RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) is a Leadership Conference held each year. It is designed for up to 125 high school students who have completed their sophomore or junior year. Students are selected by Rotary Clubs in District 6970, which covers northeast Florida. The Rotary Clubs select the students to send and pay the student registration fee, so the conference is free to the students.

As more information becomes available about the next year’s conference, the site will continue to be updated.

What is RYLA?

Started in 1959 in Queensland, Australia, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a thriving international leadership program actively endorsed in over 528 Rotary International Districts, including District 6970 in northeast Florida. The program promotes leadership skill-building, networking and preparation for college for upcoming high school juniors and seniors who display leadership potential. In District 6970, Rotary Clubs award a scholarship to one or more participants whom they feel has demonstrated beginning leadership skills or who have an interest in developing those skills.


Who Attends RYLA?

In District 6970, male and female participants entering their junior and senior year of high school are eligible to be nominated for RYLA. These young adults should already exhibit leadership qualities and possess the potential to become leaders in community service, school, and their chosen careers. A majority of the District’s Rotary clubs sponsors one or more participants to attend RYLA each year.


What does RYLA intend to accomplish?

The aim is to launch already talented young people back into their communities, inspired and provided with fresh ideas, understandings, and skills. RYLA also seeks to send participants back to their communities better equipped to become leaders of tomorrow and prepared to apply what they have learned at the conference.

What will participants learn while attending RYLA?

The RYLA Committee is still working on the final schedule, but these topics from past live conferences will give you an idea of the type of topics that will be covered.  Once the next year’s program is finalized, this section will be updated.

  • Traits of a servant leader
  • Running effective meetings
  • Reaching consensus in groups
  • Appreciating and seeking diversity in groups
  • The role of ethics in leadership
  • Planning successful service projects and fund raisers
  • Resume writing and interviewing skills
  • Preparing for college
  • What is Rotary and what can it do for you?
What other activities are planned for RYLA?

The RYLA experience consists of activities which put into action the Rotary motto – “Service Above Self. One Profits Most Who Serves Best.” 

RYLA also incorporates opportunities for fun and socializing, including such activities as games, prizes, bonding opportunities, and shared meals with other youths active in their High School Interact Clubs and volunteer Rotarians and Youth Counselors .


How many participants will be attending RYLA?

Up to 125 current sophomore or junior males or females may be attending RYLA.


Is the institution safe for participants?

Yes, very. Live events will be held at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. RYLA staff will be available to participants for every minute they attend the RYLA experience.


What does it cost to send a participant to RYLA?

The cost per participant is paid by the Rotary Clubs that sponsor each student.  Generally, the cost is $400 per student. There is no cost to the participants themselves.


How does a participant get to RYLA?

Transportation of participants to and from the event should be coordinated between parents and the sponsoring Rotary club. Student participants are not prohibited from driving themselves, but encouraged to carpool with other participants if parents/club leaders are not available. 


Are all the camp staff required to have criminal background checks?

Yes – this is required by us and by Stetson University. All staff that will be working with the participants will have been checked. Speakers will not have had background checks, but they are only with the participants for an hour or two and are never on an individual basis, and the camp staff is always with the participants.


Will there be any medical staff on-call?

District 6970 has extensive, written protocols for the safety, well-being and health for all Youth-Related events. For any specific concerns, please see the “Contact Us” page.


Are nice jeans or nice shorts considered appropriate for the live events?

Jeans and shorts are acceptable for the casual sessions. However, jeans or shorts are generally not appropriate as business attire. If going for a job interview, they would not be acceptable and we prepare them for their life when they return home. We help them understand how every part of themselves matters in the adult world and first impressions do make a difference. Dress Code Reference Guide