Wanaka woman Emily Wilson describes the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as an “empowering” experience. The 26-year-old was one of 24 young people taking part in the Awards experience run by the Alexandra Rotary Club (New Zealand, RI District 9980).
The mix of 18 to 26-year-olds from South Canterbury, Otago and Southland stayed at the Dunstan High School hostel from Monday to Friday last week.
The group experienced a range of physical, mental and emotional challenges all aimed at inspiring them to become better leaders in their communities.
They visited local businesses, listened to various guest speakers, including Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, and participated in a variety of physical activities.
Wilson, who works in several capacities with Wanaka children, said the experience had positively impacted her communication skills and her confidence.
She hoped to use those skills in to benefit her community. “There’re lots of different ways (we learned) to become a leader and to do what we love in the community. It’s just about being able to relate to people.”
“I’m really passionate about empowering people and helping them to be the best they can be (so) it’s been awesome really. It just gives you confidence.”
Rotary Club of Alexandra Rotary Youth Leadership Awards co-ordinator Barry Bemrose said Rotary were fortunate to be able sponsor and fund the annual experience.
It was an incredible amount of work to organise but was “a marvellous thing” to see young people benefit from it.
“We just provide them with a wide variety of experiences. “The whole idea is to see successful people and to see how they succeeded in life.”
Bemrose said this year’s group of young people were “just phenomenal” and were all fortunate to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Next year’s awards would likely be hosted by the Rotary Club of Dunedin, he said.