Recently the Rotary Club of Greenmeadows hosted 32 secondary students between the ages of 14 and 17
at the Guthrie Smith Education Centre located at Lake Tutira, 35 km north of Napier.
The 15 contributing secondary schools were from Gisborne to Central Hawke’s Bay.
This RYPEN [Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment] weekend is an annual event which was developed by the Rotary Club of Napier West in 1994 until the club closed in 2004, at which point the programme was picked up by the Rotary Club of Greenmeadows and they have been organizing the weekend for the past 16 years.
These students who are exhibiting potential for leadership are chosen by their schools and then referred to their local Rotary Club.
Rotary Clubs of Hawke’s Bay in the 9930 districts sponsor these students to attend the workshop. The instructors are employed by the Guthrie Smith Trust and fully trained in physical and motivational leadership exercises.
During the weekend the students experience a series of physical activities which relate to teamwork and personal challenge.
The students attempt high wire experiences, kayaking on Lake Tutira, a glowworm hunt in the bush at night and a series of mind-challenging games executed in teams, all assisting in the development of groups attempting to achieve a common goal.
The students that arrive at the camp on Friday night are mostly quiet, reserved and shy, and by the completion of the weekend are exhibiting confidence and exuberance that can’t be reined in. Some of their departing comments are: “This weekend has changed me as a person, I didn’t know I could be so brave,” It was not all fun and games, I learnt important outdoor skills, and it encouraged me to interact and communicate with other people,” “ The high ropes course was very scary, but with the support of the Rotarians and other kids, by the end of the day some of us were literally running across, ”I learnt to work together in a group and help others achieve their goals.”
Carol Charman of Greenmeadows Rotary is the RYPEN Area Coordinator and feels strongly about the benefits of this programme for the young people, “My aim is to have even more Rotary clubs in the district becoming involved over the next few years.”