Rotary Youth Leadership Award winners participate in a climbing activity at a recent camp that featured 62 students, including six from Kent high schools. COURTESY PHOTO

Rotary Youth Leadership Award winners participate in a climbing activity at a recent camp that featured 62 students, including six from Kent high schools. COURTESY PHOTO

Kent high school students participate in Rotary leadership program

Students from Kentwood, Kent-Meridian and Kentlake selected for four-day camp

Six high school students from Kent recently participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Northwest program after their selection by the Rotary clubs of Covington and Kent.

Aiche Toure, of Kent-Meridian, Rylan Reggli, of Kentlake and Catey Lantz, Caleb Nelson, Ahmed Wameedh and Nicole Tan, of Kentwood, were chosen for the award that recognizes their capacity to lead and prior dedication to community service, according to a June 22 Rotary press release.

Selected students received a scholarship to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Northwest program, one of the longest-running Rotary programs in North America. Each year, Rotary clubs from Districts 5020 and 5030 (King, Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallum counties in Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) sponsor high school sophomores and juniors to attend this four-day conference focusing on leadership, team building and community service.

Sixty-two students attended the conference this year at YMCA Camp Colman in Longbranch, an unincorporated community in Pierce County on the Key Penisula.

Students took part in personal development activities and team building exercises that challenged them to step outside their comfort zones, practice new leadership skills and learn about community engagement.

Students also heard from local leaders about leading from a “we first” rather than “me first” mindset, community development, and the benefits of community engagement and service.

The leadership program is organized by Rotarian volunteers and executed by college-aged students and young professionals ranging from ages 18 to 26, all of whom are alumni of Rotary youth programs. Program staff currently includes volunteer leaders who graduated from Kent School District schools, including Leilani Nahaku (Kentlake 2020), Taylor Heaton (Kentwood 2020) and Aishreen Deol (Kentwood 2022).

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.4 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and include members of all cultures, races, genders and creeds. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

If you would like to nominate a local high school student to attend the conference in 2023, contact Kate Matos at

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.

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