Friday, 1 May 2015

Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment challenges

The Rotary Club of Papakura, NZ organised the District 9920 Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) which is a residential weekend seminar for 14 to 18 year old students who show potential to become leaders. On the last weekend in March, 85 young people came from many schools throughout Auckland, from the most deprived areas to the most privileged. It was very rewarding to see the way in which they all worked together and the many friendships made.
Auckland Rotaractors, six of the district’s inbound International Youth Exchange (IYE) students and two returned IYE students also attended.
The program was held at Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges that is fully set up with accommodation, cooking, meeting and physical exercise facilities, including YMCA instructors who challenged the participants.
The balanced program’s fellowship, seminars and challenging activities filled the weekend and left all who attended with a real sense of achievement.
Participants were divided into well mixed teams of male and female, age and race. For example one group had people with backgrounds from Korea, India, Iran, Tonga, Samoa, Argentina, Cook Islands and NZ. There was encouragement for and from each team member.
The teams bonded during challenges that ranged from low wire walking to pole climbing (10 metres high) and balancing exercises, followed by a very wet and muddy confidence course where they spent time jumping, sliding and bombing amid much laughter.
During seminar time, the attendees were challenged by life experience coach Rhonda Maughan, motivator and Rotarian Jim Hainey, ex-car thief Mark Duffey and former policeman Nick Tuitasi to know and believe in themselves, make wise decisions and guard their reputations. Mark’s special message was that success comes in “cans”, not in “cannots”, and “can’t” is a word that should never be used. 
IYE Matt Hitching and Rotaractor Megan Gallagher told the various Rotary activities that were available, including Interact, Youth Exchange and Rotaract. They shared that life is your own choice and it is what you make of it.
The organisers were especially grateful to those Rotary clubs who sourced and sponsored students from outside their own club’s area, as this ensured a good mix of attendees and contributed to the great success of the weekend that the attendees will remember for a long time.