“This experience has changed my life in a way that leaves me speechless, but ready to speak and share new ideas.”“I learned that service leadership comes in many forms.  You don’t have to be older to make a difference.  And you don’t have to change the world, but just change and improve someone’s world.”The Missouri RYLA Academy – Changing lives.  Developing leaders.  Making a difference.In just 3 and ½ days next June, and at a cost of just $400, your Rotary Club can change a high school student’s life and – just maybe – make a difference in the world.  The RYLA Academy is limited to 100 students from Districts 6040, 6060, and 6080 and is held each year at William Woods University, where professional high school counselors and volunteer Rotarian counselors help the students participate in team-building exercises, learn their personality characteristics in a “True Colors” exercise, and develop a start-to-finish proposal for a service project.



In recent years, RYLA “graduates” have raised thousands of dollars to build a school in Sudan, have led a Shoes for Orphan Souls drive, and have started a café to feed the homeless.

RYLA is designed for students who have finished their sophomore years in high school, though sophomores-to-be may also attend.  The goal is to send students to RYLA who are interested in “servant leadership,” leading efforts and projects that will help others and their communities.  Clubs may discover such students though contacts with school teachers and counselors or through personal acquaintances.  Children and relatives of Rotarians may attend. 

The Missouri Academy is a joint undertaking of Districts 6040, 6060, and 6080.  It is governed by a 12-member statewide committee with four members from each district.  When the Missouri Academy was started in 2005, it was the first multi-district RYLA program to be officially recognized by Rotary International.

Your club can help make a difference in a young person’s life next year.  After that, he or she may make a difference in the world.  Questions?  Please feel free to contact Jerry Venters, District RYLA Chair, at jvrotary6040@yahoo.com, or Andrea O’Brien, the committee chair, at andiobrien@gmail.com.