Yet another successful RYLA camp was held from 6 – 11 February at the Lakeland Park Christian Camp.
Covid didn’t have too much effect on attendance with 2022 having more participants than ever.  RYLA has grown over the past 3 years since it has been held in Queenstown growing from 28 in 2020 to 35 in 2021 and 36 in 2022 (down from 39 due to 3 late withdrawals because of the growing COVID risks).
Over the course of the six days, RYLArians listened to 14 guest speakers, put up Shelter Box tents, rock climbed, trampolined, did the ropes course, human foosball and archery at ‘The Playground’ under Coronet Peak, completed 2 community projects, swam, learnt to knit and how public speak, and still wanted more!  So they got it with the top secret 4.30am ‘Sunrise Hike’ up Ben Lomond to the Basket of Blessings.  Although I was definitely not their favourite person at that time of the morning, the feedback was that it was one of the highlights of their week!  They each also made 35 new friends and contacts for life.
A big part of the programme is to complete a community project.  The Queenstown RYLArians completed 2 fantastic projects in the gully area adjacent to the Camp.  The first was a working bee with planting, weeding, mulch spreading and even a bridge built over the creek floor that links the two sides.  Good use was made of 4 Civil Engineers corporate sponsored by their employer, BECA.
A big thanks to Rotarians John Thompson, Kerry Dunlop and Grant Rees who turned up with chainsaws and worked tirelessly cutting up fallen trees and cutting down others.  Thanks also to Hamish for trimming the steep sides of the gully, not an easy job with all the obstacles including broken trees and branches.  Amazing work by these amazing Rotarians.
The second project was the design and construction of a ‘rest areas’.  There were 2, one at the top end of the gully at the Oregon Drive cul-de-sac end (see map marked 1) and one on the campgrounds (marked 2).  They started with a bare, tree-root ridden piece of ground and made it into a beautiful place for camp users and members of the public to use and enjoy.  Many thanks goes to Queenstown MEGA Mitre10 (CEO Paul Jackson and Toni Boatwright, Marketing and Promotions Manager) for their support and donations of materials to make this project possible.  Please show your support back to them.  Be sure to go and check these projects out some time.
Another BIG thank you goes to Rotarian and now, Honorary RYLArian Ken Fox.  Ken has, without fail, turned up and been a multi-day volunteer at every RYLA.  He helps keep the programme moving and on time and ensures the dining room is set up and ready for all the hungry young people.  He also supervised a large working-group at the top end of the gully during the working bee.
The local RYLArians will visit the club, hopefully this week, at the Bay View marina/reserve meeting or in a week or two to follow.
I have already started planning RYLA 2023.  If anyone would like to help and come on the 2023 committee, please see me.
D9980/D9999 RYLA Chair
To see more photos from RYLA 2022 click on 'read more'
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