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Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

June 11-14, 2025

College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick GA

Rotary Intl. District 6920


2023-2024 Rotary International Theme: Create Hope in the World

RI President Gordon R. McInally’s theme for the 2023-2024 Rotary Year was a call to action to “Create Hope in the World” 

The goal for Rotarians is to restore hope wherever we can, to help the world heal from destructive conflicts, and to help achieve lasting change.

District 6920 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards focused on these great challenges – inspiring, encouraging and hopefully building leadership skills for 42 rising High school Juniors and Seniors sponsored by Rotary Clubs across District 6920.

Thanks to the help of a great leadership team, and a cadre of talented and giving speakers – attendees were inspired to explore ways to use their social connections and diverse friends and experiences to build partnerships that truly create hope in their communities – and around the world.


What Happens at RYLA

RYLA students attend an all expense paid four day event, where they can expand their perceptions, learn about themselves, discuss leadership skills, and put those skills to practice.

Students spotted by their high school counselors and local Rotary Clubs for their high leadership potential, enjoyed an exciting 4 day program, based heavily on Relationship Building and Leadership qualities.  Held on the campus of the College of Coastal Georgia, next door to St Simons and Jekyll Islands, the students made new life-long friends (we know this based on several decades of RYLA alums).   

RYLA brings together individuals from different educational levels and work experience with noted community professionals to interact, learn, and discuss strategies for dealing with future challenges and opportunities.

  • Open to rising H.S. Juniors and Seniors
  • Candidates should hold a position of
    leadership or be interested in expanding and
    displaying leadership qualities.
  • Candidates can be a relative of a Rotarian,
    foreign exchange student, or past recipient.

During your RYLA experience

You will have an opportunity to:

  • Share and explore new ideas
  • Enhance communication skills to improve your relationships with family, friends and society
  • Collect innovative ideas for key leadership & successful business strategies
  • Network with positive leaders
  • Explore family dynamics, interpersonal
    relationships and values
  • Learn to better understand ourselves & others
  • Learn about Rotary’s purpose & service to the community
  • Learn techniques for problem solving and
    conflict management

The College of Coastal Georgia campus is perfect for outside activities. CCG offers recreational facilities for swimming, volleyball, tennis, and basketball. You’ll stay in dormitory style rooms and enjoy great food.  Following the week of RYLA, the RYLArians will have the opportunity to visit their sponsoring Rotary club and share their exiting four day RYLA experience.

Outstanding Speakers & Service Experience

RYLA 2024 included Great programs presented by outstanding professionals in a widely diverse range of experiences.

Dr Jason Umfress, VP Student Affairs & Enrollment Mgmt. College of Coastal Georgia, and RYLA Alum, offered the Keynote address “Create Hope in the World”.

Dr Kyle Fox, CCGA professor of the year in Communications had the students up, interacting and even running – as he taught: Key communication Skills for Effective Leadership.  

Ms Caroline Mason, Assistant Director of Global Services, Residential Undergraduate Program, Mercer University, had everyone cheering as she taught and demonstrated ways of  Building Self Confidence & Self-Esteem .  

Cherise & Dialo Cartwright, both highly successful business professionals (Dialo with Ga Power, and Cherise as sole entrepreneur) as well as managing their own family, spoke on Fundamentals and Ethics of Good Leadership, professionally and as a family.   

Fr. Cornelius Anene, having just recently moved to the United States from Nigeria  – spoke on International Service and Personal Leadershiphow one person, of any age, can make all the difference to those around them.  

Local Attorney John McQuigg spoke on Problem Solving, Conflict Management and fundamentals of Mediation

Duane Harris, Fmr. Commissioner of the GA DNR, Coastal Resources Division – spoke of Community and Global Citizenship – focusing on Conservation and environmental leadership.  

Finally – Ryan Marks, Local sole business owner, and Fahima Rastagar, Recent graduate of CCGA School of Nursing and herself an immigrant from Afghanistan – spoke on ‘Creating Hope in YOUR world with Courage, Commitment & Compassion – while telling their own stories of overcoming challenges and obstacles to make their dreams become reality.

Additionally – – the Students spent a morning at MAP Intl. learning about this incredible world-wide Disaster Relief Organization – and assembling 1000 Personal Hygiene packages to be shipped to disaster locations as they occur.

For More Information, please contact: Leslie Mattingly, District 6920 RYLA Chair RotaryD6920.RYLA@gmail.com 

For additional info about D6920 RYLA CLICK HERE

To learn more about RYLA Around the Globe  CLICK HERE


District Contacts

2022-2024 RYLA Chair

Leslie Mattingly

RYLA Contact:



2024-2025 RYLA Chair

Brian Weese