Youth – Our Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards RYLA

Each year the Rotary Club of Bishopdale Burnside sponsors 18-24 year old’s to attend a high energy, concentrated leadership development programme for developing leaders.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards- The Speakers

From the “This is Rotary” Series showing Rotary in Canterbury and featuring Mark Hadlow

Rotary Youth Leadership - Outdoor Challenges

Outdoor Challenges

Rotary National Science and Technology Forum


This event is usually held in Auckland during January.

The Rotary National Science & Technology Forum is a programme for OUTSTANDING all round science, maths and technology students in Year 12 who will be returning to Year 13 and are planning to study the sciences or technology at tertiary level.

Youth 298 Hub Vehicle Project

In conjunction with 18 other Rotary Clubs within the local area the Rotary Club of Bishopdale Burnside supported this project.

Primary and Intermediate School Speech Contest

Topics such as:

“How to pick a lock”

“Child Slavery”

These are just a couple of the topics used by the participants in our Primary and Intermediate School Speech Contest.

This Annual project has been conducted by the club for over 20 years in the northwest surburbs of Christchurch.

Held in conjunction with local primary and intermediate schools, pupils are given the opportunity to present speeches on their own topics. Each pupil presents a topic at their own school and then they compete with other children from other schools culminating in a grand final. The winners of each age group are also invited to present their winning speeches at a Rotary Club meeting.

2020 Speech Contest winners with Club President Matt

Rotary Associates

The Rotary Club of Bishopdale Burnside took on the Rotary University Associates program following the concept introduced by the Papanui Rotary Club.

This programe has been running for several years now  and allows University of Canterbury students to work with Rotary to assist others in the community less fortunate than themselves.

Usually working with a bunch of 4-5 students each year, the students where time permits join us at Club meetings and also work with us on Club projects such as Bookarama, Street Appeals, and various other projects.

2021 Associates with District co-ordinators and 2020/21 Club President

Rotary Associates 2022 – with Club President 2020/21 Matt Ellery as well as our District Co-ordinators

On a Roll

This Club Award was established in 2007 by then Club President Shirley Keith.

The On a Roll Award is presented to one Year 8 student from each of the local schools in the Bishopdale Burnside area. It recognises the student who is less sporting or academically inclined and so often flies ‘under the radar’.

A written endorsement is provided by each school outlining the reasons for the nomination. The Club invites the student and their parents or caregivers to the presentation at which the citation is read out. At the presentation many parents have acknowledged what is clearly a very proud moment for the family.

Science and Technology Forum

The National Science & Technology Forum is a programme for OUTSTANDING all round science, maths and technology students in Year 12 who will be returning to Year 13 and are planning to study the sciences or technology at tertiary level.

In the late 1980’s, three key people decided to explore the possibility of establishing a Science Forum in New Zealand.  The aim was, and still is, “to grow more Science graduates for New Zealand” across all areas of scientific study. Over time, this vision has grown to include technology studies.

This fully residential programme is conducted by Rotary and the Tertiary Institutions of Auckland. By the end of the Forum students should have a better understanding of the tertiary courses they wish to follow and a fuller appreciation of the place of science and technology in the wider community. It also provides an opportunity for high achieving students to spent time with similar minded people and the experiences gained invariably result in overall personal growth and renewed motivation to succeed.

The registration fee for the last forum was about $2,195 incl. GST.

The fee covers the cost of accommodation, tuition and transport in Auckland. Travel to and from Auckland for NZ students living more than 70km from the venue is also met by the Forum organisation.

It is usual for the sponsoring Rotary Club to pay part of the fee with the balance to be paid by the applicants.

All the students report back to their Rotary Clubs on their experience at the Forum.  They are invited to attend Rotary meetings and are given the opportunity to mix directly with a cross-section of their immediate community.  Some students choose to become involved in Rotary or community initiatives as a result. They also report back to their schools and are able to promote the value and benefits of the Forum to both staff and future students.

The next forum is expected to be held at Auckland University January 2025.

Planning underway and we expect details will be available later this year.

If you live in the Bishopdale Burnside area and interested in attending please Contact the Club to express your interest.

Boyle River

The Boyle River Outdoor Centre offers a 5 day leadership programme for Year 10 & 11 students in conjunction with the Rotary Clubs of District 9970. One of the Rotary aims is to develop leadership in young people and they will sponsor students to attend this course.

The Outdoor centre is located by Boyle River between Hamner Springs turnoff and Maruia on the Lewis Pass in North Canterbury.

There are many opportunities for Senior students to improve their leadership (our Potential Leaders Course is one!) but often Junior Leaders are limited for options.

With this particular course we are aiming to give the younger Year 10 & 11 age group a chance to start on their leadership pathway. Working in the outdoors gives real and challenging opportunities to begin working on their leadership skills. Developing an awareness of these skills and reflecting on their goals allows the student to take these skills back into their communities and schools.


This course provides students with the opportunity to experience Adventure Based Learning in a mountain environment. The expected outcomes are for the students to:

develop communication and leadership skills

develop self-confidence, resilience and self reliance

learn recreational outdoor skills in a variety of activities

experience fun and exciting activities in the outdoors and a gain a sense of individual and group achievement

enjoy a residential experience that encourages independence and a chance to mix with other participants

Rotary Youth Leadership (RYLA)

Each year the Rotary Club of Bishopdale Burnside sponsors 18-25 year old’s to attend a high energy, concentrated leadership development programme for developing leaders.

RYLA seeks to recognise, encourage and develop future community and workplace leaders by offering them an intensive training experience.

District 9999 RYLA 2024 is currently being planned for

sometime in January 2024 TBC

College House, Waimairi Road, Christchurch

Applications are invited from 18 to 25 year olds to register their interest with the our club for sponsorship to attend the 2024 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Applications should be made as soon as possible and no later than 30 September 2023.

Email our Youth Director

A few words from former RYLA attendees

I would love to encourage anyone who is considering this to do it. Although it has been many years since my RYLA course, I still remember much of what I learned and came away from that week inspired and encouraged.

Friends who have gone through it say the same.

A huge thanks to Bishopdale Burnside Rotary Club who were my sponsors at the time – what I gained has certainly helped me in my past and current leadership roles.


Former RYLA Attendee

I couldn’t agree more.

RYLA helped me in many ways and I’ll forever be grateful.


Former RYLA Attendee

I also would like to encourage youth to apply for this. I found this course so beneficial to attend after being an International Rotary Exchange Student.

The speakers were of high calibre and the team building exercises were well constructed. It will give someone so much confidence in their life to aspire and chase their dreams.


Former RYLA Attendee

Rotary Youth Exchange

The Rotary International Youth Exchange (RYE) Programme commenced in 1929. The programme currently involves more than 8,000 students annually with Rotary Clubs in over 80 countries around the world.

To further international goodwill and understanding by enabling students to experience first hand life in a country different from their own.

To enable students:

To advance their education by studying for a year in an environment different from their own and in courses not normally available to them in their home country schools

To broaden their outlook by living with, and meeting people of different cultures, creeds and backgrounds than their own; and by having to cope with day-to-day problems in an environment completely different from their home experience

To act as ambassadors for their own country by addressing Rotary Clubs, community organizations and youth groups in their host country and by imparting as much knowledge as they can of their own country and its current issues

To study and observe all facets of life and culture in the country where they are hosted and on their return to their home country to discuss their experiences and knowledge gained with Rotary Clubs, schools, youth groups and community organisations

Exchanges for students 15 to 19 years old are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.

Rotary Youth Exchange

For more information on the Youth Exchange Programme in District 9999 (South Island)

District 9999 Rotary Youth Exchange