RYLA Chair’s Conference Preparation Checklist (continued)
CONFERENCE PREPARATION CHECKLIST
This checklist has been compiled to provide future RYLA Conference Chairs a framework for organizing the annual RYLA Leadership Conference to help ensure that all necessary tasks are completed. It provides a timeline for when these tasks need to be completed. It is meant only as a guideline and the Chairs are encouraged to evaluate and revise the provisions during their year.
- Rocky Mountain RYLA is:
- A IRS Section 501(c)3 Federally tax-exempt organization (ID #74-3075465). If, for some reason, you require a copy of this document, please contact the RMRYLA Treasurer.
- A public charity – donations are tax deductible. If necessary, a prospective donor can confirm that donations are tax-deductible by accessing http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ and using our Tax ID Number shown above to confirm that RMRYLA is a public charity.
- Exempt from Colorado state sales taxes (#98-16027-000). A copy of the Certificate of Exemption can be found at:
- The web site, (change the 2014 to the current year for current info), contains many important items including:
- An archive of past RYLA manuals
- Expense Report Master, for requesting reimbursement for expenses.
- Abuse-Harassment Release Form (complete with information for background check and instructions)
- A current list with contact information for all RYLA and YRYLA SCs, JCs and staff.
- Any bills received, or expense reimbursements, should be forwarded to the RMRYLA Treasurer:
2252 Baldy Lane
Evergreen, CO 80439-9444
- The RMRYLA mailing address is:
Rocky Mountain RYLA, Inc.
P.O. Box 3093
Evergreen, CO 80437-3093
Ongoing Tasks and Responsibilities
During the year prior to the conference, the Chair and the Head JCs are responsible for:
- Preparing a report for every meeting of the Rocky Mountain RYLA Board of Directors that provides an update on all significant progress made in planning the conference since the last report to the Board. Reports should include updates on staffing (Head JCs, SCs, JCs, Sidekick, Photographer, etc.) as well as identified significant changes in the program from the previous year.
- All three members of the Leadership Team are invited to attend all RMRYLA Board meetings. Any of the Leadership Team members may present the report to the Board.
- Open and continue a dialogue with the other RYLA Week Chair and the two Week Chairs of YRYLA.
- Immediately inform the President of RMRYLA of any significant issues or problems that arise during the planning of the conference.
- As necessary, send emails to or conduct face-to-face meetings or conference calls with their Head JCs (together referred to as the RYLA Conference Leadership Team). Some Chairs have thought it appropriate to have scheduled, weekly conference calls while others have conducted conference calls only when necessary.
- The RYLA Week Chairs should have an open dialogue and may wish to have joint meetings to coordinate changes to the program. Furthermore, the two Leadership Teams may wish to delegate certain responsibilities to one individual to ensure there is no duplication of effort. It is the intent of RMRYLA that the programs for the two conferences should be substantially the same with the understanding that some speakers may not be able to speak during both weeks.
- Maintain a roster of SCs and staff for the conference and continue to recruit candidates to fill any vacant SC positions. Chairs should consider having one or more Alternate SCs on the roster.
- Serve as an ambassador for RYLA. When the Chair’s schedule permits, accept invitations to speak with other Rotary Clubs on the subject of RYLA. The RYLA Chair may also be asked to make presentations to various District events (such as District Assemblies, District Conferences, etc.).
- A RYLA Chair is not required to actively recruit another Rotarian to serve as Chair for the next conference. Nevertheless, a RYLA Chair should be aware that there will be a need for an individual to fill that position and the Chair should be willing to discuss that possibility, should he or she be approached by an interested party. The fact that someone may be interested in serving as a future Chair should not be made public. It is the policy of RMRYLA that future Chairs not be named or elected until after the current RYLA conference is completed. In order to keep our program strong, it is in the program’s best interest to make sure we have a number of qualified Rotarians serving as SCs who could become Chairs in the near future.
- Help recruit Rotarians to serve as Senior Counselors.
- Most Rotarians would qualify as SCs. Some of the factors a Chair should consider when interviewing a potential SC candidate are:
- Background in dealing with youth
- Will they be able to attend training?
- Will they be available for the whole week of RYLA?
- Can they handle the schedule (long days, reduced sleep, etc.)?
- Would they be comfortable in the role of an SC (letting the JC be the primary facilitator of the team)?
- Potential SCs are required to complete the Senior Counselor Application which can be found at
- Carefully keep track of your roster of SCs so that all will be accounted for and preventing overbooking SCs by neglecting to place someone on the roster.
- Coordinate with the other RYLA Week Chair to ensure that SCs are on only one roster.
- Except in extreme circumstances, we don’t allow SCs to serve for more than one week during a summer.
