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“Goal to make a 100 friends” , was always the vision of ERYLA. It was a project that started as the brainchild of Rtr Avnish Jain, with a simple idea of “Strangers to friends.” The project had numerous unique tasks that were conducted and completed on social media platforms, and giving rise to its popularity. Rtr Avnish was able to refine his project idea, and was able to work with RSAMDIO(Rotaract South Asia Multi District Information Organisation), eventually creating ERYLA to what it is today. ERYLA quickly gained traction and currently in its 3rd consecutive year, ERYLA 3.0 was done bigger than ever, with participants facing a variety of challenges over a period of 7 days, all while making new friends and connections. Under the guidance of RSAMDIO, this year’s ERYLA was hosted by District 3170 with DRR Nishita and Rtr Avnish at the helm.

The event kicked of on the 16th of september with over 150 participants representing 29 districts from 4 countries. Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal registered for the 7 day event, prepared to do challenging team building tasks. All participants were randomly split into whatsapp groups of approximately 20 per group. Members in each group were guided by group moderators, who took every step to make the experience as rewarding as possible , while maintaining a certain decorum expected of Rotaractors. As the first task, participants were asked to introduce themselves to the other group members with details such as their names , locality , rotaract experience and other general information. This simple team building task, was meant to “break the ice” and familiarise members with each other.

At this point my personal experience of ERYLA had already progressed further than I thought. I managed to meet some of the most exemplary rotaractors, from countries such as Bangladesh and India. For the second task, the entire group had a certain time limit , within which members had to pick a team name and slogan, they thought that best fit their group. The group I belonged to quickly set about making suggestions and voting, with us eventually settling with the group name Flyers(Pitched by me!) and the slogan “Love,Learn,Lead”. Once the group members had finalised the name and slogan, they had to vote a group leader. This role alone would give a unique perspective on leadership,
and was considered an invaluable experience. My group flyers, had a particularly interesting “voting” process, with Rtr Rahul and myself tied with equal votes, till another contender broke the deadlock voting me as the group leader for Flyers. While Rtr Rahul would become an unofficial vice captain, and one of my closest acquaintances from my first ERYLA.

The next days 6 days involved many creative challenges, such as “Story Day” challenge, which involved all the group members pitching in to write one amalgamated story, with the moderator starting the story, and adding occasional twists to plot, to make writing more difficult. The dynamics within the group, made the story writing extremely challenging, with individuals preferring contradicting endings. As we progressed further into the week, the groups were paired up, and added into one WhatsApp group, edging towards the goal of a 100 friends. My group “Flyers” were joined with group “Stellars” , and the two teams were pitched with competitive tasks. One such interesting task was the debate, where Flyers were arguing for pro “arranged marriage” while Stellars were for pro “Love marriage”. This again sparked a flurry of messages from all participants eager to defend their topic and make sound arguments.

As expected ERYLA 3.0 created a digital platform for which participants could interact, learn and build connections. With the final few days approaching , all members belonging to all groups, were added to 1 single WhatsApp group. The sheer amount of messages flying across was unbelievable, as participants continued conversations with multiple new individuals. This was a digital gathering of participants eager to meet members from the other groups , and maybe meet the goal of making a 100 friends.

My personal experience of ERYLA was rewarding , specially having held a leadership role, gave me valuable insight into fulfilling one’s duties. Even though I did not manage to make a 100 friends, i did meet some amazing rotaractors from extraordinary backgrounds, and managed to make a few lifelong friends along the way.

Rtr. Navin Suresh

Tags : E-RYLAFriendship
Nadun Ranasinghe

The author Nadun Ranasinghe