RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) is a Leadership Conference held each year. It is designed for up to 125 high school students who have completed their freshman or sophomore year. Students are selected by Rotary Clubs in District 6970, which covers northeast Florida. The Rotary Clubs select the students to send and pay the student registration fee, so the conference is free to the students.

As more information becomes available about the next year’s conference, the site will continue to be updated.

What is RYLA?

Started in 1959 in Queensland, Australia, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a thriving international leadership program actively endorsed in over 528 Rotary International Districts, including District 6970 in northeast Florida. The program promotes leadership skill-building, networking and preparation for college for upcoming high school juniors and seniors who display leadership potential. In District 6970, Rotary Clubs award a scholarship to one or more participants whom they feel has demonstrated beginning leadership skills or who have an interest in developing those skills.


Who Attends RYLA?

In District 6970, male and female students who are currently freshmen or sophomores apply to their local Rotary Clubs to become a participant. These students should have already shown some leadership potential or interest to be selected. The goal is for them to apply the skills learned from the conference in their school and community service endeavors in the short-term and in their college and career endeavors in the future. A minimum of 100 participants will be selected for the 2023 session.


What does RYLA intend to accomplish?

The aim is to launch already talented young people back into their communities, inspired and provided with fresh ideas, understandings, and skills. RYLA also seeks to send participants back to their communities better equipped to become leaders of tomorrow and prepared to apply what they have learned at the conference.

What will participants learn while attending RYLA?

The next conference will be two live conferences and one Zoom conference.  The RYLA Committee is still working on the final schedule, but these topics from past live conferences will give you an idea of the type of topics that will be covered.  Once the next year’s program is finalized, this section will be updated.

  • Traits of a servant leader
  • Running effective meetings
  • Reaching consensus in groups
  • Appreciating and seeking diversity in groups
  • The role of ethics in leadership
  • Planning successful service projects and fund raisers
  • Resume writing and interviewing skills
  • Preparing for college
  • What is Rotary and what can it do for you?
What other activities are planned for RYLA?

The RYLA experience consists of activities which put into action the Rotary motto – “Service Above Self. He Profits Most Who Serves Best.” RYLA infuses this spirit of Rotary through a wide variety of community service projects, such as visiting senior citizens, assisting children at local summer camps, volunteering at pet rescue shelters, and assisting the needy throughout the host community.

RYLA also incorporates opportunities for fun and socializing, including such activities as games, prizes, bonding opportunities, and shared meals with other youths active in their High School Interact Clubs and volunteer Rotarians and Youth Counselors .


How many participants will be attending RYLA?

Up to 125 current sophomore or junior males or females may be attending RYLA.


Is the institution safe for participants?

Yes, very. Live events will be held at Beachside High School and Ketterlinus Elementary School in St. Augustine, FL. RYLA staff will be available to participants for every minute they attend the RYLA experience.


What does it cost to send a participant to RYLA?

The cost per participant is paid by the Rotary Clubs that sponsor each student.  Generally, the cost is $150 per student. There is no cost to the participants themselves.


How does a participant get to RYLA?

Transportation of participants to and from the event should be coordinated between parents and the sponsoring Rotary club. With two live events, both in the St. Augustine area, parents (and / or Club leaders) will need to bring their attendees to and from the locations. Student participants are not prohibited from driving themselves, but encouraged to carpool with other participants if parents/club leaders are not avaialble. The dates for the live events will be all day March 25 and all day May 13, 2023. Exact times will be posted as they are finalized.


Are all the camp staff required to have criminal background checks?

All RYLA Planning Committee staff, leaders and speakers will have criminal background checks (for overnight RYLA camps only; not applicable in 2023).


Will the participants that come together from the same schools’ room together in the dorms?

No, RYLA 2023 will not include any overnight stays, for health and student safety reasons.


Do the dorm rooms have a bathroom in each room- or is it a bathroom used by all people on the floor?

Not applicable for RYLA 2023.


Is the bathroom is used by the entire floor or is it coed or restricted to females?

Not applicable for RYLA 2023.


Will only female staff be supervising the female dorm rooms?

Not applicable for RYLA 2023.


Are there any situations in which my participant will be alone with staff without other participants present? If so what are they?

Not applicable for RYLA 2023.


Will there be a curfew for them to be in their rooms at night?

Not applicable to RYLA 2023.


Will there be any medical staff on-call?

District 6970 has extensive, written protocols for the safety, well-being and health for all Youth-Related events. For any specific concerns, please see the “Contact Us” page.


Are nice jeans or nice shorts considered appropriate for the live events?

Jeans or shorts are generally not appropriate as business attire. If going for a job interview, they would not be acceptable and we do try and push the participants to excellence so that they will be more prepared in their life when they return home. We just try and help them understand how every part of themselves matters in the adult world and first impressions do make a difference. “Business Casual” is a good concept for our future leaders to project at the two live events.