The funniest engineer of the team and vivid dog lover.. Meet Adam Smallhorn!

Being a facilitator in RYLA means being able to empower others and help them reach their full potential. Being able to support those around you to achieve greatness.

Adam Smallhorn has been able to do this time and time again in his commitment to the RYLA program and help RYLArians to achieve their full potential.



With a wicked sense of humor and an extremely caring personality, we are very excited to have Adam back in the team for a third year. His ability to understand and empathise with people make him a great addition to the team.

We asked Adam..

  1. If you could take one thing with you and be stranded on an island, what would it be?

A pack of cards and a dog. Who says you can’t teach an old…

  1. Would you rather read a good book or watch a good TV show?
  2. What is your go to road trip song?

“In Summer” from Frozen

  1. What was the most awkward moment of your life?

Next question.

  1. What would you give up, chocolate or music?

You can’t sing to chocolate in the shower, so that’s an easy one.

  1. What is your greatest fear? And would you embrace that fear for 12 hours for $1000?

Needles, injections and blood tests. And no…. Not unless I were dying.

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?


  1. What did you want to be when you were young?

A coroner.

  1. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Empathy. The able to experience, understand and share the feelings of others completely.

  1. If you could travel in time where would you go?

18th century – the age of enlightenment.

  1. What motivates you to get up in the morning?


  1. What is the first thing you notice in someone?

Their accent! I love guessing where someone is from.

  1. What do you find funny that others might not?

Well, I could tell you a joke about UDP but you might not get it.

  1. If you could go back in time and re do one thing what would it be?

I would have paid more attention in maths classes

  1. What is your pet peeve?

Hipster cafes that pretend to be artisanal ‘and stuff’ but they can’t even brew a pot of tea correctly.

  1. What was the worst thing you ever did as a kid?

In year 3 the teacher asked us to go home and find out how old we were when we started speaking. I didn’t do the homework and I had no idea at what age kids start to speak so I made it up and said “I learnt to speak when I was four”. The teacher called my bluff and said that’s incredibly late to start speaking, but I stuck to my guns insisted that, “No, that’s when I learnt to speak”. I wasn’t sure if she could tell I was lying or thought I was incredibly slow.

  1. What is the one thing you can’t live without?


  1. What is your go to movie for a rainy day?

Rat race

  1. What would you have on your tombstone?

Did you waste the day, or lose it? Was it well or poorly spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,

“You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today”.


Why did you become a RYLA facilitator?

I will let you know when I find out. I like to sign up for things and then figure out why I want to do them later. Having said that, it has been incredibly rewarding to be able to help in the leadership journeys of hundreds of people. I hope they go out and do awesome things for others.


What did you expect when you got into the RYLA program (as a participant)?

I had really high expectations because of the great feedback I had heard from previous participants. Going into the program I had a bucket list of skills I wanted to obtain – delegation, communication, motivational skills… the list goes on. Instead what RYLA gave me was a deep appreciation for self-evaluation and the drive for constant improvement – something that allows me to get all those skills I originally sought, and much more.


What’s your favourite RYLA moment (as participant)?

I got super invested in a particular activity, whereas Yvonne (a former facilitator) was super relaxed. She made a comment to that effect, and unbeknown to her, at that moment that I learnt a little life-lesson. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and not everything in life is important.


Here’s a little more as to why Adam is qualified to be on the RYLA Facilitator team…

Adam is passionate about technology, society, politics, and…dogs. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Engineering at the University of New South Wales and has interests in technology and education. During his time, he has worked locally and internationally in technology, consulting and development. In Sydney he founded his own business providing freelance web development and consulting to local small businesses, as well as a side business offering tech support and bespoke training to technology ‘ newbies’ and retirees. Adam acted as president of a nonprofit science organisation for two years, working to set the long term narrative of the organisation and to change the culture to one that was open and transparent. At the end of his term, membership had increased from 127 people to over 230, and the number of events for members had increased by a factor of four. Adam now acts as a facilitator at the 7-day leadership program known as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and sits on the committee for the Ryde Carols on the Common, the second largest carols event in Sydney after the carols in the Domain.

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