The Kiama Rotary Club has a long history of enriching the development of younger members of our community through a number of scholarships and youth development programs offered by Rotary. Heather Morton and Mal Bracken have led the youth programs for Rotary Club of Kiama for the last 4 years actively engaging with Kiama High School reviewing applications and interviewing candidates for the youth programs.
The Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN), is for young people aged 14 to 16 years and caters for teenagers who have demonstrated qualities of decency, courage, persistence, sincerity, and application in everyday life, which deserve further development. RYPEN is a weekend residential program that uses the common bonds of learning, cooperation, and friendship to design activities which facilitate trust and self-esteem. RYPEN seeks to broaden each participant’s horizons culturally, socially, and academically, providing the inner foundations for a strong future.
The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is a week-long residential personal development program for young people aged 19 to 25, which focuses on the individual, leadership and community. RYLA aims to give young people the chance to come together in a supportive environment to gain a better understanding of their own strengths and the unique qualities as well as the abilities of others. It provides an opportunity for participants to develop a network of resources to facilitate their development whilst learning about teamwork, communication, motivation and leadership skills through experiential workshops.
The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) a Year 12 Program run in January each year is run by youth for youth. Participants visit science and technology related laboratories and facilities, go on site tours, listen to lectures, take part in workshops, go to social events, and participate in group activities that improve communication and presentation skills. They also take part in sessions on entrepreneurship, critical thinking and how to work together effectively, and more. The program is targeted at Year 11 students with an interest in pursuing the sciences. Mal recently interviewed students for the (NYSF) Scholarships. The NYSF Year 12 Program is a 12-day residential event designed to give students a broader understanding of the diverse study and career options available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to encourage continued studies in these fields.
A number of the participants in the Rotary Youth Programs have continued on to leadership roles. Sara Young became Kiama’s Young Citizen of the Year and is off on a trip to Cambodia in November, spurred-on by a passion for the country and its people. Sarah, who has travelled there on three separate occasions, was particularly struck by the plight of Cambodia’s children.
Most of the participants have the opportunity to present to the Rotary Club of Kiama and share the life changing experiences as a result of Rotary’s support and sponsorship