Parents Concerns

ROTARY YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARDS (RYLA) in Rotary District 5240 is a 4 day leadership retreat held in Ojai California every April. The event is managed and taught by Rotarians who volunteer their time and talents to benefit high school students who attend schools within the boundaries of District 5240. The event starts on a Thursday and ends on a Sunday and the Students are required to stay the entire time. The goal of the retreat is to educate, empower and motivate students to be constructive and contributory in their schools, future careers and communities.

RYLA is an international event that takes place in many different formats. The curriculum, time, age groups and locations are unique to the district that participates. In District 5240 we have adopted the current model after careful consideration and years of modification. The staff continually looks for opportunities for improvement in the curriculum, facilities and staff.


The curriculum is geared around teaching leadership skills through: Public Speaking, Team Building, Goal Setting, Leading a Meeting, Character & Ethics, Facilitation, Motivation, and building good habits.

Safety Policy

Every volunteer or overnight guest must agree to and pass a background check that looks for any criminal activity in California or any state that person has lived in. Additionally, they must read and sign a safety policy agreement that gives instructions to look for and refrain from the 5 types of recognized abuses. They are given procedures for dealing with illness, injuries and blood. Select staff members have walkie-talkies 24 hours a day to make communication easy and effective.


Your son or daughter will be supervised during the entire retreat. All students will be assigned to a cabin and an adult cabin counselor of the same gender upon arrival. All students will be sleeping in cabins with other students and at least one adult of the same gender. All students will be sharing bathrooms and showers with other students and at least one adult counselor of the same gender. No member of the opposite gender (including staff) is allowed in the cabins whether they are occupied or not. Every cabin has bunk beds with mattresses but no pillows. Please see List of what to bring and what not to bring.

Classrooms and Activities

All students will be given a colored wristband. Each color group attends the same classrooms and outdoor activities together. Each color group is comprised of girls and boys. All students will be asked to participate in indoor classroom setting activities and physical teambuilding activities, which may or may not be outdoors. If a Student has a physical disability, they will be allowed to participate to the best of their ability or not at all. Students will also be offered extracurricular activities such as rock climbing, laser tag, jousting, dancing, and karaoke.

Focus on RYLA

The curriculum is based on leadership fundamentals and teambuilding. This is why students must be there from the beginning and stay until the culmination of the weekend. Students are not allowed to bring cell phones because we want them to engage the other students attending the event. (Phones are available for emergency purposes). The groups are systematically assembled so that students from the same school or town are not together. Part of the growth experience includes the courage to approach people that one might not otherwise be compelled to.


Students / Parents / Guardians must notify RYLA contacts if the student will possess and/or need medication of any kind during the retreat. Any medication not registered will be considered a violation of the RYLA Behavior Code.

Unless the staff has otherwise been directed an adult member of the RYLA staff may allow a student to take over-the-counter pain relievers according to the manufacturers recommended dosages. If it is deemed that other medical treatment may be needed every attempt will be made to contact the parent or legal guardian for advisement or direction. If a guardian is not available then the staff will seek immediate attention from any doctor or any hospital. Parents must notify RYLA staff of any and all health issues that may affect their son or daughter’s stay at RYLA.

Behavior Code

All students must sign a behavior code when registering for RYLA. This code is strictly enforced and includes a dress code. We expect that all students dress appropriately at all times. We expect that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. You can view the behavior code here.


We are very accessible with cell phones carried at all times by the retreat leaders and Camp Ramah can be reached on land lines. Students can leave for family emergencies but they must be picked up by an authorized person. If Students have personal emergencies the staff will make the best determination for dealing with the situation.