First-year delegates to Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders, wearing yellow shirts, watch intently as their team leaders in red shirts prepare for the next activity. First-year delegates can apply to come back as a team leader the following year.

By Ava Benedict

Rotary International is known for its commitment to community service, building leadership skills and establishing strong connections among members. One of the primary goals of Rotary International is to foster a sense of belonging and leadership in future generations. This is demonstrated through a multitude of involvement opportunities for young adults.

One such opportunity is the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), a national program dedicated to providing the youth with leadership experience and problem-solving skills. The local division of this program is the Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders (S4TL), a weeklong overnight encampment for rising high school seniors aimed at helping students become trailblazers within their communities. The conference is hosted at Florida Southern College in Lakeland and allows students to listen to world-renowned motivational speakers, participate in lively exchanges with peers and divide into rap sessions. Rap sessions are student-led discussions that focus on gaining insight from active Rotary members, known as Rotarians, about developing leadership skills.

“It was rewarding because I had some insight into what the kids were thinking,” said Jerry Harburg, member of FishHawk-Riverview Rotary.

Harburg was one of the Rotarians who student delegates talked to during the rap sessions. He explained the transformation he witnessed among the students who attended the conference.

“The students come out different people; they mature while they are there,” said Harburg.

To learn more information about S4TL and how to apply, visit the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary website at FishHawk-Riverview Rotary will sponsor two delegates for the 2024 conference, and applications are due by Saturday, April 20.

A variety of scholarships are also offered through local Rotary organizations. Last year, the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary Foundation funded over $8,000 in scholarships, while the Brandon Rotary Club awarded seven $1,500 scholarships to local students.

“My confidence in myself and my writing increased after I received this scholarship,” said Premendy Jean, a Newsome graduate and Rotary scholarship recipient currently pursuing a health care degree. “This motivated me to study harder in college and shows to me that I can achieve a goal if I work hard for it.”

Currently, FishHawk-Riverview Rotary is accepting scholarship applications for high school seniors who have been accepted to a two or four-year college or university or a trade school. Students whose school is Newsome, Riverview, Spoto or Durant are eligible, as are students enrolled in Florida Virtual School, Hillsborough Virtual K-12, homeschool or a private/charter school. Applications are due on Friday, April 19, and can be completed on the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary website.

The heart of Rotary International is service, a value clearly extended to young members of the community. To learn more information about the youth programs offered or to find your local Rotary Club, visit the Rotary International website,, or Rotary International on social media.

Previous articleRenovations Completed At Riverview Chick-fil-A
Next articleRiverview Woman’s Club Hosts Student Volunteer Fair At Riverview High School