ROTARY ROUND-UP: Youth meets the challenge

Students Holly Suter and Colin Parker with Rotarians John Bayley and Sue Virgo, who attended the Gala Graduation Night at the Ashurst Outdoor Activity Centre, near Box Hill, Surrey.
Students Holly Suter and Colin Parker with Rotarians John Bayley and Sue Virgo, who attended the Gala Graduation Night at the Ashurst Outdoor Activity Centre, near Box Hill, Surrey.
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This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

Members of the West Worthing Rotary Club travelled to the High Ashurst Activity Centre on the slopes of Box Hill, near Dorking, to support the lucky teenage students, Holly Suter and Colin Parker, whom the club had sponsored to undertake the challenging Rotary Youth Leadership Course that is held there each year.

The club members attended the Gala Graduation Evening when 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 and eight, the students enjoy a range activities, including climbing, walking, orienteering, raft building, abseiling, kayaking, camping out overnight and not forgetting the cross country hike.

One of their tasks is to prepare the programme and activities for the Gala 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, they are presented 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, apart from the skills learnt from the practical elements.

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

Holly (16) and Colin (17) are both students at Northbrook College on the Uniformed Services courses which prepares students for entry into the military and emergency services.

Holly plans to join the RAF whilst Colin is looking to join the Army.

Holly commented on her experience on the course: “I was very nervous at the beginning of the week, only knowing Colin and having to talk to over 30 people. But it was amazing how quickly we all became friends and built trust and understanding.

“Some of the exercises were intimidating, but the feeling of achievement once we had completed them, especially the abseiling was fantastic. It makes you more confident and adventurous in knowing that you can move outside your comfort zone and be successful.

“It was quite a challenge organising the gala evening for our friends, families and Rotarians, but it was good how we all pitched in, and I enjoyed singing in front of everyone.

“Overall I did get a lot out of the course. I definitely feel more confident and outgoing now in talking to people. I feel far more confident in my ability to interact and hold my own in social and work situations and am sure it will stand me in good stead for the future.”

President of West Worthing Rotary Club, John Bayley, 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 209564.

• 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, 07788 638757.

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