In 1959, the State Government of Queensland invited local Rotary Clubs to help plan an event to help celebrate the upcoming centennial of the state. Princess Alexandra, who was in her early 20s was due to attend the celebrations, so activities were planned specifically for the princess’s age group.

The Gundoo, an aboriginal word meaning “festival” or “fun together,” was deemed successful with more than 300 men and women between the ages of 17 and 23 attending. Encouraged by the event’s popularity with the young attendees, Rotary saw potential to create an annual youth program based on Gundoo. The District Governor of the then District 260, Art Brand, approved the project and on 2 May 1960, RYLA was an official Rotary project.

Through Rotarians’ constant belief in the potential of youth, RYLA has since become an opportunity to help the next generation of leaders define themselves and expand their skills.

Officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971, this exciting program engages Rotary clubs and districts around the world. RYLA is one of Rotary’s most prestigious leadership opportunities for young people.

RYLA today is one of District 9790’s most important Youth Services projects. It has been running for over 40 years and is strongly supported by the Rotary Clubs across the district.