Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)

Developing Young Leaders

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

RYLA is Rotary's leadership development program for young people, participants can be aged 14-30, we focus on a narrower age range of 14-18 due to current government legislation, but we wish to develop the 18-30 programme.

Each year since 2000, Rotary Clubs within Rotary South East have offered young people, between the ages of 14 and 17,  the opportunity to participate in the unique RYLA experience.

The Aim of RYLA

To encourage the development of teamwork and leadership skills in young people who have the potential to be future community professionals and business leaders.

RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and 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 and recognise publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.

RYLA gives Rotary clubs the opportunity to offer the leaders of the future, a head start at an early age. 

How is this done?

By making use of a residential experience and outward bound activities to:

  • create various environments for them to operate in           
  • build team spirit to enable them to work effectively
  • encourage the recognition and use of skills in others
  • discover things about themselves
  • build confidence in themselves and others
  • encourage and support each other
  • discuss and establish characteristics of effective leaders

Club Involvement

Rotary clubs find you people through a variety of methods, some just by offering a place or places to a school or Scout group, and let that organisation select the individuals; other Rotary clubs will interview a number of candidates offered schools or other youth groups.

All participants deliver a presentation at the end of the programme that encompasses programmes within the Rotary family.  Rotary clubs are encouraged to have the RYLA participants to talk to the club about their experiences.

Who is eligible?

The short answer is that there is no particular type of person. Indeed the success of the course depends on there being a good mix of different ages (between 14 and almost 18), backgrounds and experience, all with leadership potential.

The commitment and determination by the participants to succeed is most impressive.

The course is also designed to develop the latent talents of anyone held back by lack of confidence. Candidates must be prepared to contribute to as well as benefit from the course and preference will be given to those who would not otherwise get the opportunity to take part in such an award scheme.


Two RYLA events take place each year in April and October. They are held at the  Bowles Outdoor Centre near Tunbridge Wells. 

At each location, the facilities and the staff combine to ensure the ideal mix for an enjoyable and memorable experience from which those participating will derive great benefit.


All costs are normally met by the sponsoring Rotary Clubs, excluding travel expenses, but often the sponsoring club will arrange these for you. Current fee is £190 per person.

RYLA Course dates

The next residential weekends will be:

  • Friday 5th October to Sunday 7th October 2018
  • Friday 26th April to Sunday 28th April 2019
  • Friday 11th October to Sunday 13th October 2019
Both events will be at Bowles Outdoor Centre, Sandhills Lane, Rotherfield, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9LW

What to Take

There is a suggested RYLA kit list for the weekend, but Bowles can provide wet weather gear if required.

Forms to Download

Club Registration Form
Attendee Registration Form


For further information please email