Be a Leader – Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)

Leadership is an essential aspect of Rotary—and we offer both clubs and programs to help emerging leaders develop their skills. Through these groups, participants strengthen their leadership skills, serve their communities, increase their world understanding, build friendships, and more. The Rotary eClub of Arizona is proud to sponsor participants to RYLA. If you have an interest, please review the application information below and decide if this experience will enhance your life. We believe it will transform you into the next great leader our world so desperately needs.

line-of-smilesHow is RYLA organized?

RYLA is a program of Rotary International (RI), the world’s oldest service club organization. RI is made up of almost 32,000 clubs located in more than 165 countries around the world. Its members form a global network of business and professional leaders, men, and women, who volunteer their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.

Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self, exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members.

Rotary clubs are organized within more than 500 R.I. districts worldwide, many of which sponsor their own RYLA programs. District 5490, the “Grand Canyon District,” incorporates 42 rotary clubs located in northwest Arizona, ranging from Phoenix to the Colorado River,Lake Havasu & Bullhead Cities, Kingman, Williams, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Verde Valley and the Prescott area.

RYLA Curriculum

  • Fundamentals of Leadership
  • Ethics and Leadership
  • Importance of communication skills in effective Leadership
  • Problem-solving and Conflict Management
  • Rotary’s purpose and service to the community
  • Building self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Elements of community and global citizenship



You will be expected to:

  • Spend the full and entire weekend at RYLA;
  • Participate in all activities, showing the best of your leadership skills, with a good attitude and open mind;
  • Follow the easy rules of Camp Pinerock;
  • Visit your sponsoring Rotary Club after RYLA and make a short presentation on what you gained by attending;
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!


NOTHING! Local Rotary Clubs sponsor each delegate. The cost for the full weekend’s program, including accommodation and catering, is sponsored by the local Rotary Clubs. There is no need to bring money with you for the weekend.  There is nowhere to spend it.


Complete directions are included on the Delegates page.

WHERE IS MY LOCAL ROTARY CLUB  to find your nearest Rotary Club – via the District 5490 website


Our RYLA event is held at Camp Pinerock in Prescott Arizona.  A link is included or goes to The rooms are in various buildings with shared bath facilities and sleeping rooms.

Girls and boys are in separate facilities.

There are generally four bunks per room with a communal toilet, shower and washroom for each floor or in some cases, facilities shared between rooms.

You will need a sleeping bag.  See the section on what to bring.


RYLA is an activity weekend, and consequently designer clothes and jewelry should be left at home.

You will need to prepare for both indoor and outdoor activities (including possible snow conditions), and the suggested RYLA guidelines will be helpful when deciding what to pack for the weekend.


RYLA is for outstanding high school students in their sophomore and junior years. They will be delegates who possess a high degree of positive leadership potential. They are young adults who are motivated to experience new challenges and take responsibility to create positive actions.

RYLA delegates are recommended by their school, other organizations and chosen by the sponsoring Rotary Club. RYLA delegates must be in good health and have proper insurance coverage. Delegates must be willing to participate in Family meetings prior to RYLA and they must agree to fulfill the complete

RYLA District 5490

  • You will enjoy a weekend where you will learn more than you can ever imagine and you will not even realize it because you are having so much fun!
  • You will Lose and find yourself at the same time!
  • RYLA is presented at Camp Pinerock in Prescott, AZ and facilitated by the Rotarians of Rotary District 5490.
  • This outstanding event brings out leadership skills in individuals through team building concepts and outdoor-based activities that include trust building exercises, problem-solving initiatives, and low and high challenge course experiences.
  • Our delegates say that this life-changing experience builds inner strength and lasting friendships!
  • Sometimes it takes the great outdoors to find your inner strength. 


Each year, thousands of young people take part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program worldwide.

High School Sophomores & Juniors are selected for their leadership abilities and experiences. Rotary Clubs conduct individual interviews and select award winners (delegates) to attend the four-day event. The Rotary clubs pay all expenses for the delegates weekend.

