What to expect from RYLA

Rotary District 5240 spans the central coast of California from San Luis Obispo to Agoura Hills covering inland to China Lake. This district is comprised of 72 independent local Rotary clubs. Each year the district hosts a leadership retreat for high school students local to each of these clubs. The opportunity for each Rotary club to make an impact in their own back yards is far reaching through this event.

Each year all participating clubs in the district select ambassadors to represent them at a 4 day all expenses paid retreat designed by Rotarians to teach and promote leadership skills necessary to make change through services to humanity locally and worldwide. The event offers courses not often found in the regular curriculum teenagers are offered. These courses include diversity training, public speaking, team building, leadership fundamentals, goal setting, leading a meeting, character & ethics, facilitation, fellowship and creating good habits. The retreat offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. We invite very talented keynote speakers to come and teach, motivate and inspire our youth to become great leaders and to do great things.

The facility is located in beautiful hills of Ojai at Camp Ramah. All of the students sleep 3 nights in gender specific cabins with Rotary chaperones that have been through safety training, background checks and Leadership skills training. All of the instructors have specific curriculum that has been used, analyzed and changed over the years under the auspices of an ever improving program. We are graded by the students and volunteers every year and take to heart any opportunity for creating a better program for the students. The students get to enjoy a talent show, a dance, rock climbing, lazer tag, jousting, games, music and much more.

The focus for the weekend is centered on the tasks at hand. Everyone eats in a family style environment, no cell phones are allowed and students cannot drive themselves to the retreat. All students are housed and grouped in a way the actually prevents them from being with people that they would already know. This is done to encourage new relationships and the understanding that leaders must be able to reach out to anyone.

The weekend culminates in an award ceremony for all of the students. It is a magical time each year to witness the growth and inspiration these students walk away with. They all have new tools to draw on for the rest of their lives when they are in the position to become leaders or to help leaders become successful. These tools help in school, work, charity, and family life. The testimonials from the students, parents and the student’s school faculty are truly proof positive that this retreat is world class.