ROTARY ROUND-UP: Leadership course challenges young people to go out of their comfort zone

Tom Bateman with West Worthing Rotarians John Bayley (vice president) and Marian Milton (chair of the youth committee)
Tom Bateman with West Worthing Rotarians John Bayley (vice president) and Marian Milton (chair of the youth committee)

This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

Members of West Worthing Rotary Club formed a contingent to travel to the High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre on the slopes of Box Hill, near Dorking, to support the lucky teenage students the club had sponsored to undertake the challenging Rotary Youth Leadership Course that is held there each year, along with 150 other 15 to 18-year-olds.

Club members attended the graduation evening where the students present and celebrate their achievements over the week, giving an evening of entertainment and showcasing their musical talents.

One theme is how important the course is for taking the young people out of their comfort zone and challenging them with a wide range of activities.

Working in teams of seven or eight the students enjoy a range activities, including climbing, walking, orienteering, raft building, abseiling, kayaking, camping out overnight and not forgetting the 20k cross country hike.

One of their tasks is to prepare the programme and activities for the graduation night, but it is not all work as the teenagers also enjoy social outings including a trip to the theatre.

As well as physical challenges, it also presents them with social challenges that will stand them in good stead in later life.

They learn vital skills such as collaboration in teams, planning and valuable social skills.

At the end of the course, it is evident that they have developed a new respect for others through the teamwork, as well as empathy and understanding, and from the skills learnt from the practical elements.

Many students remarked how it has raised their confidence, social skills and self-esteem and described the course as ‘fantastic’ and say they have made many new friends.

Tom Bateman, one of the students sponsored by West Worthing Rotary Club, visited the club and gave a talk on his experiences.

He said: “I really did not think the course could be so beneficial. It has been a tremendous boost to my confidence, making me speak up for myself. Even talking to groups such as this about my experiences is a new challenge, which I have successfully met.”

President of West Worthing Rotary Sue Virgo said: “Supporting local youth is an important priority for our club and it is heartening to meet such positive and enthusiastic youngsters. It gives you the confidence to feel that the future of the country is in good hands.”

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 262222.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 01903 234957.

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