About RYLA


Over eighty years ago a man named Paul Harris who lived in Chicago, Illinois got together with a few business friends to talk about mutual business problems. He felt that talking about matters that concerned each of them would prove beneficial not only to themselves but to the community at large. The men liked the idea of the weekly meetings and decided to “rotate” the meeting sites to their respective offices. Thus “Rotary”, one of the largest service organizations in the world was born. Today, 1.2 million Rotary men and women comprise over 31,000 clubs located in 167 countries.

Measured in time and money, Rotary is the largest independent giving organization in the world.

The large Rotary world is comprised of Districts. Our Rotary District is number 5130 and each Club within our District pays for and sponsors Rotary Youth Leadership Award Scholarships. Learn more about Rotary International and District 5130.



The District 5130 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a complete scholarship awarded to men and women of high school age, who are leaving their junior year and will be next year’s senior high class. District 5130 RYLA began in 1990. As of December, 2017, over 1,500 students have attend a RYLA camp which is held at Westminster Woods Camp in Occidental, CA.

RYLA 2015 Keynote Speaker
Westminster Woods
Occidental, CA

The International RYLA was actually started by Rotarians in Australia in the early 1950’s. It is the object of RYLA to bring the business, social, professional and educational leaders of the community and the nation together with the young leaders of the future to share with them ideas, techniques, philosophy and inspirational messages.

RYLA Scholarships are among the thousands of scholarships given each year by Rotarians worldwide. Through our exchange studies and scholarship programs, students can also visit other countries and attend schools and colleges that might not ordinarily be available to them.

At Camp RYLA you will have the opportunity to learn more about yourself through the voices and eyes of people who have experienced life, people who can help you see things from a different viewpoint. You will learn not only from special speakers and attending Rotarians, but by interacting with other  scholarship winners just like yourself from over forty-five  high schools and all walks of life in Northern California.



The RYLA program is open to all high school students completing their junior year. However, there has been exceptions in the past. Students are encouraged to speak with a local Rotarian concerning these exceptions.

The RYLA scholarship is not just an academic award based on grade point. It is a scholarship given to both young men and women high school age who have exhibited over-all leadership qualities through well-rounded endeavors both in and out of their school and community environment. Relatives of Rotarians are eligible for this program.

In selecting a student for the RYLA Program, Rotarians are looking for individuals who have exhibited notable efforts in class curriculum, sports, student government, clubs such as Interact, outside organizations and the community. The object is to award students who have demonstrated potential for quality leadership development, and to encourage growth of these leadership qualities through the RYLA Camp.

ATTENTION ROTARIANS!! You may wish to contact local high school principals to ask for assistance in looking for and interviewing deserving young men and women of the Junior class that fit the above criteria.

The interviewing process by each Rotary Club should start no later than mid March. Students are encourage to contact their school counselor or local Rotarian to learn of the exact date for application. The District RYLA Committee recommends that clubs participating consider selecting at least one young man and one young woman for Camp. However, if a club can only send one person, the selection process then should award the camp scholarship to the best applicant.



Leadership, Citizenship, Personal Development

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive training program for community youth leaders. Young people chosen for their leadership potential attend an all-expenses-paid seminar, camp, or workshop to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.


Every RYLA includes the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of leadership
  • Ethics of positive leadership
  • Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
  • Problem-solving and conflict management
  • Rotary’s purpose and service to the community
  • Building self confidence and self-esteem
  • Elements of community and global citizenship
  • Officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971, RYLA is one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service. Each year, thousands of young people take part in the program worldwide. The impact spreads further as the program influences other young people, and RYLA programs often lead to the formation or strengthening of Rotaract andInteract clubs.

    RYLA aims to:

  • Demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth;
  • Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders;
  • Encourage leadership of youth by youth;
    • Recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.