What is Rotary Youth Leadership Awards or RYLA?

Each year, thousands of young people take part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program worldwide. Young people are chosen for their leadership potential to attend an all-expenses-paid camp to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice. Rotary clubs and districts select participants and facilitate the event’s curriculum.

RYLA aims to:

  • Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders;
  • Encourage leadership of youth by youth;
  • Encourage youth to make a difference in their communities through volunteer work and social responsibility; and
  • Demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth.

RYLA was officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971, and is one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service. RYLA programs often lead to the formation or strengthening of Rotaract and Interact clubs.

RYLA participants often go on to become Youth Exchange students or Ambassadorial Scholars.

What to expect from RYLA? Each year Rotary District 6880 hosts a leadership retreat for high school Juniors and Seniors at beautiful Camp ASCCA near Dadeville, Alabama. Participants will stay in camp facilities activities will take place on the camp property. Participants are housed in bunkhouse-type buildings.

In the Spring of each year (usually March or April), all 49 participating clubs in the district select ambassadors to represent them at a four-day retreat designed by Rotarians to teach and promote leadership skills necessary to make change through services to humanity locally and worldwide. Participants will usually arrive on a Thursday for registration. RYLA usually concludes on Sunday morning following breakfast, an ecumenical prayer service, and final session.
The event offers courses not often found in the regular curriculum teenagers are offered. These courses include diversity training, public speaking, team building, leadership fundamentals, goal setting, leading a meeting, character & ethics, facilitation, fellowship and creating good habits. The retreat offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Talented keynote speakers are invited to come and teach, motivate and inspire our youth to become great leaders and to do great things.

What does it cost to attend RYLA? There is no cost to any youth. Participants may bring individual spending money for incidental expenses. The local, sponsoring Rotary Club pays registration fees. All students should coordinate their transportation arrangements through their Rotary sponsor.


Visit the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 6880 facebook page to see this program in action!