Every year the Townsend Rotary Club send 4-6 high school students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy for a week long leadership training camp. The students participate in a variety of events designed to develop their leadership skills. Every attendee has come back home very happy with the time they spend at RYLA and feel it was truly a life changing event.
This year Grace McDonnell, Olivia Lynn, TJ Steele, Ronnie Steele, Daniel Wyse, Taylor Noyes, Tyler Noyes and Parker Hufnagel decided to form an Interact Club at the High School. Interact is a Rotary sponsored organization dedicated to service to the school, the students and the local community.
The members of the new Interact Club recognized that some of the high school students have difficulty in forming relationships with the other students and “fitting in” the high school society. That lack of feeling like they belong is definitely a contributing factor in decisions to drop out of high school.
The Interact members decided this was an issue they wanted to take on and change the environment at the school to help ALL students . The Interact members decided to bring the RYLA experience to this year’s Freshman class in a team building event designed to break down social barriers among the students.
The Interact members worked with the school administration and local organizations to raise the money to bring in a professional team from Billings to facilitate the team building. The Interact members visited Rotary, BCDC and submitted grant applications to the Broadwater Community Foundation to raise money for the event. Then they arranged with the team from Billings to come to Townsend on Jan 9th for a half day event and arranged with Tina Edelblut to use the old Masonic Hall as the venue for the event.
The night before the event, the Interact Club met with the team from Billings and with community volunteers to setup at the Masonic Hall and to define exactly how the event would be structured. It is important to note that it was the Interact Members who were leading this effort with the adult volunteers there to help setup and find out what their tasks would be.
On the day of the event, the Interact Members gathered the Freshman Class at the High School and escorted them to the Masonic Hall. The facilitating team from Billings ran the event, but the Interact Members were a strong presence in mentoring the Freshman Class and providing the leadership among the high school students.
The Team Building exercise was a total success! In the beginning, the Freshman attending the event were puzzled as to why they were there and some of them were slow to fully join in the process. By the end of the event ALL of the students were fully engaged and participating and interacting with each other. It was clear they were all having enjoying the event.
The adult volunteers there to help with setup, cleanup and feeding the students also enjoyed the entire event. It was amazing to see how all of the participants felt bonded in the experience.
This Team Building event is what is right about Townsend! There are so many elements here to be proud of:
- The group of students forming an Interact Club dedicated to serving the high school, the students and the community
- The Townsend School Administration recognizing the value of what the Interact Members were doing and helping to make the event happen
- The local organizations (Rotary, BCDC, Broadwater Community Foundation), who all contributed funds to make the event a reality
- The local volunteers who gave up an evening to help setup for the event and gave up a full day of their time to help with the many tasks and cleanup of the event
- Tina Edelblut who donated the use of the Masonic Hall at no cost to hold the event
We can all be proud of the students who conceived of the Team Building event and worked so hard to make it happen. They are truly leaders now and in the future!
To visit a photo gallery of the event click on Interact 2018 Team Building Photo Gallery