Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a program that originated with Rotary International and has subsequently been specifically designed by Rotary District 5340 for the students in San Diego and Imperial Counties. RYLA encourages servant leadership in youth by recognizing and rewarding deserving 11th grade students who are chosen to attend RYLA as an "award" for their past and present leadership and service activities. These select young people attend an all-expenses-paid camp where they are inspired by a diverse group of exceptional speakers, make life-long friends through fellowship activities, and discuss the ethical and social issues of today. These activities are conducted in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The result is that these students return to their schools and communities motivated to take on additional leadership roles and to find additional ways to serve.
RYLA's intent is to encourage students to be more effective servant leaders. RYLA is not a camp intended to teach leadership skills (it is assumed that the students in attendance already possess those skills), however the following topics naturally arise in the course of RYLA activities and discussions:
Fundamentals of leadership
Ethics of positive leadership
Qualities of a "servant leader"
Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
Conflict management and problem solving
Building self-esteem and self confidence
Elements of community and global citizenship
Rotary's purpose of service to the community and world
RYLA began in Rotary District 5340 in 1972 with 100 participants and has since grown to include more than 350 participants annually. Outstanding student leaders are chosen each year to participate in RYLA's three day leadership camp held at Idyllwild Pines Camp in Idyllwild, California.
Rotary District 5340 looks each year for high school juniors who are outstanding school and/or community leaders with a strong service background to apply for RYLA. If you are selected to participate in RYLA, you will have the opportunity to discuss leadership, service and career opportunities and to exchange ideas about current ethical and social issues with knowledgeable District 5340 Rotarians who are local and regional leaders.