In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 46

o t h t u o y d a e l h t u Yo N E P Y R t a s s e c suc “Thank you so much for everything.” Lynette Wilson A collaboration between South Canterbury’s combined Rotary clubs, local tertiary students and high schools has seen “youth leading youth” to some heart-warming – and mutually- beneficial – outcomes. Timaru, Timaru North, Temuka-Geraldine and Waimate clubs are leading the way in District 9980 when it comes to the Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment (RYPEN), pooling resources and striking up great partnerships within their community to deliver one of our organisation’s flagship initiatives for young teens. The clubs’ RYPEN camp administrator, Lynette Wilson, of the Rotary Club of Timaru, says South Canterbury’s Rotarians have teamed up with Ara Institute, formerly Aoraki Polytechnic, since 2012 to roll out the programme. “As Rotarians, it gives us another avenue through which to support and celebrate young people in our community, and use our strengths around administration and facilitation, so the Ara students can focus on the teaching and leading, and the high school kids can concentrate on learning and experiencing. “We essentially take on the role of facilitators, hosts and camp parents, chief cooks and masters of the oven, dishwasher and barbecue.” This year’s programme, held in mid-March at Lindisfarne Presbyterian Camp, 40km west of Timaru, attracted a record 23 high students, aged 14 to 16, from Mountainview High School (Timaru), Timaru Girls’ High School, Opihi College (Temuka) and Waimate High School. The experience is completely free of charge for the high school students, with South Canterbury’s Rotary clubs footing the entire bill. Through RYPEN, high school students from across the area attend a weekend-long, residential personal development camp, participating in everything from outdoor, fitness, team-building and leadership activities, to learning budgeting. Second-year students from Ara’s Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Management course both plan the weekend’s programme and tutor the participants at the camp. Lynette says the RYPEN experience, which emphasises fun and focuses on Rotary’s ‘four-way’ integrity test, is not necessarily for obvious ‘high achievers’. “It’s a ‘win-win’ reciprocal arrangement – by giving the Ara students the opportunity to plan the weekend’s programme and act as ‘tutors’, they get assessed and ‘signed off’ for a component of their course’s teaching requirements,” Lynette says. “One of the key aims of RYPEN is to foster leadership skills in our young people. And, as the weekend progressed, we saw the teens develop increased confidence, self-image and motivation, greater pride in their achievements and better life skills. “It’s specially designed for those who want to hone their skills and become more self-assured and equipped to deal with the challenges their age group faces – especially those who have undeveloped potential. Page 46 | In Gear - Rotary in southern New Zealand - District 9980 | www.rotarydistrict9980.org