Congratulations! You are
a RYLA Chair!
If you are new to the position, you may be wondering, “what does that mean?” Here is a step-by-step guide on how to be a great RYLA chair and do your part to make RYLA happen in your district. If you have been in this position previously, please take a moment to review the information as we will update it as information changes.
First, what is RYLA?
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, or RYLA, is a program of Rotary for people between the ages of 14 and 30 (though most RYLAs in the USA are for high school students). RYLAs are generally done for the local district or a combined group of districts, and may be coordinated by a district committee, a club within the district or any number of other ways. Since 1971, RYLAs around the world have been developing leadership skills, in a variety of ways, for students and young professionals. RYLA is intended specifically to build those skills necessary to make the world a better place. Historically, RYLA has been held as an in-person retreat, typically between 3 and 10 days. Different RYLAs use a variety of activities and challenges to push attendees out of their comfort zones and to teach leadership tools.
How is RYLA+ different from RYLA?
RYLA+ is a hybrid leadership retreat created by Leader N U, using active learning strategies, and is designed to be a for youth, by youth program. Local districts partner with Leader N U to bring the program to their students as well as build a pipeline to Rotary through robust alumni engagement. As Rotarians, we are always thinking about how to make our tomorrow’s even better by what we do today. As we look to our future, we know that we must now start getting students ready to lead in jobs that don’t yet exist. There are some things we do know though. With nearly 60% of the American workforce currently working remotely at least part time, it makes sense to help our students learn to lead in multiple environments. Helping students learn to lead for their future is good for them and good for our world. Because the program is custom built for the students of today, sponsored students MUST attend BOTH on-line at their house and then in-person at the campsite.
What is Leader N U?
Leader N U is a Rotarian-founded power skill development company that works with corporate clients, educational institutions and student programs to help build the top skills employers and colleges are looking for today. Nearly all employees at Leader N U are RYLA alumni and all employees are committed to transformative growth and development.
Steps to make a great RYLA+ happen!
– Talk with your club members and club board about sponsoring students in your area. Some clubs have a certain amount of money built into the budget to sponsor a set number of campers. Other clubs hold fundraisers in order to send more. A camper sponsorship for this year is: $475
– Share with club members ways they can volunteer at the actual camp.
– Many Rotarians may not know what RYLA+ is and what it has to offer. Talk to your RYLA committee contact if you would like more information to share with your club, including a short powerpoint presentation you may use.
Deadline: August 31st
– It takes a lot to plan a RYLA and it is much easier to do so when you know what you’re working with. The RYLA Committee will have someone who is designated as the Registration Coordinator. This will likely be the person who reaches out the most to you.
– Once your club decides how many students to sponsor, let the Registration Coordinator know so those spots may be reserved. There are a limited number of beds at every camp site, so getting your numbers in quickly helps everyone.
– Send your funding for the number of sponsored campers to the designated person. RYLAs also cost real money and most facilities, etc. require deposits. Supplies must also be purchased in advance. Amount per camper: $475. Treasurer contact information: TBD
– Sponsorships received after August 31st will be $500.
Deadline: August 15th
– Contact all the high schools in your area. Often the school counselor is the best place to start. However, other points of contact may include teachers or interact advisors. Share with them what RYLA+ is and the benefits it has for their students. Be sure to mention that while RYLA is a transformative experience, it also looks great on college and scholarship applications, not to mention gets students involved with a service organization with 1.2 million members.
– Ask the school contact about finding students to apply for RYLA. Since all of the applications are online, students can easily access the applications using the QR code on the flyers and fill them out using their phones.
– We are not limited on the number of applications we can receive. Any student not selected by their club to attend is automatically placed into an alternate status. If there are sponsored students from around the district who are unable to attend, those alternates may be moved to actively sponsored status.
– You may also wish to reach out to local home school associations, youth groups, and other local teen programs.
Deadline: August 22nd
– Once students apply, a pdf of their application is immediately sent directly to you, the club chair. Working with the school, you can find out how many students they have encouraged to apply.
– Whether you print off the applications or create a digital packet, club chairs have found it useful to gather all of the applications as they come in.
– Should you need any additional copies or have questions about the applications, you may email email@example.com at any time and we are happy to help. Leader N U receives copies as well and all application information in additionally gathered in a database.
– If you have not received the number of applications you would like, be sure to follow up with schools and other organizations.
Deadline: September 1st
– This process is decided at the club level. Here are some ideas of ways clubs select their sponsored students:
- Sponsor as many students as apply from the area.
- Sponsor a set number of students and allow the high school counselor to identify which students are the best fit for RYLA.
- Form a committee within the club, send them the applications and decide as a group.
- Form a committee within the club and interview the applicants.
– Once the process is complete, you should have your list of sponsored students.
Deadline: September 1st
– Send your list of sponsored students to the same person you notified about the number of students you wished to sponsor, the Registration Coordinator.
– If you are not able to find enough students (for any number of reasons) to fill your slots, you may ask the Registration Coordinator if there are alternates that may be available to fill those slots.
– Invite them to one of your club meetings. If you meet during the school day, ask the counselor to join you as well and recognize all of them in front of your club.
– Touch base with them as RYLA gets closer to make sure they have what they need and to see if they have any questions. If there is something you cannot answer, you may ask the RYLA committee or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline: September 15th
– In order to best serve students, all volunteers will need to complete some staff training. Depending on the role at camp, this training may include any or all of the following: (all modules are self-paced)
- Youth Protection Training (YPT). Every adult working with youth must complete the requirements of the district. YPT is provided in modules. Background checks are also required of all adult volunteers.
- Content training. Anyone working with students throughout the week will want to understand what to expect. (modules)
- Team leader training. Anyone working directly with students in teams will be provided with additional modules to learn about the expectations of being part of a team.
- Online staff day. This is a three-hour, live training with everyone who will be part of camp. During this time, volunteers get to know each other as well as learn how to navigate the online portion of RYLA+.
- Onsite staff day. The day immediately prior to the day students arrive, all staff participate in training for onsite activities and help set up the camp, getting it ready for the students to arrive the next day. (After the day/evening, staff stays at the camp, waking up to finalize preparations.)
Deadline: September 25th
– Once you have let the RYLA committee know who your club will be sponsoring, students will be sent an acceptance letter with a registration link. This link leads them to registering on the website first (students.leadernu.com). They must follow the link in order for their account to be connected to RYLA+ in your district.
– After registering on the site, they are redirected to a registration course. (They are provided instructions, however, if they ask… they just need to scroll to the bottom of that page and click, “Enroll Now.”
- This course takes them step by step through the information they need for RYLA+. What it is, what to bring, how to get there, etc.
- The course also has them fill out forms about themselves so we can prepare for them.
– Parents are sent an acceptance letter about their students as well. Their letter contains links to two consent forms, which they sign electronically.
- RYLA+ medical, liability and photo release
- Facility ropes/challenge course release
– Make sure students know their transportation plan to the onsite camp. If possible, this is a great opportunity for a club member to drive the student to and from RYLA, getting to know them. During the registration process, students will be asked to notify us of their transportation plans. They can drive themselves, have their parents drive them, ride with another attendee, ride with a local Rotarian, or request transportation.
Deadline: November 8th
– Invite students to speak to your club about their experience.
– Invite students to help with your club’s service projects.
– If your students are not in Interact yet, ask if they would like to join or start one at their school.
– Help your students stay involved with Rotary!