21 April 2014 — About RYLA (Youth Leadership)






The weekend of April 25-27 will see District 5280’s annual RYLA bring approximately 200 high school students–some, perhaps most, members of their local Interact Clubs–to Alpine Conference Center in Blue Jay, California, for a weekend of leadership activities. RYLA is Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (or sometimes the A is “Awards”). In the coming years our Club may choose to take advantage of the opportunity to sponsor participants.

From his book “The ABCs of Rotary,” Past Rotary International President Cliff Dochterman gives us the history: “The RYLA program began in Australia in 1959, when young people throughout the state of Queensland were selected to meet with Princess Alexandra, the young cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. The Rotarians of Brisbane, who hosted the participants, were impressed with the quality of the young people and decided to bring youth leaders together each year for a week of social, cultural, and educational activities. The RYLA program gradually grew throughout all the Rotary districts of Australia and New Zealand. In 1971, the RI Board adopted RYLA as an official program of Rotary International. While RYLA is generally conducted as a district activity, an international RYLA is now held each year before the RI Convention.”

The first video is a comprehensive look at the RYLA program in a piece produced by Rotary International for its “Rotary Video Magazine.”

If the embedded video does not work, please click here to view it on YouTube.


This second video, only six minutes, was produced this Spring, from their 2014 event, by Rotary District 5330 (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties). Of particular note is John T. Capps, at the 3:18 mark. John T. was invited to be our guest speaker via Skype for our Fourth Sunday Gathering on 27 April, but he will be back in California from his home in North Carolina at Blue Jay working in playing with the teenage leaders and still ‘on the mountain” at the time of our meeting. But he promises to visit with us in the future. He has spoken at the local PETS (Presidents-Elect Training Seminar) for several years.

If the embedded video does not work, please click here to view it on YouTube.


Finally, one more short, fun, upbeat video showing a 2013 RYLA event.

If the embedded video does not work, please click here to view it on YouTube.


The opinions expressed by guest speakers or on external websites linked to this program are those of the speaker(s)/websites and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.


3 responses to 21 April 2014 — About RYLA (Youth Leadership)

  1. What a great program! What a great opportunity for those young people selected to attend. I look forward to when our Club can sponsor some remarkable students in our area.

  2. Nice look at a great Rotary program. Thanks to the Rotarians in Australia for getting it started.

  3. Great program. ….I believe it all begins with our youth. I would love to see us be involved. I also love the song.

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