District Governor’s Message  -  May
May is Youth Service Month allowing us to focus on all Rotary activities that support the development of young people.
Here in District 9930, we can be very proud of our core programmes backed up by our Clubs with their own youth-specific projects.
The recent Rotary Youth Leadership (RYLA) and Youth Programme of Enrichment (RYPEN) courses were supported by the majority of clubs in our District. RYLA was held at the Epworth Camp on Lake Karapiro, a week-long course attended by 41 young women and men. The programme culminated with the gala dinner in Hamilton. I was fortunate to attend and witness how much these young people had developed their confidence and leadership skills in just six days. RYPEN provided the same experience for a younger age group with four very successful courses taking place in Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.
The Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) programme is growing from strength to strength throughout our District providing knowledge and skills developed under a well-structured framework. Beyond this programme, there are Clubs assisting young people to prepare for their driver’s licence, including an excellent mentoring programme run by the Kawerau Rotary Club.
Our Rotary International President Holger Knaack urges us to expand our reach by forming new Interact and Rotaract Clubs. Interact has a strong presence at several High Schools in our region and I am thrilled that a new Club has been chartered recently in Tauranga. While there are currently no Rotaract Clubs in District 9930, we can be encouraged by moves to establish Clubs at tertiary institutions in Hawkes Bay and Waikato, with a community-based Rotaract Club being mooted in Taupo. In fact, this week at EIT in Taradale the first meeting of interested young people is being held, organised collectively by the Rotary Clubs in Napier and Hastings.
Our Clubs are great supporters of national programmes including Outward Bound and The National Science and Technology Forum. In January, 20 young people from throughout our Rotary District travelled to the forum at Auckland University for an unsurpassed experience that will set them on their career paths.
Then we have our Youth Exchange programmes, which are a core part of Rotary throughout the world. Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) and the Australia/New Zealand (RANZSE)exchange are our leading programmes and we need to ensure that we get them back up and running as soon as it is feasible and safe to do so.
Youth Service Month doesn’t only focus on participation. Through the JR McKenzie Youth Education Fund, we provide financial support to children of families in need with school uniforms, shoes and other necessities. It has been a pleasure to have been personally involved with this worthwhile programme and to have observed, as your District Governor, all of the splendid activities that we undertake for youth in our Rotary District.