Those attending will reinforce their leadership abilities & skills, utilize new methods, learn about their inner selves through a well-rounded exciting,stimulating and busy program. Activities vary from swinging from trees to exploring your own personality while meeting new friends of all ages and backgrounds.

Rotary Youth Exchange students from around the world are in each group to share their culture, background and knowledge. Rotarians and invited presenters coordinate the day and evening sessions. This is an interactive experiential program with challenges,sharing and increasing individual knowledge.

Our RYLA weekend will give each delegate to expand their leadership capabilities. It encourages leadership of youth by youth. Delegates exceed their expectations through increased self confidence and group support. Delegates are leaders and followers and gain knowledge of how to apply their skills in each area.

How do I apply as a Student Delegate?

If you are in your sophomore junior year of high school you may apply for the District 5490 RYLA program. (Freshmen/Seniors may apply, but priority is to Soph/Jr applicants). PLEASE NOTE: APPLICATIONS CLOSE ON OCTOBER 31ST NO FURTHER STUDENT/DELEGATE APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THAT DATE. Applications close 9:00 PM.

To apply, please do the following:

  1. You MUST apply online. Go to the student/delegate application link on this website. Complete BOTH THE STUDENT APPLICATION AND THE STUDENT HEALTH FORM.
  2. Make sure to attach a current JPG picture where indicated, labeled with YOUR name. Please submit a picture only of yourself…. Not a picture of you with your friends, neighbors, etc.
  3. You should receive an email copy of both your completed application and health form.  PLEASE save this for possible future reference.
  4. A Sponsoring Rotary Club Representative will notify you of the time and place of your mandatory RYLA selection interview, typically sometime in November or December.
  5. Following your interview, applicants selected to attend RYLA and applicants selected as alternates will be notified in writing via email by their sponsoring Rotary Club of their selection status. Please respond to your email in a timely manner; if you do not respond, we will assume you are no longer interested in being RYLA Delegate applicant.
  6. If you are selected to attend RYLA, commitment for the entire four day/ three night event is mandatory. Hit the FAQs for additional information, ie transportation, what to bring, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If for some reason you DO NOT receive a copy of either your application or your health form via email; please notify the Registrar for assistance. ASAP.

Delegate Application

The application must be fully completed for consideration.

How do I apply as a RYLA 5490 Junior Counselor (JC)?

If you attended RYLA 5490 as a student Delegate, you may apply for the District 5490 RYLA Program as a JC. Applications are open Aug 22 – Sept 30. NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE CLOSING DATE. To apply, please do the following:

  1. You MUST apply online. Go to the Junior Counselor application link on the RYLA 5490 website. Complete BOTH THE JUNIOR COUNSELOR APPLICATION AND THE HEALTH FORM. Make sure to attach a current JPG picture where indicated, labeled with YOUR name. Please submit a picture only of yourself…. Not a picture of you with your friends, neighbors, etc.
  2. You should receive an email copy of both your completed application and health form.  PLEASE save this for possible future reference.
  3. If you will be 18 or older at the time or RYLA, you will receive an email from the District 5490 Youth Protection Officer, Jerry Hanen on how to complete information for a mandatory background check. You do NOT need to proceed with the background check information until you receive the notification email.
  4. You will be contacted in November by a member of the JC interview committee to schedule your interview time. PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL ROUTINELY AND REPLY IN A TIMELY MANNER. If you do not respond to email requests, we will assume you are no longer interested in being considered for a JC position.
  5. Following your interview, applicants selected to attend RYLA as a Junior Counselor, and those selected as alternates, will be notified in writing of their status, via email.
  6. If selected to attend RYLA, your commitment for the entire four day event is mandatory, as is the orientation held on the Saturday prior to RYLA. You will be responsible for your own transportation to both.

Luke Lewis Scholarship Award

The Luke Lewis Award is a $1000 scholarship award presented to the outstanding Junior Counselor at RYLA.

The award is named after Luke Lewis, a former Rotary District 5490 RYLA Junior Counselor, who, in the spring of 1997, died suddenly from leukemia.

