Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership program coordinated by Rotary Clubs around the globe. Each year, thousands of young people participate in this program. Young people ages 13–30 are sponsored by Rotary Clubs to attend the event run by the club's district committee. Participants are chosen for their leadership potential. Rotary Clubs and the Rotary District cover all expenses for the participants. The format of the event vary from district to district, but commonly take the form of a seminar, camp, or workshop 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:
- Demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for youth;
- Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders;
- Encourage leadership of youth by youth;
- Recognise publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.
Every RYLA program covers the following core topics:
- Fundamentals of leadership
- Ethics of positive leadership
- Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
- Problem-solving and conflict management
- Rotary's purpose and service to the community
- Building self-confidence and self-esteem
- Elements of community and global citizenship
After District 5520's first RYLA, a participant summed up his experience in one word: Camelot. He wrote:
"If you know the story of King Arthur, you may recall that as King Arthur was dying in a young man's arms, he turned to the youth and said, If you learn of anyone that has not heard of Camelot, tell them loudly and clearly that there really was that one wisp of glory called Camelot."
RYLA participants often go on to become Youth Exchange students, Rotaract participants or Ambassadorial Scholars.
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 20s was due to attend the celebrations, so activities were planned specifically for the princess's age group.
The gundoo, an aboriginal word meaning "festival" or "fun together," was deemed successful with more than 300 men and women between the ages of 17 and 23 attending. Encouraged by the event's popularity with the young attendees, Rotary saw potential to create an annual youth program based on Gundoo. The governor of the then District 260, Art Brand, approved the project and on 2 May 1960, RYLA was 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 RI Board at the 1971 Convention in Sydney, Australia.
- RYLA District 1180
- RYLA District 2031
- RYLA District 2032
- RYLA JUNIOR Mantova Italy 2050
- RYLA District 5100 (Oregon & SW Washington. Week long program for young adults ages 19-28)
- RYLA District 5340 (San Diego & Imperial Counties)
- Rocky Mountain RYLA Hosted by District 5440 and District 5450 (Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Eastern Idaho & Western Nebraska)
- Great Plains RYLA Hosted by District 5630 (Nebraska)
- RYLA District 5810 (North Texas)
- Iowa RYLA Hosted by District 5970 and District 6000 (Iowa)
- RYLA District 6510 (Illinois)
- RYLA District 6760 (Tennessee)
- RYLA District 7255 (New York)
- RYLA District 7390 (Pennsylvania)
- RYLA District 7410 (NE Pennsylvania)
- RYLA District 7490
- RYLA District 9640 (NSW, Australia)
- RYLA District 9710 (Australia)
- RYLA District 9780 (Victoria, Australia)
- RYLA District 9790 (Victoria, Australia)
- RYLA District 9800 (Victoria, Australia)
- RYLA District 9810
- RYPEN District 9810 (Victoria, Australia) Leadership program for under 18 in District 9810
- RYLA District 9810 (Victoria, Australia) Leadership program for 18 and over in District 9810
- RYLA District 9920 (Central, Eastern & South Auckland as far as Tuakau (including the Pacific Islands of Samoa, Fiji, Rarotonga, Vanuatu & French Polynesia, New Zealand)
- RYLA District 9650 (Central, Western and Northern regional NSW, Australia. Leadership and personal development program for 19 to 26 year olds)