About RYLA

Purpose of Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 
  • Demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for young leaders.
  • Provide an effective training experience.
  • Encourage leadership of young people by their peers.
  • Recognize and connect community leaders who are 18 - 30 years old.
More than mere awards, RYLA is an opportunity to hear from professional speakers during a four-day program, participate in group activities, form lasting friendships and develop and grow as a person and leader. We run the RYLA program for Rotary District 5050.
Every District operates RYLA differently. We admit to bias, but in our opinion, our RYLA program is one of the best in the world. For information on RYLA internationally, you can check out Rotary International's page.
A Rotary club sponsors candidates but RYLA is open to anyone interested in attending.  Don't let the lack of a Rotary connection deter you - we can help make that connection. Sponsoring clubs will often contact young adults they know personally, either at a local school, at work or in the community. Candidates are a variety of emerging leaders -  coming from academics, sports, arts or other parts of the community. We have both verbal types and quiet ones who lead by their behaviour and by example. We welcome candidates who don’t believe they are leaders and help them recognize they are.
As District 5050 clubs are in Washington State and British Columbia, we have a mix of Americans and Canadians. There is no cost to the candidate as the sponsoring Rotary Club pays the application fee. RYLA is typically held in either April or May. RYLA 2024 will be held at Camp Squeah in Hope, BC, May 9 - 12.  For more information on the facility, visit their website at http://squeah.com/camps/guide/facilities/.
Organizing for RYLA begins well ahead of time with a committee that coordinates the dates, speakers and all other details. The programs at RYLA, however, are organized and run by previous RYLA graduates whom we call Facilitators. When the participants arrive, the Facilitators greet them, introduce them, and lead them through the program in smaller groups. Almost Everyone arrives with some nervousness,  but they leave RYLA with new leadership skills and friendships. 
RYLA has three expectations: ATTEND, PARTICIPATE and HAVE FUN! After RYLA, it is our hope and expectation that participants will take the lessons learned from RYLA and apply them to their personal lives and their communities. We ask participants to share what they have learned and lead others to better serve at work, home and/or community activities. Once participants have completed RYLA, they attend one weekly Rotary meeting and share their thoughts about RYLA with the sponsoring club.