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The Rotary Youth Leadership Award is a week-long, residential camp for
16 and 17 years olds living in the North and East of Scotland, fully sponsored by local Rotary clubs. Develop your leadership, team building and problem-solving skills through a programme of outdoor activities, challenges and adventure.
If you are interested in applying, please read ALL the information on this page and then, if it is for you, click the link at the bottom of this page to apply.


What is RYLA?

RYLA is a leadership development course. It is a week long, full time residential course. Activities for all participants include hill walking, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, raft building, swimming, gorge walking, mental and physical team challenges. All as part of a team where you must work together to achieve a goal. Good communication and teamwork are key. You will also hear daily talks from speakers with leadership experience.

The courses are open to young people who are 16 and 17 years old and take place at Abernethy’s Outdoor Centre at Nethybridge. The centre, located in the Cairngorm National Park, has been running RYLA courses with District 1010 for over 30 years.


The selected activities on the course are all based on elements of problem solving, communication, organisation, delegation and teamwork, etc. Although the tasks are largely centred on outdoor activities which add a physical dimension to the problems you will face, it cannot be stressed enough that this is not an activity holiday!

It’s not a pass or fail course and you will be as successful on it as you are willing to be. There are no limits for your development.
We aim to help you realise the leadership potential that others have seen when they selected you for the course. 

It’s not an outward bound course! Yes, a lot of the activities may take place outside – in the Cairngorm National Park – but it is about using a variety of activities, both in and outdoors to develop you as an individual, as a team member, and as a leader of a team in a safe and enjoyable environment.

It’s a rare opportunity to experience and learn things about yourself, about working in a team but more importantly about leading and supervising other people. These are the skills employers look for in the workplace.

The week is full on, is physically and mentally challenging. You should find yourself out of your comfort zone at times, and be prepared to push yourself to try new things and meet new people. You will be amazed at what you and your team can do with the right attitude! Are you up for the challenge?


The activity side of the course is used to highlight the challenges of leadership in practical situations allowing each candidate an opportunity to take on a leader’s role. You’ll be given feedback on individual and team performances, not only by the Abernethy staff, but also by other course participants, and your mentor. In this way you will benefit from a wider perspective, taking the learning forward, to set new challenges and adapt your approach for the next task. Don’t worry there is no exam/assessment, and no pass or fail on this course.


You will be challenged during the course, you will be tired, you will feel that you are sometimes being pushed to your limits but you will enjoy it – honestly!

To find out about what the week long RYLA experience is all about, watch the video below. If you are interested in applying, please read ALL the information on this page and then, if it is for you, don’t hesitate to click the apply button below.

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Who are we?

The staff on RYLA are a mixture of Rotarians, professional instructors and mentors, many of whom are past RYLA candidates. All of them have a lot of experience in leadership roles in either the public or private sector and they are all there to assist with development of your leadership skills.

During the week you will be in a team of about eight. You will have a mentor who will be there to support you throughout the course and to deal with any issues that may arise within your team. They are not there to supervise you or to instruct you, but to give you the benefit of their vast experience.

Your mentor will support the development of your leadership skills over the course and will do their best to make sure your whole team benefits from the RYLA experience.

Your local Rotary Club will sponsor your place on the course in full and arrange for you to be transported to and from Nethybridge. They are also available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our aim is that each candidate leaves the course with a clearer understanding of their role as potential leaders and managers of the future, no matter what their chosen career paths.

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