Rotary - What is it?

In 1905, ago a man named Paul Harris who lived in Chicago, Illinois met with several business friends to talk about mutual business problems. He felt that talking about matters that concerned each of them would prove beneficial not only to themselves but to the community at large. The men liked the idea of the weekly meetings and decided to “rotate” the meeting sites to their respective offices. Thus “Rotary”, one of the largest service organizations in the world was born. Today, more than one million men and women comprise over 46,000 clubs throughout the world. Measured in time and money, Rotary is the largest independent giving organization in the world. The large Rotary world is comprised of Districts. Our Rotary Districts are 5950 and 5960. Each club within our districts pays for and sponsors RYLA scholarships.

How RYLA Scholarship Participants are Selected

The RYLA program is open to all high school juniors and sophomores. Participant selection is very important to the success of the program. We are looking for juniors and sophomores of all backgrounds that have demonstrated leadership potential and will benefit from an opportunity to attend RYLA. Interested juniors and sophomores should contact their school counselor or local Rotarians to learn of the exact date for application.
This event has been run by the St. Paul Club since the 1950s which makes it one of the longest running programs in Rotary worldwide.

Officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) is one of the most significant and fastest growing programs of Rotary service. Each year thousands of young people take part in the program worldwide. The impact spreads further as the program influences other young people.

RYLA programs often lead to the formation or strengthening of Rotaract and Interact clubs. RYLA aims to:

  • Provide high school students with challenges and experiences that promote an interest in leadership, team building and problem solving; to provide them with tools and experiences for them to use in practicing and developing these traits; and to instill within them a desire to purse leadership opportunities in the future..
  • Create a safe and welcoming event within the framework of Rotary’s 4-Way Test:  Is it the Truth? / Is it Fair for All Concerned? / Will it Build Good Will and Better Friendships, and /  Will it Be Beneficial to All Concerned? 
  • Build individual student’s confidence in their ability to engage, challenge, listen, be heard and make decisions as part of a group or team.
  • Have FUN and form lasting friendships.