Leadership in Action: 15th Annual ROVA Event

On May 5th and 6th, seven LCCTC students were able to participate in ROVA 2019. In all, seventy-three students from thirteen counties and from thirty-eight sponsoring Rotaries were able to engage in this leadership training at Camp Nazareth in Mercer County.

Generously sponsored by local Rotary Clubs for the last fifteen years, Rotary Outstanding Vocational Awards (ROVA) is an intensive educational program for vocational youth leaders, and the message this sends: Rotary values the leadership potential in today’s youth!

The intention of ROVA is to provide a positive training experience for selected youth and potential leaders., to encourage leadership of youth by youth, and to recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities, their peers, and their school.

Nick Neupauer, Ellwood City Oil and Gas student thankfully states, “Taking part in this program has helped me communicate with others, and this skill can really help me in the workplace.”

The program does this by focusing on the fundamentals of leadership, the ethics of positive leadership, and the importance of communication skills in effective leadership. Students do this through problem-solving and conflict management activities, that incorporate strategies in time management and decision making. Emphasis is placed on Rotary’s purpose, of service to the community near and far.

Emily Miller, New Castle oil and Gas junior, recalls her favorite activity, the Blindfolded Rope Walk. Just imagine being blindfolded with the only guidance being your left hand on a rope tided from tree to tree in the woods while the right hand was placed on the shoulder of the person in front. The only guide is the rope to stay on course and the verbal warnings about potential “dangers” lurking underfoot or overhead from one who had experienced it before. In addition to communication, the key to success in this activity, Emily states, is the act of “patience, cooperative learning, and trust.”

“At first I was nervous because I didn’t realize what I was actually getting myself into,” recalls Shelby Keister, Cosmetology senior. “The activity that broke the ice for me was Lion, Person, Net.” An advanced form of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Shelby came to understand that, while she learned a lot of skill-based strategies, she also realized that she can allow herself to have fun — even when she didn’t know what to expect.

The River of Life activity was the activity that made an impact with Cailin Lyons, Vet Assistant junior from Ellwood City. Students had to communicate to meet a challenge and work together as a team with others whom they just met. “I wasn’t great at balancing, so I needed to ask for help as I “crossed the river,” Cailin recalls. “If I stepped off of the safety of the boards, my entire team would need to return to ‘home’ and start from scratch, so I wanted to make sure I did my best.”

Typically one who can talk his way through a situation, Steve Akins, Electrical Occupations junior needed to enlist different skills to experience success in the Electric Spiderweb. He stepped back and allowed the ideas of others to come to the top, leading by becoming a willing helper. “I learned that communicating isn’t always talking, it’s listening, too.”

So what advice could this band of new-found friends give to next year’s ROVA students?

Jacob Alfano, MTT sophomore suggests, “Go! You’ll make new friends from both the school and from other CTCs!” Jacob has come to understand that networking is an important skill to learn both in school and in a future career!

“Believe us when we tell you that it is a lot of fun,” Devin Dilling, Welding senior, advises. “Yes, you’ll be busy doing lots of activities that make you step outside of your comfort zone, but I promise that you’ll have a great time!”