On Saturday 3 July 120 RYLA Awardees arrived at Willow Park, Eastern Beach where Mike Williamson was Camp Leader, ably assisted by our President Sue and Vicki & I were Camp Mum and Dad. George Wilson was also in attendance as Chief Helper. The Awardees, who varied in age from 20yrs to 28yrs and previously unknown to each other, immediately engaged in conversation and within a very short time it was almost as though they had known each other for years.
After the opening ceremony it was into presentations over the next few days from various high quality speakers including Michelle Dickinson (the Nano Girl), Cam Calkoen, Sue Blair, Murray Thom etc. These were interspersed with Out-door team building activities and challenges conducted by the military as an unknown lead up to the 48 hour Motutapu/Rangitoto Experience.
The sudden send off to the ‘Island Experience’ brought a picture of dread and panic to many Awardees faces. Ably helped along by several of our own Rotarians including; Jon Faber, Tim Wilcock, Iain Smith and Grant Matheson along with some Drury Rotarians at the many Evolutions that had been set up for the teams to complete. This was after the Awardees had first to erect their own night shelters on a pitch black, very wet and stormy night.
Their return was a complete opposite picture of relief, happiness and achievement. The stories and tales were never ending. The large bowl of chocolate ‘sprats’ and sweets was consumed within minutes. An early night was had by most.
The last day took the Awardees to various community undertakings and despite the fact that they were still very tired managed to complete the tasks given with good heart and humour.
The Graduation Evening was very popular with over two hundred people in attendance.
There was a lot of reluctance and sadness in the air when it was time to disband the camp on Saturday morning and leave for home. Many lasting friendships were forged and sealed over the week. Hugs and tears were aplenty.
Congratulations to the RYLA Team and our Mike Williamson for another extremely successful RYLA Camp.