Over 70 Interactors and supporters were certainly 'Going for Gold' at the first ever District 1090 Interact Day with special guest Paralympian rower Naomi Riches. Watch the slide-show above.

District 1090 Interact Day

15 November 2014 at Bourne End Academy, Bourne End SL8 5BW

This day was a shining example of why Interact is one of Rotary's fastest growing phenomena. Not only was this a great opportunity for all our wonderful young Interactors throughout the District to meet up with each other, exchange ideas, have fun and hear about projects like Alan's Africa and how Princes Risborough Interactors care in the community, but also for Rotarians thinking about starting an Interact Club in their area to see why Interact is such a lively and engaging way of working with young people.

As the inspirational Paralympian rower and keynote speaker, Naomi Riches tweeted to her followers at the start of the day:

"Today is all about the young people from the Clubs...a chance to mingle & meet other Interactors.

The scene was set with a ShelterBox tent, Aquabox complete with Community Aquafilter, a display of the new RIBI pull-up banners illustrating Rotary's projects and opportunities for young people, information leaflets and each table had  a Light up Rotary led-lamp (beautifully designed by John Dunsterville, President of Bourne  End & Cookham) along with a sustaining supply of soft drinks and snacks.  

Following registration and arrival refreshments, the Interactors were guided to their 'home-base' tables, while the adults were seated in the background as observers. District Interact Officer Mike Ware welcomed all to this special day, outlining the programme and domestic arrangements before handing over to District Governor Tim Cowling who spoke on Rotary in Context, followed by a game of Heads & Tails whereby Interactors could win 50 for their Club.

Following a very ably presented excerpt from the Princes Risborough Interact video, highlighting their work at the town's Dementia Cafe, the Interactors were allocated to task groups to get to know their counterparts in other clubs and devise their own Fund Raising project. The observing adults retired to another room to discuss experiences on running Interact clubs: a most useful session, particularly for those yet to take the plunge.

In the main hall Alan Wolstencroft gave a typically stimulating presentation on his amazing 'hands-on' work in Sierra Leone and Southern Africa prior to the new formed groups setting about the main excercise for the day: a new Interact group planning a fund-raising project. Designated 'enablers' were on hand to give help where needed.

Lunch was pizza, with the indefatigable Naomi doubling up as 'Delivery Girl' and the hall simply buzzed with excitement of all we had learned during the morning. The Interactors, by now all well-bonded, put the finishing touches to their Project plans.

David Buckland gave a moving presentation on Overcoming Dyslexia followed by Richie Gray on Rotary Beyond Interact. It was brilliant to see former Interactors Rachel and Natalie Gerrish, stalwarts of the of the Wye Valley Zambia Project, on hand with some of the Rotary projects they have become involved in since their Interact days. And how wonderful that a young Interact sibling who had come along with her parents 'because it will be interesting' was warmly welcomed and included in one of the task groups.

All the Interactors have been mixed up & have presented brilliant fresh fundraising ideas to the other groups!

Surely a highlight of the day was the presentations of the Projects by the Interactors themselves. Much thought had been put into their plans, they all showed confidence in presenting and everyone had clearly played a part. Fantastic! The future of Rotary is in good hands.

The icing on the cake was a spell-binding presentation by Naomi Riches, unsentimentally summarising the many challenges she has faced in Going for Gold. The message of 'never give up' was well received by everyone attending and of course, there was a rush at the end of the day to touch that shiny gold medal! Quite rightly so.........

All too soon the day was over. There was a quick opportunity to see how many Interactors could squeeze into a ShelterBox tent, plus further demonstrations of the magic of the Aquafilter turning muddy Thames water into clear drinking water, time to collect useful leaflets, exchange contact details and of course, grab the photo opportunity of posing with Naomi and her gold medal!

A trully invigorating day, for which many thanks to Mike Ware and his organising team. As one of the young Interactors Tweeted on his way home

"brilliant day! can't wait till the next one!" 

 

Special thanks to Richard Monger and Lesley Adams for the slideshow images

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