Del Mar Rotarians ‘LEAD’ teens to success

By Emily Figueiredo, Club Publicity Chair

The Rotary Club of Del Mar recently sponsored six middle school-aged teens to participate in the LEAD Conference in October. The LEAD (Leadership, Ethics And Determination) Conference is a leadership and personal development program for 8th grade middle school students. LEAD encourages young people to discuss issues of ethical responsibility, improve leadership and communication skills, and develop a positive outlook on life, while having fun and making friends. LEAD provides the opportunity for young people to refine skills and explore pertinent topics with their peers and adult community leaders. For Rotarians, LEAD offers the chance to share their love of service, help develop a new generation of leaders, provide valuable expertise, and bridge the gap between generations.

This year’s conference was held on Oct. 5-6 at Camp Cuyamaca in East San Diego County. There is no cost to the student, to the family, or to the school to attend. All costs and expenses were fully paid by the Rotary Club of Del Mar for four students to attend from Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach and two students to attend from the Reality Changers non-profit organization that operates out of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.

The adult facilitators from the Del Mar Rotary Club, Don Fipps and Dr. Ed Siegel, said they “found the experience to be extremely rewarding.” Additionally, the parents of the student participants shared their gratitude at a recent club meeting. One parent shared, “My son attended the LEAD conference at Cuyamaca, and wow! Truly the best school-related activity that he has come across! He was honored and excited from the moment that he was chosen [by his school to attend]. Something in school that he has always dealt with is bullying and general not-so-nice people. He’s never really understood why they do what they do, but it has caused him to not want to participate in some school activities. Your conference concentrated on the kids with good attitudes, kindness, ethics, and leadership, and he just soaked in being around those types of individuals. He made friends, loved the activities, and in one short weekend he kind of grew up a bit. Just awesome.”

Participation in the LEAD Conference is an initiative of the Del Mar Rotary Club’s Youth Services and Vocational Committee. If you would like to learn more about this committee or the other local and international service projects of the club, please join us for a lunch meeting on Thursdays. For more information, please visit