Camp RYLA Purpose & Objectives

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) provides student leaders an opportunity to expand and hone their leadership skills at a one week seminar called Camp RYLA, which is staffed and operated by volunteer facilitators. Camp RYLA's objectives are:

  • To provide an atmosphere where future leaders will experience democratic living that will aid them in developing sound values.
  • To promote an environment that will provide each individual with a basis of insight and understanding for intelligent leadership.
  • To expose the youth leaders to some opportunities and challenges of life in a free democratic society.
  • To promote involvement that encourages the participants to think through and arbitrate conflicts of values.

District 5580 is committed to sponsoring Camp RYLA as one of its outstanding youth projects. Camp is held in July of each year beginning Sunday and running through Saturday. Camp RYLA consists of:

  • Leadership training through outstanding speakers, small group discussions, and experiential activities with their fellow campers.
  • Activities to include experiential low-ropes courses, diversity and cultural simulations, community volunteer opportunities, and many other activities.
  • Fellowship with their student leader peers, facilitators, and Rotarians. Campers make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Important Facts

1. RYLA transcends two Rotary years (see schedule of events).
2. Club president, president-elect, and RYLA chairperson should coordinate the club's RYLA-related activities to ensure success.
3. Early financial commitment via club budget is vital.
4. Early appointment of Club RYLA Chairperson is essential as this program transcends two Rotary years.

Job Description + Responsibilities

1. Become knowledgeable about the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

  • Camp RYLA purpose
  • Background and history
  • Schedule and important deadlines

2. Appoint and oversee club RYLA chairperson.
3. Make sure all deadlines are met.
4. Follow through on your club’s commitment to the RYLA program.


Your club must budget for RYLA campers at the beginning of each Rotary year (July 1).
Deposits for campers need to be sent to be received by District Treasurer no later than March 1.
The checks should be made out to Rotary International District 5580.
Refunds: No refunds will be given after the March 1.

2018 Camper Fee:


Appointment of RYLA Chairperson

The RYLA chairperson should be a responsible Rotarian who will follow through on his/her commitment.
Appointment should be for TWO years as the program overlaps two Rotarian years.
Chairperson should in turn pick an assistant chair. The chairperson should train his/her successor to perpetuate a strong program at the club level.
The District RYLA chairperson should work with the president, president-elect, and the RYLA club chairperson.

Schedule of Events + Deadlines
President: Budget for next year’s camp and decide how many campers you will be sponsoring.
President: Appoint a RYLA chairperson for next year if you don’t already have one.
Chairperson: Contact returning campers to coordinate a RYLA program for your club. During the program, present the RYLA certificates to the campers. Remind campers to help recruit for next year’s RYLA Camp.
Chairperson: Begin advertising about RYLA and recruiting potential applicants.
Chairperson: Remind club treasurer to send check to the District Treasurer for the campers you plan to send. Deposits for campers need to be received no later than March 1.
Chairperson: Assemble committee to review applications and interview potential candidates.
Chairperson: Complete RYLA interviews for RYLA applicants. Select candidates and 1 to 4 alternates and notify the District RYLA Committee of selected applicants.
Chairperson: Ensure the names and applications for selected candidates are received no later than April 28. If the camper did not complete the application online, please mail the completed packet to Beth Althoff.
Beth Althoff | 4251 33rd Ave S. Apt 308 | Fargo, ND 58104
Chairperson: Arrange transportation to and from Camp RYLA for your club’s camper(s). Drop off is between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Sunday July 9 at Evergreen Hall, UMC. Pick up is at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Evergreen Hall, UMC.
Chairperson: Work with your selected campers and their legal guardians to ensure all of their medical forms are filled out and sent to the District RYLA Committee.

