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Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a remarkable District program that provides over 100 high school students with leadership training and experiences in an adventure camp setting. 

RYLA participants spend four days in small groups, where they run through a series of challenge activity. A typical activity requires the team to lead all members through a maze from Point A to Point B. Achieving each activity requires participation from the whole team. Just when the kids think they have figured out how to achieve the goal, their team leaders add "handicaps" by blindfolding some of the participants, or changing the rules.

After each exercise, the team reflects on what they did well, what they could have done better, and which leadership style proved most powerful in specific situations.

These reflections bring the learning experience home, and it is the most far-reaching portion of the RYLA experience.

Throughout RYLA, participants grade themselves on the Four-Way Test, while they bond with their team and embark on solid friendships. They also learn about Interact and other Rotary youth opportunities.

For more information, please contact Portsmouth Rotarian Joanie Dickinson (joanie.dickinson@jhilburnpartner.com).