Students, club reasons to be proud of Chilton County

Published 3:20 pm Friday, March 16, 2012

Any Chilton County resident knows there are many reasons to be proud of their home. I’ve become familiar with several of these reasons in my five-plus years at The Clanton Advertiser and almost three years of being a county resident myself.

I was reminded of some of these reasons as I attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp on the banks of Lake Martin this past weekend as a counselor.

The event at Camp ASCCA is for outstanding high school juniors and seniors who are sponsored by their local Rotary clubs. Students arrive on a Thursday evening and introduce themselves to fellow campers. On Friday and Saturday, there are confidence-building and team-building exercises in the morning, followed by a slew of speakers in the afternoons. All meals are provided at the camp, of course, and there are some fun activities mixed in, such as a movie, a camp fire complete with s’mores and a little bit of free time that can be spent enjoying the scenic camp or playing in the gymnasium.

The 70 or so students who attended the camp should definitely benefit from hearing the speakers, which included talks about managing money and leadership skills, among other topics.

RYLA at Camp ASCAA is organized by Rotary District 6880, which encompasses clubs in the state from Chilton County south to the Gulf of Mexico.

After experiencing the camp first-hand, I’m more glad than ever that the Rotary Club of Chilton County supports it. Our local Rotary Club sends two county students to the camp each year. As if that wasn’t enough, we also award them each with a $1,000 scholarship.

But the students are more than deserving. Every year brings a difficult decision as we sort through the applications to judge who stands out the most among a whole group of outstanding students.

This year, the local RYLA honorees were Shea Rowe of Chilton County High School and Jill Vinzant of Jemison High School. Both students turned in impressive applications–Vinzant was chosen without even mentioning that she is serving as Chilton County’s Peach Queen–and while at the camp they lived up to the high expectations that the Rotary club and I’m sure many others in the county have for them.

All the great local students–Rowe, Vinzant and all the ones our club would have sent if we had the resources–and the local Rotary Club are some of the reasons I’m proud of Chilton County.