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*** CAMP RYLA ***

RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, which is Rotary's training program for young leaders, emphasizing leadership, citizenship and personal growth.

RYLA was officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971, and is one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service. RYLA participants often go on to become Youth Exchange students or Ambassadorial Scholars.

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; and
Recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities

Each year, thousands of young people take part in the RYLA program worldwide. Young high school students chosen for their leadership potential attend an all-expense-paid 5 day camp at Camp Campbell to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice. Rotary clubs and districts select participants and facilitate the event's curriculum.

Click on the photo for the Thursday evening BBQ attended by Ray, Paul C. and Jerry
Click on this LINK for a video of Camp RYLA 2011 on youtube.


Pictured with Ed Lacina, the Youth Services Director, is Rodrigo (RJ) Jiminez, Maylea Saito, Rheshell Ramos, and Amanda Tran who attended this year's RYLA.

We heard the following comments as they shared their experiences with us at our meeting: The skills we learned apply to a lifetime; It was beyond all expectations; New friendships were made; and Glad they went.

It is said about RYLA that "From the outside you can't imagine it, and from the inside you can't explain it".

Click HERE for a press release about three students from Oak Grove that attended Camp RYLA this year.

Camp RYLA - A Leadership Experience
by Rich Bennett, Chairman

Camp RYLA is a Rotary sponsored leadership camp for students ages 14 to 18. In our district, camp RYLA is for high school students. We ask the clubs to send high school juniors and incoming Interact Presidents. Being sure to include some students from continuation schools and making sure we have enough males attending.

First the campers received two days of intense leadership training from instructors, from the Dale Carnegie Leadership Course. Wednesday morning they have an introductory session on mediation training. This is something new we started last year and will be increasing the time of the session next year. The rest of the time the campers work on putting together their own programs and performing them before the rest of the camp, such as a speech and debate program and a band and choir program. Let's not forget the daily camp newspaper and the camp yearbook.

Thursday night we have the annual Dave Ditto Barbecue. PDG Dave Ditto, had been the Rotarian in the past that had coordinated this event and was one of the founders of our Camp RYLA. Last year we dedicated a new pavilion that will be named the "David Ditto/RYLA Memorial Pavilion." This pavilion is currently in the design stage and should be built by Next September.

Even Rotary International is seeing the importance of training our youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. The Rotary Rose Parade Float this year will be about recognizing tomorrow's leaders and will have former RYLA campers riding on the float. Our district has the opportunity to have one of our campers be one of the riders. To make this happen every club in our district must donate a minimum of $1.00 per member to help pay for the construction of the float. They would like $2.00 per member. In addition to having the float on RYLA, Rotary International will be having its first International RYLA Convention. This convention will be right before the International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. There will be 200 former RYLA graduates attending this event. The participants will be selected from applications Rotary International has received from around the world. Our district has submitted one of our former RYLA graduates for possible participation.

One of the best kept secrets of this district is the magical experience that takes place at our Camp RYLA under the leadership of Camp Director, Lee Fort from the San Jose North Club. He and his staff have put together a program that not only teaches leadership skills, but also has the students experience these skills every minute at camp. Let's not keep this outstanding camp a secret anymore. This year's camp will be from June 17 to June 22, 2001.

The past year (June, 2000), Almaden Valley Rotary sent 5 students to Camp RYLA. They were:

  • Pioneer High School Interact Club
    • Chadia Assaly
    • Kristina Wegsheider
  • Oak Grove High School Interact Club
    • Sarah Medrano
    • Jannelle Quintos
  • Leland High School
    • Nikita Shah

As always, Ray Lester was there cookin' the corn.