Luke loved RYLA, but Luke also loved life and all of the friends he made. But that was Luke. He took you into his heart and always made you laugh! He loved the Miami Dolphins and his main man was Dan Marino. He loved his sports, football and baseball. He was big but was a teddy bear. He took karate and shot hoops in his front yard. Ever since he could sing he loved Randy Travis, he even won an award for singing his song and made a recording. He loved to draw and was thinking of art school when he graduated. He loved life and people and it showed. Luke was a quiet leader who supported and set the direction for other potential leaders.


The Luke Lewis $1000 Award is based on the following criteria:

  1. The candidate must be a current year Junior Counselor
  2. They must exhibit, to the Luke Lewis Scholarship Awards Committee; they are leaders by their actions, words and deeds while serving as a Junior Counselor.
  3. They must go above and beyond in demonstrating their leadership skills. A blend of leader-leadership, maturing, a positive attitude, a willingness to help the little guy and being considerate of others are ideal traits;
  4. How they act and handle themselves when interacting with others
  5. The candidate’s ability to integrate their talents into school work, Rotary Programs, home life and community service while keeping a positive attitude.


  • Nicole Gregory
    2012 – Deer Valley H.S.
  • Brianna Bradner
    2011 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Lauren Dukes
    2010 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Alex Mayo
    2009 – Kingman High
  • Michael Kile
    2008 – Chino Valley H.S.
  • Leslie Malay
    2007 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Amy Robl
    2006 – Chino Valley H.S
  • Feather McGuire
    2005 – Seligman H.S.
  • Jason Ahumada
    2004 – Mingus H.S.
  • Grace Coe Lechner
    2003 – Mingus H.S.
  • Matt Peterson
    2002 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Kellie Kochner 
    2001 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Mark Petroff
    2000 – Centennial H.S.
  • Suzanne Kurpeski
    1999 – Lake Havasu H.S.
  • Juan Marino
    1998 – Dysart H.S.

How do I apply as an Adult RYLA 5490 Volunteer?

There are no formal requirements to be an Adult Volunteer. Priority is given to adults who are Rotary members, however that is not mandatory.

  1. Check your personal calendar to insure you will be available to participate in all activities (i.e., Orientation, the entire RYLA conference, etc.)….you will find this information on the front page of RYLA 5490 website.
  2. Enter all the relevant RYLA dates on your personal calendar. If you are not sure you can commit to the times required, please notify the chairperson, registrar, or programs coordinator ASAP.
  3. Complete the online Adult application AND the Health Form. Submitting your completed application and health form online will constitute your signature for these forms. You are not required to submit ‘hard copies’.
    Please make sure to attach a current JPG picture of yourself where indicated (Do not use pictures of you with your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers etc… ) and label with your name.
    You will receive an email a week or so after you complete your online application from the District 5490 Youth Protection Officer with directions on how to complete mandatory background check information. You do not need to complete background check information UNTIL you hear from the Protection Officer, Jerry Hanen.
  4. You should receive an email for your records with a copy of both forms.
  5. You will be contacted by the Programs Coordinator to inform you of what volunteer position you have been selected for, and to confirm your availability. We try to make this contact as soon as possible; however there are times where positions cannot be filled until relatively close to the RYLA weekend.
  6. If selected to be a facilitator: You must attend Facilitator Orientation on the date specified in the RYLA Calendar – Timeline. The only exception is if you are a returning Facilitator, you have an emergency, and you have received permission from the Registrar or Program Coordinator to miss Orientation. In order to establish camaraderie among the Facilitators and to lend your expertise to the training session, experienced Facilitators are expected to attend Orientation except in the case of a personal emergency.
  7. Attend RYLA and have the time of your life!



CHAIRMAN, 2016-2018:
Mark Carpenter

Tamera Sabinsky
P.O. Box 1955
Sun City, AZ 85372-1955

Zuri Torres

Amy Robl

For more information, please visit our RYLA website at
We always welcome your feedback.