- Don’t assume that an SC from last year’s conference is going to serve as an SC the following year. Make sure you have received an affirmative confirmation that they intend to serve on the required dates.
- All SCs are encouraged, but not required, to attend a Meet & Greet session.
- First-year SCs are required to attend all day Saturday of the training session. All other SCs are required, unless previously excused, to attend the Saturday of the Training Session.
Third Quarter (July – September)
In the quarter immediately after the previous conference, the RYLA Week Chairs should:
- Coordinate with the previous RYLA Week Chairs to ensure prompt compilation of Daily Conference Evaluations (and subsequent report to the Board) and obtaining all written SC/JC comments and suggestions for improvement.
- Prepare an email to all previous RYLA staff requesting:
- For all SCs:
- An evaluation or their JC and recommendation on whether their JC should be considered for Head JC or return for their second year.
- A request if the SC has any other recommendations regarding other second-year JCs they believe should be considered as Head JC.
- If the SC would like to be invited back for the following year.
- For all JCs:
- An evaluation or their SC and recommendation on whether their SC should be invited back.
- For second-year JCs, if they would like to be considered for Head JC and/or Sidekick.
- For first-year JCs, if they would like to be invited back for a second year. The Chair may also consider asking the first-year JCs their recommendations for second-year JCs as Head JC candidates.
- The email described above, or a separate email, should notify all JCs on the proposed timing and process for selecting the Head JCs for each conference. This email should include:
- Proposed timing for the beginning of interviews
- Date that selections will be made
- Conferee Evaluation forms should be organized by the previous Chair and a follow up email sent to those who did not return the form.
- In conjunction with the other RYLA Week Chair, analyze the conference evaluations to determine which speakers should most likely be invited back to RYLA and then send each of those speakers an email:
- Asking them if they would like to be invited back for the next year.
- Let them know the dates of the following conferences and, if possible, the potential day(s) and time(s) they might be invited to speak.
- That, once the program is set, when they should expect the formal invitation to speak.
- The RYLA Week Chairs, along with the YRYLA Week Chairs, should send an email to the District 5440 and 5450 District Governors Elect of the dates of all RYLA and YRYLA conferences and invite them, or their representative, to join us on the first day of each conference to help welcome the RYLArians to the conference.
- Select an Assistant Chair. The Assistant Chair is responsible for a number of “behind the scenes” activities including meeting and greeting visiting Rotarians, helping the Sidekick prepare for activities, running errands, transporting conferees in need of medical attention and other types of duties. An Assistant Chair can be a Past RYLA Chair and/or an experienced Senior Counselor.
Fourth Quarter (October – December)
In the fourth quarter, the RYLA Week Chairs should:
- Conduct interviews with all Head JC candidates. These interviews can be done jointly or separately. Either way, Chairs should develop a standard list of interview questions that may address topics such as:
- Why do they want to be a Head JC?
- What is the candidate’s “True Colors”; what are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What would the candidate eliminate from the program?
- What would the candidate change in the program?
- What would the candidate add to the program?
- What is the candidate’s analysis of the first-year JCs and would there be any JCs they might not invite back? Why?
- Did they observe any significant problems in the last RYLA and how would they propose they would correct them?
- What does the candidate think are the most important factors when selecting new JCs for the next RYLA conference?
- If you were selected, which other candidate(s) do you think you would work best with?
- If you were selected, which other candidate(s) do you think you might have difficulty working with?
- Criteria for selecting Head JC teams are at the discretion of the RYLA Chairs. Some of the criteria that has successfully been used in the past includes:
- Recommendations received from SCs, especially the SC most recently paired with the candidate.
- Recommendations from first-year JCs. However, these should be considered cautiously, as characteristic they deem desirable may not be as important to the Chair or the RMRYLA Board.
- Recommendations for the immediate Past Chair and Assistant Chair.
- An analysis on how well the candidate will work with the Chair and the other Head JC. Proper chemistry between the members of the Leadership Team cannot be overstated.
- The two Head JCs should have skill sets and personalities that complement each other and the Conference Chair.
- At least one of the Head JCs should have demonstrated good organizational skills.
- There is no requirement that each Head JC Team be composed of one male and one female. The Chairs should analyze the qualifications of each of the candidates and select the pair or candidates, regardless of gender, that they believe will most successfully plan and conduct the RYLA Conferences.
- Upon selection of the Head JCs for each conference, the Chairs should:
- Notify each Head JC of their selection
- After consulting with the new Head JCs, determine which of the remaining candidates might make a good Sidekick and if an offer should be made now or later. In the past, good sidekicks have exhibited the following traits:
- Good organizational skills (lots of gold)
- Ability to anticipate needs
- Understanding they are not a third Head JC
- Someone who is comfortable behind the scenes.
