Take Your Place in the Murray State Tradition
Regional Youth Leadership Academy visits Pennyrile State Park

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RYLA Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the program? 

Any 8th grader in Murray State University's 18-county service region is eligible for the program. Applications, available in the spring semester, should be filled out by 7th grade students who will enter 8th grade in the school year they apply for. The application review team is looking for students who are ready to step up and be great leaders. You don't have to already be a strong leader to participate. You just need to have the passion and commitment to become the leader you know you can be. 

What counties are in the Murray State University service region?
The 18 counties in MSU's service region, as mandated by the state, are Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, Ballard, Calloway, Graves, Marshall, McCracken, Lyon, Livingston, Hopkins, Trigg, Henderson, Christian, Caldwell, Union, Webster and Crittenden Counties. 

Can homeschool students apply? 
Homeschool students are welcome to apply. They must be part of a homeschool association. Two students from each homeschool association will be chosen to serve as the team's student leaders. 

What are the grade qualifications to be accepted to RYLA?
There is no minimum GPA, however students must be motivated and competent in order to successfully participate in the program. RYLA applicants must have a good record of attendance. They must have signatures from their school administration that they have no discipline or absentee problems. The applicant must receive the signature of the school administration that they are mature enough to complete the program. 

What is the time commitment for RYLA?
Students should expect to meet once per quarter on Saturdays or in the evenings. Students will not miss instruction time to participate in the program. Activities range from visits to Murray State University to other regionally significant locations to experience what makes west Kentucky the unique place it is. Students must also meet independently of RYLA meetings to work on their project. Students begin the project in the fall of their 8th grade year, and they present their project in full in the summer before their 9th grade year. 

How much does it cost to participate?
Students and guardians are responsible for the cost of supplies for their final presentation. They are also responsible for the cost of transportation to and from field trips. Murray State University pays for the cost of building rental, tours and other cultural opportunities during the field trips. Murray State University pays for the cost of the overnight stay on MSU's campus for the summer exhibition. Some meals are not provided on field trips. 

What is the parent/guardian involvement in RYLA?
Parents and guardians are expected to arrange transportation for their student leaders for each field trip. In addition, they are cordially invited to attend some of the field trips, when room is available. Parents are encouraged to participate in ice breaker games as well as to give feedback on student projects. Students are responsible for the brainstorming, research and presentation of their own project. Parents should not do work for students, but encourage and support them while students complete their own work. 

What type of project will students produce?
Student leaders in the RYLA program will research and present a Project Citizen presentation at the final project exhibition in the summer before their 9th grade year. For more information on the Project Citizen requirements, please visit the "Info for students" tab on the RYLA webpage. Students and parents will receive a formal training on the program at the RYLA kick off in the fall of their 8th grade year. Training comes from the state Project Citizen coordinator. 

What do I do to apply?
Please visit the "Apply" tab on the RYLA webpage for more information. 

Who is on my team if I'm accepted?
Two student leaders will be selected from each school district that applies in the 18-county service region. Those two students then have the option to choose up to three addition teammates. They do not have to choose any teammates, if they'd like to work as a duo. 

Do teammates attend RYLA field trips?
Generally, only student leaders attend the field trips. If there are opportunities to host all teammates, coordinators will alert parents and students in plenty of time to invite the teammates. 

Why should I participate?
You should consider participating if you want to meet new friends from across west Kentucky, if you're interested in changing your community for the better and if you want to make a better future for yourself. Leadership is a great way to make the change you know your community needs. You'll learn team building, critical-thinking, problem-solving, innovation, conflict management and have lots of fun. This is a wonderful resume builder for college and careers. We hope you'll apply!

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