The Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program (RYPS)

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The Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program (RYPS) is a District 9800 endorsed Youth program. This program is designed for secondary school aged students throughout District 9800.

District 9800 clubs are encouraged to initiate their own school public speaking programs. They may use templates created for either: WYNSPEAK ‘Wyndham Youth Public Speaking Competition’ (a long standing and highly successful public speaking competition held in the western suburbs of Melbourne, and jointly run by the Rotary and Apex Clubs of Hoppers Crossing), or, the long standing Ainger Award, jointly run by the Rotary Clubs of Richmond and Melbourne Park. If you prefer to follow the Ainger Award Model, the Rotary Clubs of Richmond and Melbourne Park can assist you.

A District 9800 Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program Committee has been established and its members are available to assist clubs in establishing programs.

Recommended Age Criteria

The program is open to all secondary school students. The program has two main groups - Junior Program and Senior Program. The Junior Program is for students in Year 7 to Year 9.

The Senior Program is for students in Year 10 to Year 12.

Recommended Format

The program is divided into two sections in which each student must participate. The first section is for a 5 minute speech with topics of the students’ own choice and the second section, a short notice program.

Formal Section

The formal section of the program is held in the first half of proceedings. This is the prepared speech that the student will deliver in their age category and on a topic of their choosing.

Short Notice Section

The short notice section of the program is held after an intermission. The students are expected to speak for two minutes on topics randomly selected (drawn out of a hat). Each student is given a topic and has 4 to 6 minutes preparation time before delivering a 2 minute speech on the topic.

Topics Limitations

It is recommended that students do not include topics that are party political and/or of a discriminatory nature (such as racial, religious, etc.) or in any way to be likely to alienate any sections of the audience.

Short Notice Section

The Program Planning Committee develops topics used for this section. It is recommended that the topics are changed each year as students who regularly participate in the program (during their secondary education) may be at an advantage to new participants, should they draw the same topic that they had previously presented.

The topics are usually a mixture of fun and serious in nature, and try to challenge the students in their thoughts. The topics could be listed on small slips with the student being given an option of two – three topics. The student must indicate to the MC which topic they will speak about before entering the auditorium.

Organising the Program

Following is the list of steps suggested to get your own Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program organised:

  • Club Youth Committee votes to establish a Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program and then seeks Board approval.
  • Discussion at a full club meeting is recommended following approval, as all members will be potentially involved.
  • Consider what resources will be required for the program, such as adjudicators, MC, venues, etc.
  • Decide on secondary colleges to target.
  • Request visit from District Youth Public Speaking Program Committee Member to present to the club more detailed information on the program and how to get it up and running.
  • Make contact with secondary colleges’ administration to identify teaching staff willing to prepare and assist students. This will become your key liaison person at the college.
  • Look for venues for heats and the final of the program and book them.
  • Source adjudication options e.g. Toastmasters or Rostrum initially, and then develop adjudication skills within membership.
  • Acquire stopwatches and a timekeeper’s bell.
  • Determine prizes and trophies.

Suggested Timeline of Events


Establish Organising Committee


Send expression of interest forms out to schools


Follow up with schools that have not responded


Liaise with school contact person regarding progress on in-school competitions / selection process


Run preliminary rounds (heats) if sufficient entries


Hold Final of the Rotary Youth Public Speaking Program

Want More Information?

For more information, please contact one of the Rotary District 9800 Youth Public Speaking Program Committee

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