Important: Campers cannot attend RYLA if their completed medical forms are not submitted prior to camp.
Job Description and Responsibilities

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) provides student leaders an opportunity to expand and hone their leadership skills at a one week seminar called Camp RYLA, which is staffed and operated by volunteer facilitators. Camp RYLA's objectives are:

  1. Become knowledgeable about the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and District 5580's camp (July - August)
  2. Publicize the RYLA program at schools and youth centers in your community (December - February)
  3. Recruit outstanding young men and women in your community for Camp RYLA (February - March)
  4. Ask previous year’s campers for their recommendations and help in recruiting students.
  5. Organize RYLA Club Committee to select camper(s) to represent your club (April)
  6. Submit selected camper names and information by April 28 deadline (April)
  7. Help recruit Rotarian Facilitators from your club to help staff the camp (April - June)
  8. Arrange for camper transportation to and from Camp RYLA. Note: Campers are strongly discouraged from taking their own vehicles to camp. (June)
  9. Plan and coordinate your club’s RYLA program soon after the completion of camp. Campers are expected to report to your club on their experience at Camp RYLA. It can be one of the best programs of the year if scheduled right after camp. (August)

We want the young leaders and potential leaders in your community for our Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Use the following as a guide:

  • Good academic record
  • Involvement in school activities such as Honor Societies, Academic clubs, and other activities (i.e. band, debate, drama, choir, etc.)
  • Involvement in athletics such as varsity sports, intramural sports and non-school related sports.
  • Work experience such as after school jobs and summer jobs.
  • Other significant achievements and honors

Students who show leadership potential get the most out of RYLA. They don’t need to be sports captains or running a club, but they should be eager to learn and grow as an individual. As a rule, try to send well rounded individuals who have shown leadership qualities.

The camp attendees should be rising juniors or seniors (i.e., students who are between their sophomore/junior years or junior/senior years of high school). Students who have graduated high school are not eligible to attend District 5580's Camp RYLA.

Important: Preference should be given to juniors entering their senior year of high school. The vast majority of the campers will be seniors beginning in September after camp. If there is an outstanding sophomore, encourage them to apply the following year.


Start recruitment process early in the school year. Partner with individuals who can help identify the best candidates for RYLA. Meet with high school principals, counselors and coaches to explain the purpose of Camp RYLA and the ideal candidate. As you identify high-quality potential applicants, meet with them individually or host an informational session to to explain the purpose of Camp RYLA.

  • Previous RYLA campers (often, your best source!)
  • School principals and counselors
  • Coaches
  • Rotarians (sons and daughters of Rotarians may attend Camp RYLA)
  • Youth leaders (club advisers, church youth leaders)
Important Dates

January 15 - Begin recruiting no later than this!

Once students complete the online application, they'll receive an email like the sample below:

Thank you so much for your interest in RYLA and taking the time to complete the first step of applying! Please note: This application must be completed in its entirety before it can be submitted to the school counselor or Rotary Club that will be sponsoring you.

1. Review the attached form and verify your information is accurate.
a. Please ensure all required signatures are included.

2. Once you are selected to attend RYLA, a Parent/Guardian will need to complete the following forms,click here to download:
a. Liability Waiver
b. Medical Authorization
c. Medical Information
3. In June, you will receive materials in the mail to prepare you for the program in July.

Selected applications must be submitted to the district by April 28, 2018..

If you have any questions please contact

Interview and Candidate Selection

Budget enough time to allow the club to thoroughly interview and screen candidates to ensure the best applicants are selected. Creating a consistent, organized process helps clubs select the best applicants and ensures a quality RYLA experience for all campers. Suggested best practices:

  • Have applicants include school transcript and picture with application
  • Organize question format to standardize questions for all applicants
  • Schedule interviews with full committee of Rotarians
  • Use rating sheet for each camper interviewed
  • Acquaint selection committee with rating system to assure consistent assessments

Optional: In instances where there are far too many candidates to interview, ask applicants to write a short essay on why they think the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp would be a good experience for them.

Important Dates

March 1 - Begin interview candidates
April 28 - Final applications need to be submitted!

Interview and Candidate Selection

Important: Select your allotted camper(s) and one or more alternates. Selected campers sometimes need to withdraw from attending RYLA and alternates must be prepared to take their place. Keep alternates informed of all details regarding camp up to the start of Camp RYLA.


Club Chairperson Guide

2018 RYLA Postcard

2018 RYLA Poster

Interview Rating Sheet