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To: High School Principals, Teachers and Counselors
Re: Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)

It is time to recruit and select outstanding students for RYLA, one of Rotary’s best programs for youth!

What is RYLA?
RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. For over 25 years, Rotary has sponsored this 5-day leadership conference for high school juniors and seniors called RYLA. The objectives of RYLA are:

  • To provide an atmosphere where future leaders experience democratic living, and which will aid them in developing sound values.
  • To promote an environment that will provide each individual with the basis of insight and understanding for intelligent leadership.
  • To expose youth leaders to some opportunities and challenges of life in a free democratic, society.
  • To promote involvement that encourages the participants to think through and arbitrate conflicts in values.

These objectives are accomplished through a 5-day program that emphasizes values like personal responsibility, service and integrity and develops skills like goal-setting, decision-making, teamwork and interpersonal skills. The program is very action-oriented and includes activities like guest speakers, the RYLA Olympics, teambuilding activities, skits and group discussions on issues appropriate to this age group. The students stay in a dormitory environment and are supervised by adult Rotarians.

When and where is it?
The conference will be held at the YMCA in Estes Park, CO, 60 minutes northwest of Denver. It will begin mid-afternoon on the Sunday at the start of RYLA and concludes at noon the following Friday (see for the actual dates).

Who is eligible?

  • Any student entering the 11th or 12th grade next fall.
  • The ideal candidate for RYLA has either demonstrated leadership ability in school, church or community activities or is a responsible and enthusiastic follower and has leadership potential.
  • A young person who is honest, responsible and shows the ability to make good decisions.
  • A young person who is recommended by a teacher, counselor or Rotarian.

What does it cost?
As an award for excellence, a local Rotary Club pays the conference fee of $450, and over 100 volunteers donate a week of their time, so there is no cost to the student.

How can students apply?
The student completes an application online at, gets their parent's signature, and also gets the signature of a counselor, teacher or Rotarian. They will then be interviewed for possible selection by the local Rotary club. They MUST contact the local Rotary club to ensure they are scheduled for an interview! Each Rotary club interviews and selects the winning students by May 15. Every Rotary club establishes its own schedule prior to May 15, so contact them early to be sure and fit into their schedule.

For more information, please read everything on the home page and in the “About RYLA” link on, and contact your local Rotary Club via the “Find Rotary Contacts” page on the web site. You can also contact the RYLA Registrar,