Rotary Youth Leadership Awards – RYLA Conference opened
With the participation of 124 Intercators and other Youth Leaders, RYLA was declared open last Thursday Evening by Assistant District 7020 Governor James Ferris. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Minister Silveria Jacobs and District Governor Vance Lewis offered the young leaders words of welcome and encouragement before wishing them a successful conference on St. Maarten. The evening continued after the formalities with dinner and followed by a dynamic presentation by Psychologist  Ms. Giselle Hilliman who spoke on the topic of “Understanding Different Behavioral Styles.  

Gisella S. Hilliman, MA is a multi-talented young professional, and one of St Maarten's rising young leaders.  Gisella holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Temple University, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and a Masters degree from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, in Boston, Massachusetts. Her presentation engaged the participants to seriously evaluate their own personalities and those around them in an attempt to recognize how they themselves and others would react to a particular situation. The topic which set the tone for the rest of the conference which bears the theme “leadership and Peace through cultural diversity” was followed by an Ice Breaking Activity which built on the dinner theme. David McGregor  Director and Trainer of TDC truly broke the ice as participants from Anguilla, St. Kitts, Tortola, Jamaica and St. Maarten took part in an exercise which challenged them to not look at each other in the eyes and remember as many as 20 names, of persons they had never met before, within 20 minutes. The challenge of not looking each other in the eyes failed terribly as clearly in our culture this is not customary. As for remembering names, based on an honor system the winner of this exercise was victorious with claiming to have remembered 18 names. Before lights out on the first night a final treat of ice cream was given as the following morning at 6:30 Patti Panthophlet would set the pace for the day with Zumba.

The Youth conference which is taking place at the MAC school in St. John’s Estate will end on Sunday afternoon. The varied topics discussed will be facilitated at the University of St. Maarten and at the MAC school.

 For more on RYLA 2013 go to and our facebook page.