Rotary Youth Leadership Award

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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:[1]

  • 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:[1]

  • 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."[2]

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