Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

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Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership program coordinated by Rotary Clubs around the globe. Individuals aged 14-30 to attend events organized by the club's district committee. The specific format of these events may vary from district to district, but they typically consist of seminars, camps, or workshops focused on developing leadership skills. Participants have the opportunity to practice and refine these skills through hands-on activities and discussions.

Rotary clubs and districts are responsible for selecting participants and designing the event's curriculum. The goal of these events is to foster the growth and development of young individuals as they prepare to take on leadership roles in their communities. By offering this support and guidance, Rotary Clubs aim to create a new generation of leaders who will contribute to society and make a positive impact in their local communities and beyond.


In 1959, the State Government of Queensland, Australia, invited local Rotary Clubs to help plan an event to help celebrate the upcoming centennial of the state. Princess Alexandra, who was in her early 20's was due to attend the celebrations, so activities were planned specifically for the princess's age group.[1]

The Gundoo, which means "festival" or "fun together" in Aboriginal language, was a successful event that attracted over 300 men and women between the ages of 17 and 23. Building on this success, Rotary aimed to establish an annual youth program based on the Gundoo concept. The project was approved by Art Brand, the governor of what was then known as District 260. On May 2, 1960, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) became an official Rotary project.

Australian districts 258 and 260 established a committee together that developed the official framework of RYLA: to train youth ages 14-30 in character, leadership, personal development, and good citizenship. These guidelines helped RYLA expand to all Rotary districts in Australia and led to its approval as a Rotary International program by the Rotary International Board at the 1971 Convention in Sydney, Australia.

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