- Will work well with the Head JCs, Chair and Assistant Chair
- Notify each candidate not selected. If so decided, offer the position of Sidekick to a respective candidate.
- Once all of the candidates have been contacted, send an email to all recent SCs and JCs congratulating the new Head JCs. Send a copy of this email to the RYLA Registrar(s).
- Once the Head JCs are selected for each conference, the Leadership Team should decide on the process for selecting the new, first-year JCs:
- Each conference should determine how many JCs will be invited back for a second year and how many new JCs will be needed.
- JC applications are accepted during the month of November on the web site. The RYLA Registrar should be contacted so that each member of the Leadership Team has an ID and password to be able to access the applications on the system.
- The Chairs of all four conferences should begin a dialogue on when and where the “JC Draft” will be held. A RYLA Chair has typically initiated this dialogue. This draft is typically held during the Holiday break when most of the Head JCs will be back in the area. Although not as efficient, members of a conference Leadership Team may attend the meeting via telephone.
- The Leadership Team should decide the process for interviewing potential candidates in early December. The method that has seemed to have been most successful is:
- A list of all recommendations received from the previous conference staff should be compiled and distributed to all four Conference Leadership Teams. This list should be compiled by one of the previous RYLA Chairs.
- Each Head JC independently reviews all of the applications on the system, paying particular attention to applications received from conferees that received one or more JC/SC recommendations.
- The Leadership Team should meet (in person or by telephone) in early December to determine which candidates merit a telephone interview. Typically, this list of candidates has been about 40 but, with four conferences now selecting candidates, that amount may need to be increased. While the Head JCs are primarily responsible for this selection, the Chair may also suggest candidates to be placed on that list. Although it is possible that the Head JCs may jointly conduct the phone interviews, most often the list has been divided between the two and each conducts one-half of the interviews.
- The Head JCs should develop a list of questions to be asked of each candidate during the interview. The list of questions should address topics that would provide some idea on how well the JC candidate would fulfill the responsibilities of facilitating a team. The Chair’s responsibility during this process is to simply oversee the process and provide suggestions regarding questions that might be asked.
- The Head JCs conduct the interviews of the prospective candidates during the month of December and must be completed before the JC Draft.”
- Once all interviews have been completed, the Leadership Team must meet to “rank” the candidates. For example, the best candidate should be rated “1”, the next “2” and so on. These rankings should be based on the following criteria, in order of importance:
- Telephone interview
- Written application
- Personal knowledge
- On “JC Draft Day”, the Head JCs simply select the highest-ranked candidate remaining on their list when it is their turn to select. The Leadership Team should plan to select enough candidates to complete the JC roster for the year plus a number of “alternates” in the event that one or more candidates eventually back out. Typically, the minimum number of alternates has been six, but more can be selected if there are qualified candidates.
- Upon completion of the “JC Draft”, the Head JCs should jointly call each of the selected applicants and inform them they have been selected as a JC or an alternate. (Head JCs unanimously say this is the most fun.)
- One of the Head JCs should be assigned the responsibility to change the status on the web site to either JC or Alternate JC for their respective conference. In January, once all four conferences have changed the status of their respective selections, the Registrar will send an email to all applicants that have not had their status changed informing them that they have not been selected.
- Review the information provided by the RMRYLA Treasurer in the preparation of the budget for the conference.
First Quarter (January – March)
During the first quarter, the RYLA Chairs should:
- Confirm that all of the JCs and JC Alternates have been properly set up on the web site so that those not selected will receive an email notification.
- Consider sending an email out to all SCs and second-year JCs letting them know who the new, first-year JCs will be.
- Meet with the Head JCs (this can be a long meeting):
- If not already done, determine each team members’ schedules and, if applicable, when Head JCs will be back in the area to meet face to face.
- Set up tentative face-to-face meeting dates and goals
- Determine when and where the training session will be conducted. Select a first and second choice of date. Training sessions should not be scheduled too far in advance as the possibility of staff needing to back out after training becomes greater.
- Decide if there will be a Meet & Greet session. If so, where and when?
- Begin the process of evaluating the results of last year’s conference and determining what changes to consider:
- Activities to be eliminated
- Activities to be changed
- Activities that need more or less time
- Activities that should be earlier or later in the schedule
- Any changes to speakers?
- Speaker gifts? (Polio Plus or other gift)
- Determine who will be primarily responsible for coordinating:
- All changes to the manual
- Changes to the program schedule
- Revision of the separate Program brochure
- Compilation of the staff biographies
- Meet and Greet
- Training session
- Involve all other conference chairs to coordinate training facility usage if the facility is also used by one or more of the other conferences.
- Reserve the training facility. If planning to use the Boys & Girls Club building in Fort Collins, contact Dave Boon for more information.
Second Quarter (April – June)