Last May we had students from Applecross SHS, Rossmoyne SHS and Santa Maria College attend the RYPEN camp. They came to our Rotary meeting to give a report of how the camp has helped them move forward with their lives. Please read the report from Ellie Vrankovich on how it has helped improved her way forward.
Hi everyone, my names Ellie, and a few months ago I attended Rypen. When my sister and mum first asked if I wanted to go, my initial answer was no. I didn’t want to waste my weekend going somewhere away from home where I knew nobody. In all honesty, my social anxiety has always made me struggle with making friends because when meeting new people I’m not that outgoing person who will come sit next you with a big smile and ask what your name is. That type of person is someone I’ve always aspired to be, but never been able to bring myself to be.
My mum and my sister really wanted me to go, with enough convincing and being provided this opportunity by being sponsored by rotary I ended up agreeing to go. When I very first got there, when signing in, I already began to feel anxious. “People are wearing nice clothes.” I said to my sister. “I didn’t bring any nice clothes, I only brought outdoor clothes. I thought that’s what the email said.” I immediately felt out of place. But as Gina Milicia once wrote, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
I learnt this quote to be very true not long after the beginning of Rypen. In the activities they plan, you are put outside your comfort zone. You are pushed to socialise, to learn new perspectives, to give people your own insights. You quickly learn that everybody, including yourself, is a natural born leader in their own way, offering their own unique talents. Some people are logical, thinking out possibilities, some are really good at communicating, some are creative. These are only a few of the qualities of the amazing friends I met at Rypen.
I left the camp wanting to stay longer and with a bunch of new friends. I was genuinely sad to leave. From memory there was around 50 people attending, and I can say with confidence that I spoke to almost everybody. I gained so many new insights from many different people and tried things I never would’ve tried before. I learnt that the people you are intimidated by are likely to be intimidated by you too. I learnt that at the end of the day, everybody is in the same boat, with fear being what’s holding them back. If we can diminish that fear, we have endless possibilities.
When arriving home, I could not stop talking about how much of an amazing time I had. My mum and my sister said to me that that was the most excited they have seen me about something for a very long time. I still talk to friends I made at camp to this day, one of which I have caught up with and another which I am planning to. I have also seen a few people from rypen around Perth, and we’ve exchanged the biggest smile and wave upon seeing each other.
Rypen taught me that when pushing my boundaries I not only have the ability to make friends, but I’m a leader. I’m a communicator. I am capable of so much.
If you’re considering going to Rypen, I implore you to push yourself to go and to give it your all, I really don’t think you’ll regret it.
So to close, thank you to rotary for providing me with this opportunity and thank you to rypen for teaching me so much about myself, about others and many important lessons that I will carry with me for years to come. I’m waiting eagerly until I turn 18 to participate in Ryla.