Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
The District 6170 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership and teamwork training program for youth (rising sophomores or juniors in high school ages of 16 and 17), from the geographic region of Rotary District 6170 (South and East Arkansas). This program helps youth develop character, increase leadership skills, and learn about Rotary.
RYLA is a 3 night, 4 day overnight camp, which occurs at the Vines Center (also known as the Arkansas 4-H Center) located 10 miles west of Little Rock, AR in the spring of each year.
Student participants (called RYLAtarians) are nominated for attendance at RYLA by local Rotary clubs, which cover all RYLA expenses for the student. For these young adults, this recognition offers the opportunity to build self-confidence, gain exposure to a variety of issues and people, meet active community leaders, and learn valuable information and career skills.
RYLA gives Rotarians the opportunity to mentor promising young leaders serving their own communities and beyond. Rotarians serve as resources for participants on the path to becoming professional and community leaders. In turn, RYLA brings new energy to the Rotary district, inspires ideas for youth service, and develops future Rotarians.
History of RYLA
Originating in 1959 in Queensland, Australia, RYLA was created as a festival highlighting local youth organized in honor of a royal visit by Princess Victoria. Through Rotarians’ constant belief in the potential of youth, RYLA has since become an opportunity to help the next generation of leaders define themselves and expand their skills. Officially adopted by Rotary International (RI) in 1971, this exciting program engages Rotary clubs and districts around the world. Each RYLA shares the following program objectives:
● To demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth
● To encourage and assist young people in responsible and effective voluntary youth leadership by providing them with a valuable training experience
● To foster continued and stronger leadership of youth by youth
● To publicly recognize the many young people who are rendering service to their communities as youth leaders
The RYLA program in Rotary District 6170 has mentored countless students through its history and looks forward to years of fostering service minded young people who create change in the world.
RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and aims to:
● Demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for youth,
● Encourage leadership of youth by youth,
● Publicly recognize young people who are rendering service to their communities,
● Develop understanding of Rotary among youth participants,
● Allow Rotarian participants to serve as role models of Rotary ideals and programs,
● Reinforce and provide recognition for students’ efforts, accomplishments, skills and potential as leaders, and
● Develop leadership skills of youth participants with emphasis on:
o Ethics of positive leadership,
o Communication skills in leadership,
o Leadership in problem solving and brainstorming,
o Group dynamics and peer pressure,
o Teamwork, and
o Self-confidence and self-esteem.
How to Participate
If you are a high school sophomore or junior and you would like to participate, contact your local Rotary Club to see how they are choosing their students to participate. If you don't know your local Rotary club, you can message the district Facebook page.