Each summer thousands of young people are selected to attend Rotary sponsored leadership camps or seminars in the United States, Australia, Canada, India, France, Argentina, Korea and numerous other countries. In an informal atmosphere, groups of outstanding young men and/ or women spend a week in a challenging program of leadership training, discussions, inspirational addresses and social activities designed to enhance personal development, leadership skills and good citizenship.
The official name of this activity is the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program (RYLA), although these events are sometimes referred to by other names, such as Camp Royal, Camp Enterprise, Youth Leaders Seminars, Youth Conferences or other terms.
The RYLA program began in Australia in 1959, when young people throughout the state of Queensland were selected to meet with Princess Alexandra, the young cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Rotarians of Brisbane, who hosted the participants, were impressed with the quality of the young leaders. It was decided to bring youth leaders together each year for a week of social, cultural and educational activities.
The RYLA program gradually grew throughout all the Rotary districts of Australia and New Zealand.
In 1971, the RI Board of Directors adopted RYLA as an official program of Rotary International.