Chepstow teen completes Rotary club leadership scheme

A CHEPSTOW teenager has successfully completed a leadership programme to help her on her way to achieving her dream job.

Hope Knowles, 17, was chosen by Chepstow Rotary Club to take part in The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA), which aims to give young people vital leadership skills to benefit those entering the world of work.

Each year every Rotary club aims to select a candidate under 18 years of age who would benefit from a structured leadership training programme.

Funded by Chepstow and District Rotary Club, Hope was one of 40 young people who attended the week-long course at the Forest of Dean Field Study Centre at Park End, near Lydney, where qualified instructors lead the students in kayaking, wall-climbing, ropework, navigation, public speaking and teamwork.

Since completing the programme, Hope has embarked on a number of volunteer projects throughout the Chepstow community, with the aim of building up her CV.

“I left school at a young age, as I was home-schooled – so I didn’t really have many skills,” she said.

“I met a member of the Rotary club who knew my circumstances and offered me a place on the RYLA programme.

“To get on I had to go through a kind of interview process where I explained what I wanted to get out of it and why I thought it would be good for me.

“From this I was made a representative of my district and went to the Forest of Dean study centre in July and took part in team-building exercises and theory work.

“The programme was also about communication and so we were involved in argumentative debates to develop our skills.”

Now Hope’s volunteering includes helping at Chepstow Methodist Church as a waitress in the church café, talking to homeless and elderly people and running a toddler club and a ‘messy church’ craft club for children. She is also involved in Boys Brigade, with the aim of building up her CV to go into the prison service as a probation officer.

The Rotary club is looking for people to take part in RYLA 2014. Visit www.chepstowrotary.org.uk or email David Burr at chepstow.rotary@btinternet.com

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