As you know, Rotary participates in many wonderful humanitarian programs at home and overseas. I would like to introduce to you some wonderful youth programs that Rotary Clubs host and sponsor.

RYPEN: Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment.

RYPEN is a 3 day camp program for 14 to 17 year old boys and girls. The aim is to communicate to these young people a series of ideas, problems and social experiences which will assist them in forming their own values and moral standards, and also to broaden their horizons culturally, socially and academically.

RYPEN is an intensive program, consisting of plenary sessions, workshops, and sport and entertainment activities. Participants are given the opportunity to learn from achievers in the worlds of business, sport and entertainment and presenters will talk at keynote sessions and share their experiences with participants while emphasizing the need to work hard and stay focused. At the same time participants are interacting with peers from different backgrounds and also improving their team working and leadership skills. This is all done in an informal atmosphere, where questions and debate are encouraged. Students who have attended RYPEN in the past have been very positive, commenting on the enjoyment they had, friendships they made over the weekend and the value of skills they have gained.

Rotaract members (young people aged from 18 – 30) act as facilitators for the camp, leading groups of students and running sessions. A Rotary club acts as the host club for the camp.

The motto for RYPEN, “The Cultivation of Youth”, emerged from the very first camp back in 1980.

RYLA: Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

RYLA is an intensive leadership training program for community minded youth. Young people from 18 to 26 are chosen for their leadership potential to attend an all-expenses-paid seminar to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.

Young people discuss issues of professional responsibility, human relation, leadership and communication skills, learn about businesses and institutions, and meet Rotarians while having fun and making friends. The program incorporates a range of lectures as well as many indoor and outdoor activities.

The objectives of RYLA are to create a supportive and open environment in which participants can assist each other in their development. Encourage youth to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zones. Facilitate the development of leadership, personal and professional skills through practice, discussion and mentorship. Provide an opportunity to network. Create a greater awareness of factors to consider when interacting with others. Create awareness of community programs. Promote Rotary’s purpose and services to the community.

One comment from one of the young people that attended RYLA was that it was “This once in a lifetime experience which has definitely helped change who I am and who I hope to become, RYLA has changed my outlook on life and given me some amazing friendships and memories”.

If you would like to be part of this amazing organisation or to find out how you could join the Rotary Club of Bowral-Mittagong, please visit our website, or contact our Secretary on 02 4861 6917.