Briefing Notes

Our first Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Course was held in 2005. 

Each course has been managed by our chosen facilitator, Steve Thomas and his “GrassRoutes” team and is for young people aged 16 – 18. 40 places are available.

Sponsoring Clubs, not District recruit candidate(s) to represent them.



The 2019 course will again take place at The Dean Field Studies Centre in the Royal Forest of Dean.


Course dates:  6.00 p.m. Tuesday 23th  July  -  Sunday evening 28 July


Any questions please contact RYLA Chair: Eddie Sims on 07968983660 or via


 On the RYLA course you will:

  1. Build your communication and problem-solving skills

  2. Discover new  strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in your school or community

  3. Learn from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors

  4. Unlock your potential to turn motivation into action

  5. Have fun and form lasting friendships

  6. Prepare  for university and or employment

    NB The course qualifies as a gold DofE Residential


      There are some videos and a gallery
     below to give you a taste of  the       


     Video 1  The first minutes of RYLA ...

     Video 2   Marble run

      Video 3   Kayak tag

      Video 4   Jacob's ladder teamwork


        Video 5    High on crates 




The Week...

  Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in  

               District 1100


Our RYLA course in brief – a day by day account





On the last Tuesday afternoon in  July, forty 16 - 18 year old young achievers will set out to join our District RYLA course at the Dean Field Studies Centre in the heart of the Forest of Dean– it will prove to be the most exciting and rewarding week of their young lives.

Managed by our team of professional instructors, the sponsored participants, who will come from throughout our district, will tackle physical and mental exercises which will challenge their leadership and communication skills, develop their self esteem and build confidence.


Above all they will have fun!


Apprehension will soon diminish as a couple of ice breaking exercises will overcome any hint of shyness and trepidation.   Before the evening is out, teams will begin to bond; new friends will be made; any hints of nervousness will give way to excitement as the week’s schedule unfolds.


DAY 2 – Wednesday


The first calorific breakfast will be taken today – a meal our participants will look forward to daily, as it’s guaranteed to set them up for the day!


Following breakfast they will be set a series of outdoor physical leadership tasks which will test their mental agility, their maturity and sheer common sense! Supervision, while never far away, will be limited – it’s really a question of ‘let’s see what you are all made of!’



The reviews on

performance, which follow, will provide the opportunity for both team and individual feedback.

Honest, constructive criticism will be on offer from instructors and peers alike, sometimes, though hurtful, it is  necessary for progress to be made.



In the afternoon, the 40 participants will ponder the virtues of Rotary's '4 Way Test'!

Using our maxim, as the foundation on which to base the session, our guest Rotarian presenter, will lead a discussion and set exercises to encourage all forty to reveal their innermost thoughts. This will encourage them to prepare to meet the challenges they will face as they move through university and head towards adulthood and the real world!


More reviews, more feedback, more discussions on performance and lots more to think about, as individuals begin to better understand how their own performance – or lack of it – has an effect on everything they do!



The day – or by this time late evening - is not yet over.  The teams will now receive tuition in night orienteering and map reading, prior to embarking on a forest navigation exercise.  A confidence building exercise - if ever there was one - pity those who lacked sleep last night!




It couldn’t be a busier day for our 40 participants. They will be grateful for their calorific breakfast today as they head off to the high ropes course and climbing tower.



They will quickly learn the value of team work, of support and encouragement, while individually they will quietly gain in confidence

and self esteem. 



And there will be the inevitable review......



By contrast, the afternoon will see them gazing into a crystal ball as they discuss and visualize our planet’s global needs in the year 2030..


Will they consider global warming; the need for clean water throughout the world; literacy; hunger or manmade conflicts? In any event, they will discuss conflict resolution and in so doing, better understand, how effective communication, is the cornerstone of effective leadership.


They may think they have time to relax  after  dinner – no such luck  -  they will be introduced to Sir Earnest Shackleton and learn about his remarkable leadership qualities and death defying exploits.  


Teams will then discuss and review the man’s leadership qualities.





It doesn’t much matter if it rains today because the forty RYLA participants will get wet anyway! 





They will spend some of the day canoeing and kayaking, displaying their new found confidence and trust in their colleagues, all of whom will provide support and encouragement to those less self assured.


Later they will learn how to give presentations - something a few will do on Sunday at their farewell event -  and something all are required to do when they return to their sponsoring Rotary Clubs, where they will give their personal feedback on their RYLA course.

After dinner, the early evening is given over to Rotary.   Rotarians will give short presentations on Rotary in general, and on New Generations and Youth opportunities, in particular. They will also learn about Rotaract and how they each can become involved.




Can you believe, reviews will follow?




A challenging day with targets to be met! In their teams of ten, our intrepid RYLA participants will spend the morning in Monmouth, where they will interview managers in a number of businesses, learning about and researching management styles.  They will also be set a challenge to collect for a charity or charities, of their choice.

If you are in Monmouth on the Saturday of our RYLA course,   give your support – RYLA participants are easily recognisable in their navy blue RYLA embroidered polo shirts and carrying blue collecting buckets emblazoned with.....





        A Youth Opportunities Programme

       Collecting for charities supported by


(RYLA participants have collected more than £3500.00 in recent years and donated  funds to ‘Great Ormond Street’, ‘Acorn Hospices’, ‘Help the Heroes’ and ‘The Starlight Foundation’, SENSE’, ‘CLIC Sergeant’ and ‘Hope Support Services’)


Later they will be preparing for a talent show. This they will perform in the evening when they will put their new found confidence to the test; they will be creative and self expressive.






Tears will be shed today!


The final morning of team competition around the high ropes course, will find the participants putting their confidence and leadership skills to examination as they set out to show what they are really made of – and there are prizes to be won!


Their big day continues as they prepare for their final farewell event in front of an assembled company of parents, siblings and Rotarians.

Gathered at The Viney, each team will select a team member who will make a short presentation relating their week’s activities and achievements. Never before will any of them have presented in front of 200 people, but they will do so today without fear or trepidation. 


The District Governor will present them with their much deserved certificates, after which all will be treated to a Buffet which will draw our RYLA course to a close.

 Parents will wait patiently as all forty linger long over sad goodbyes!  

1 Team Big skis.JPG
2 Teams Big skis.JPG
Leadership Classroom.JPG
Ropes course.JPG
Ropes teamwork.jpg
Team success.JPG

ABOUT the course


Learning to lead

The rotary young leaders award 

course 2019 

Free course

gold DOfE residential