Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts for Interact students, Interact alumnus, Rotaract members, and Rotary Youth Exchange students ages 14-30 to facilitate leadership skills development and Rotary connections. The four day event is usually held in late February or mid-March each year. 

This year, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, scheduled to have been hosted in Tacoma at Pacific Lutheran University March 12th-15th, 2020, were canceled due to the pandemic response. This was to have been the 50th anniversary of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in the Pacific Northwest.

RYLA Northwest objectives include:

  • Demonstrating Rotary’s respect and concern for youth;

  • Publicly recognizing and nurturing the high qualities of the many young people who are rendering service to their communities as youth leaders;

  • Stimulating and cultivating leadership potential in youth;

  • Providing meaningful leadership training experience for youth, through programs such as physical & mental challenges, discussions, and guest speakers;

  • Training an elite group of tomorrow’s leaders.

The RYLA NW webpage is a good source of information. The RYLA Northwest Facebook page  provides additional insight into RYLA activities.  There are also Twitter and Instagram feeds supporting the RYLA Northwest event. 


RYLA Northwest participants connect with community and global leaders to build communication and problem-solving skills, discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in school or in their community, learn from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors, unlock potential to turn motivation into action, and have fun and form lasting friendships.


RYLA participants are nominated by local Rotary clubs. Members or alumni of Interact, Rotoract, or Rotary Youth Exchange programs are eligible for participation. The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County usually pays to send three Interact students to RYLA. In some years, we have supported non-Interact Club member participation. Adult Rotarians who have applied and have been approved by RYLA to act as observers pay their own way. 


If you’re interested, whether or not you are a member of Interact, Rotaract, or a current or former Rotary Youth Exchange participant, please apply. Contact the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County via email using the address ><  ; replace the “-at-” with the ampersand. 


Interested in more information? Check out the RYLA Northwest webpage !