Friday, 2 October 2015

What inspires young members?

Toya Woodgate was associated with the Rotary Club of Papanui, Christchurch, NZ for some time before she became a member in February 2014.
She is from two Māori tribes. Her father is Ngāi Tahu and her mother is Te Āti Awa. Until her graduation, Toya worked in the  Ngāi Tahu office with administrative roles such as a receptionist and minute-taker.
Since graduating from Canterbury University in December 2014, she has taught at local and country schools. Her latest placement has been at Kaikoura Suburban School. She is finishing her Honours degree and hopes to graduate with Honours in December. Toya believes, “Our greatest resource is in the minds of our children.”
Toya likes the outdoors. She has her firearms license and goes duck shooting.
When she was in the Emerging Leaders’ Development programme at university, Toya was introduced to Rotary through Papanui’s Rotary Associates programme (featured in RDU November 2014 page 39).  
She attended Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) which she found to be a “life-changing” experience, and was then further inspired by Rotary’s Future Leaders’ Seminar. 
She was a key creator and organiser for the “Big Day Out” for families suffering from the stresses of the Christchurch earthquakes.  She joined the Christchurch Youth Council which now works with the Christchurch City Council. 
Rotaract has also been important to Toya. She spends a lot of time assisting Ronald McDonald House. She is also an English Tutor for children who have been learning Te Reo (Māori language). This may be a focus for her Masters or PhD in the future.
Toya’s favourite TED Talk idea worth spreading video is at then search using “rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion”.  It’s about the value and importance of human connection and relationships. 
Toya recently asked Papanui Rotarians what lessons they would teach young children if they had to teach them just one thing.  Their answers ranged from “follow your dreams” to “you have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk to learn”.  She also asked them what lessons they have never forgotten.  One Rotarian replied  that surpassing yourself worth is better than surpassing others. 


There is no age limits for Rotary membership.  Rather it is the quality of the person that determines acceptance to Rotary.  Rotarians are men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, cultures, personal strengths, interests, skills, professions and experiences united together in a willingness to work together to build a better community for all in both local and international communities.  To find out more at no-obligation by speaking to a club local to you call 0800 4 ROTARY (0800 4 768279)