci King, Police Chief Jason King, and Councilman Mark McClinton.  

Under the guidance of Stephenville Rotarian Dr. Moumin Quazi, the campers held a lively debate where some of the officials and citizenry advocated passing the ordinance for environmental reasons and others opposed it citing their opposition to governmental overreach.  With such a large group of participants being too much for our city hall chambers, Erath County Judge Alfonso Campos and District Judge Jason Cashon graciously offered the District Courtroom to serve as the venue for the pretend city council meeting, which, by the way, the council decided not to act on the proposed ban until further study was conducted!


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