RYLA Co-Chairs
Jeff Gablesberg Brenna Merritt
Bricktown Rotary OKC Midtown Rotary
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Time to get ready for the best week of the year… RYLA!!! And WOW, has it been a crazy year. Last year, as you know, we decided to lean into the challenges of the pandemic. Working with our team of Alumni (Counselors, etc.), we created eRYLA, which was held in July of 2020. We were delightfully surprised at how the students progressed through eRYLA so similarly to what we expect to see in person. We also saw virtually no attrition. They learned so much, grew so much and had fun! 


The whole team is grateful for all of the support you showed us last year. Because we had a program completely built and had already proven its success (thanks to you), we are able to now help districts across the US hold RYLA this year! Our team of incredible alums is currently working with four other districts to bring eRYLA to their communities so they don’t have to cancel again. 


This year, because of the uncertainty of the summer, the committee and district leadership have made the call to hold eRYLA once again for our district. With the restrictions, at this time, we’re not sure we could provide much of a transformative experience in person. We are, however, confident that we can provide a powerful, transformative experience in a virtual setting, as we have done and continue to do so. 


We need your help to fill this wonderful camp with the future leaders of our communities. If you need any help along the way, please contact us. We are more than happy to help. 


You are the person we have in our files as the RYLA Chair for your Rotary Club. If you are no longer the contact, please forward this to the appropriate person and reply to this email with the correct contact information so we can change it in our records. 




October 10, 11, and 12 - Online Evening Sessions

October 14, 15, and 16 - Camp WOW


Each student receives a secure login with access to our unique website (all Zoom links and activities are built into the site) and a retreat crate (with all of their supplies for eRYLA activities).  We would love to schedule a time to Zoom in to one of your club meetings to present this program.



Camper = $300 (first-year students)

Trailblazers = $300 (second year students)

Junior and Senior Counselors, as well as other admin staff (all alumni): Included in program costs.


Contact Information:

Chair: Jeff Gablesberg, 904-509-4497, RYLAup5750@gmail.com

Bridget Markwood, 218-341-5717, CampRYLA@yahoo.com 

or for Google, Bridget.L.Markwood@gmail.com



Please have students go to www.leadernu.com/eRYLA/d5750 to fill out the application. On this page, there is also a video for them about eRYLA as well as more information. To access the application, they should click the “APPLY NOW” button. Once they’ve submitted the application, they will receive a confirmation email. When applications come in for you, you will receive an invitation to a shared Google folder. PDFs of all of your applications will appear in your folder as they come in.


Applications officially open this week. Although we are no longer able to send applications to schools, you are encouraged visit your local schools, home school associations, youth groups, etc. to talk to students about the benefits of RYLA and share with them the link. Hearing straight from you how impactful RYLA is will go a long way to getting plenty of great applicants. If you’re wondering if students want to go to a virtual camp, I can tell you that the other districts we are working with have had no trouble filling between 100 and 140 spots quickly. As opposed to life in 2019, there are not many opportunities like this for students today. Many are struggling so much right now and this program was made to specifically address their lives today.


Remember, we are happy to have the top students in the school. However, this is perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for those who have leadership potential, who are not yet in the top leadership positions. I cannot tell you how many students have come to RYLA barely able to make eye contact with their peers and left RYLA ready to take on the world, even running for class president and other leadership roles. At this critical time in their lives, please help us make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of our youth. 



Once you’ve selected your students, please send a quick email or text to Bridget (CampRYLA@yahoo.com or 218-341-5717) with the names of your students. Because of the nature of a virtual camp with tangible elements, we must work in advance. 


Please have your sponsored students selected by September 12, 2022. Students will not be considered fully sponsored until all funds have been received by Marvin Dement, c/o First Bank and Trust, PO Box 878, Perry, OK 73077.


Checks may be made out to RYLA. Please also include a note with the funding with the names of the students and whether they are Campers or Trailblazers. We are processing nearly 200 students between campers and staff. Sending the names helps make sure the right students are given credit. If your club would like to sponsor students that have applied but do not have sponsors, please indicate that the funds are to be used for unsponsored Campers or unsponsored Trailblazers.


Once students are fully sponsored, they will receive an acceptance letter with information about the retreat.



Applications go out next week for students wishing to return to RYLA in various positions. Those applications will go out to the students who signed up as interested last year! We will also post the applications on the Facebook Groups for the last couple of years of RYLA. Those returning as Trailblazers do have a $400 fee. Trailblazers not only participate in eRYLA, but they have their own Trailblazer camp as well, with their own unique activities.


In addition to sponsoring campers, many clubs also sponsor, or help sponsor, Trailblazers. This powerful second year builds on the first year with its own distinct curriculum. Students may seek sponsorship from clubs, other organizations, local business, and/or self/family. 


Funding for students returning after Trailblazer year in the roles of Junior Counselor, Counselor, Elder, or Administration is covered by the camp budget. 


We will provide you with the names of those applying for Trailblazer this year as well. If your club can help financially, I’m sure they would appreciate it. If not, you may still want to connect with them, have them speak at your club, etc.




As always, feel free to text, email, or call if you have any questions. Looking forward to another fantastic year!!!


Bridget, Jeff and the RYLA Crew


Rotary Youth Leadership Award  
Oklahoma District 5750  


Like us on Facebook/CampRYLA5750