District 7170 About RYLA

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 ROTARY DISTRICT 7170                                 2024



Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is Rotary's leadership training program for young people.  It emphasizes leadership, citizenship and personal growth for the exceptional young men and women who are selected to participate. 


RYLA is one of the best and most effective programs run by Rotary clubs around the world. The first RYLA session was held in 1959 in Queensland, Australia. Planned around Queensland's centennial, it proved to be a very successful event. Annual sessions took place in following years. And then the good news spread throughout the worldwide Rotary Community. 


RYLA came to District 7170 in the early 1980s, and a week-long conference was held at Golden Valley Sports Camp in Sidney, NY in the early years. Now it’s based on the SUNY Oneonta College campus in Oneonta.  This coming summer's program will be District 7170's 41st program. 


District 7170's RYLA program is limited to high school students with leadership potential who are moving from their junior to senior years. Our program goes beyond other "junior experiences" like Boys State, Girls State and a host of specialty seminars and presentations for promising students.  Each individual club within the District uses its own criteria for selecting the students - many enlist the help of their high school guidance counselors.


The RYLA Conference in Oneonta this past year had 83 participants. Many of the 41 Rotary clubs in District 7170 provided RYLA scholarships to students. The cost of tuition and lodging is currently $350 per attendee and is paid by the individual clubs.   Clubs send  students depending on the club's finances and by the number of high schools served by that particular Rotary club.


Most members of the RYLA staff are area high school teachers. Many of the guest speakers have direct ties with Rotary. Several were former Rotary exchange students.  


For many of the students, RYLA is their first experience on a college campus. The students live in dorms with roommates purposely not from their home schools, eat in the cafeteria, and use other SUNY Oneonta facilities such as the library, computer and technology rooms, fitness center and large meeting rooms. 


The RYLA experience concludes with an awards ceremony for parents and friends.  This event is open to all district Rotarians  "It's a great way for everyone to see some outstanding student work and for Rotarians to see the value coming from their club's investment."


Please feel free to download or copy any of the material found on this website about RYLA and distribute them to your students or parents.