Being in Rotary is about the “moments” that make a difference in our own lives, and possibly more important, are the “moments” that make a difference in the life of others. This is what YES! is all about! 
YES! – Youth Empowerment Summit, which was started five years ago, is a one-day workshop for high school students where they are inspired by a diverse group of exceptional speakers, make life-long friends through fellowship activities, and discuss the ethical and social issues they are faced with daily. YES! is a joint project of the three Simi Valley Rotary clubs: The Rotary Club of Simi Valley, The Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, and The Rotary Club of Simi Sunset.
Eighty high school students attend this event, which focuses on thinking, understanding, self-discovery, motivational speaking, leadership and team participation. The day includes the following sessions that enhance personal growth and development:

     • Ethics
Ethics are the deeply held convictions upon which we base our attitudes, choices, and actions, all of which have consequences. With awareness that life experience may alter our own ethical beliefs, there is wisdom in being open to hearing the ethical opinions of others in an effort to gain understanding of those around us, as well as challenging our own ideals and behavior.

     • Team Building
A collaborative effort can show us a lot about ourselves and about others. Team situations can illuminate our personal strengths and weaknesses, and those of the group. Team situations can inspire, encourage, and challenge us and be conduits of creativity and innovation. Team building exercises also allow students to realize that not everyone is a team leader but that all members of a team have value.

     • Diversity
Knowing that everyone experiences joy and hardship, love and loss connects us together as humans. But the fact that we all experience these things in vastly different ways also leaves us divided. There is insight in discovering how others view the world and observe their place in it.

     • BLAST (Building Life-Long Acceptance through Social Tolerance)
Experiences are dynamic teachers and even the most painful experiences can connect us to ourselves and to others in powerful and positive ways. Life experiences within any given group may vary greatly and when shared can provide insight, empathy, and greater understanding.

In addition to the four sessions there are three speakers that share their insight and experiences in these areas. At the end of the day, four students are selected to attend RYLA, and every attendee receives an award.

Since its inception, YES! has attracted students from throughout our District to attend this life-changing day. This year, Bakersfield and their eight clubs, will hold their own YES!. This will be the largest collaborative event in their region.

YES! is not only an opportunity for the youth in our city to grow and learn something about themselves, but it is also a special “moment” for every Rotarian who volunteers and works on this event.