RYPEN 2017

Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) is a weekend residential experience for youth aged 14-16 years designed to develop skills that will assist them in the transition to adulthood.  Participants are involved in a variety of workshops and activities, which provide an opportunity for them to personally develop, gain self confidence, communication skills, challenge themselves, build friendships, and develop life skills.

Challenge 2000 would like to thank Johnsonville Rotary for sponsoring two of our young people who went along this year.

“It was a wonderful experience and I made a lot of new friends and learnt a lot of life long advice.  Personally, this camp has been one of my best experiences and I cannot thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to go on it.” D

“I enjoyed it so much and made so many new friends who I already miss.  It was such a fantastic experience and it has helped me with how I see myself and how I see others.” A

Caritas Challenge 2017

A new year, a new Caritas Challenge for the year 2017. And many many new tasks and challenges for us in our daily life to help saving our planet.

Over 80 people from Challenge, our Youth Houses and from all around Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt took part of the “Sleep in a cardboard house”-challenge and enjoyed talks, activities, authentic food and workshops about climate change. This year’s main project is the support of Kiribati: Due to the higher and higher rising sea level, it becomes almost impossible for them to stay on their land. But we want to keep up their spirit and culture, their communities and families and became part of the Caritas Challenge 2017 with this weekend’s big event. Sleeping in cardboard houses and learning heaps about how WE can save OUR planet.

How can YOU save OUR planet?


Activities based learning camp

During the last week of the school holidays,  Challenge 2000 staff had the opportunity to take a few young people on an intensive activities based learning camp.  For 4 days and 3 nights we travelled to Otaki, Kuratau and Taupo.  Part of the purpose of this camp was to take the young people into new environments and allow them to learn new skills, build relationships and take courage in challenging situations.

The first day of the camp we were fortunate to experience blacksmithing, first hand!!  A short workshop was given on how to heat metal safely and then bend it into something useful.  The young people got to make their own designer toasting fork.  They followed the instructions carefully and what they created was impressive!

The scenery was beautiful, including a small lake nearby, where some went for a glide.

The following day, we drove to Kuratau and gathered together that night to play some card games and rest from the long day of travel.

A big day was ahead for the young people.  Visiting the bungee jump was on the day’s schedule!  While the young people were both hesitant to go for the big jump, it was only a matter of time that, with bravery and boldness, both made the jump together! The rest of us watched as they dropped down towards the beautiful river below them.

Overall, the intensive 4 day camp adventure was a great learning experience for everyone involved and we came away from the trip knowing each other a bit better, having developed new skills and achieving more than we had hoped for.

Orongorongo Valley Tramping

The Challenge 2000 school holiday festivities have begun!

For the first adventure of the holidays, two Challenge 2000 staff members and eight young women cautiously agreed to brave the Rimutaka Forest Park on an overnight tramping expedition, which was for most, their first experience of this kind.

With of our basic survival needs on our backs, we set afoot on a three-hour journey ahead. We learned about our native surroundings. We ate Supple-Jack vine and Kawakawa leaves along the way (rest assured, this was as well as apples and muesli bars) and learned about basic survival skills for being out in the bush.

Our bags were heavy and the girls became tiresome, so arriving at Turere Lodge in the afternoon was an exciting affair. Propped up on the riverbank with a majestic view up the river valley, we were feeling rewarded after a hard slog. The girls settled in and we made the place home for the night.

The girls led the way through an interesting team building activity in the evening trying to thread each member of our crew through a spider’s web (see photos). This helped each member of the group realize the way they function as a part of a team and ultimately brought the group closer together.

At 8.00pm a Search and Rescue Helicopter landed practically in our own back yard (not for us… whew!) to rescue some Boy Scouts who had lost their way up the river. Thankfully, the boys were all safe and unharmed. This was an added bonus for our group who reveled in the excitement of it all once we were sure that everybody was okay.

We then shared a candlelit dinner and reflected on the excitement and struggles of the day before we tucked ourselves into our sleeping bags to rest up before the big walk out the next day.

Until the next adventure…

Girls Leadership Camp

A group of College female students were selected to attend a Leadership Camp. The purpose of this camp was to provide a positive, fun and developmental experience for our young people.  Upon reflection, it was so much more than that.

Much to the surprise, delight and apprehension of the group, we arrived at Taupo Pack and Pedal to pick up our bikes to begin out mountain biking adventure. We had a slow start as the girls got comfortable with their new set of wheels. Even slower still as the rain set in and a cold southerly swept over the lake challenging us to give up. Three hours later, the entire team had mountain biked their way up a muddy bush track to Huka Falls. Almost everyone fell of their bike at least once along the way, alas, no injury to report and all involved were happily taking selfies to document their great achievement.

There was even more surprise and some delight, accompanied by sheer terror of what was to come when the girls learned that we were going rafting down the Tongariro River. A storm the previous day meant the normally Grade 3 river, had swollen to a Grade 4 and was filled with fallen trees that required some serious navigation. This required quick thinking and solid teamwork. We made it out alive, albeit one hour longer than the the journey usually takes. Regardless, the girls were left feeling empowered about our great feat.

The girls had carefully crafted a playlist at Challenge 2000’s community house before we embarked on our journey three days before. The whole way home, the team was singing along to the likes of Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey and Drake to celebrate new experiences, new friendships and massive personal growth.
Until the next adventure…………

Girls Adventure Group – Tramping Scheme

Challenge 2000 has recently formed an outdoor adventure group for young women. Our objective is to help young women to experience new things and to step out of their comfort zones.

The groups first expedition was a two day tramp along the Oronogorongo Track into the Rimutaka Forest Park. For some of the young women, even sleeping in a tent was a new experience. Simply in saying ‘Yes’ to this adventure took a lot of courage. The young women were tasked with preparing and cooking their own food on camp cookers, finding an appropriate place to rest, and navigating the journey.

On reflection, one participant said:
“I just want to say I learned a lot on those two days; like anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I think the most challenging part for me was the walk, it was a struggle but I got there in the end. The thing I enjoyed most was bonding with the leaders and with my old friends. This would have never happened if it wasn’t for Challenge 2000”

It was incredible to see the amount of physical, mental and emotional growth that can occur in the space of a weekend. In seeing the young people be challenged and inspired by all that nature has to offer, it was very motivating for Challenge 2000 staff to endeavour to provide more opportunities like this for our young people.

Bridge Bush walk Stones

Tongariro Crossing!!


During the Christmas holidays 4 Challenge 2000 staff members along with 4 amazing young men from different Colleges and youth organisations around Wellington accepted the challenge to hike the Tongariro Alpine track.  The trip was done over 3 days.  With 2 nights camping out under the stars in Kuratau, Taupo and 1 full day hiking through the Tongariro Crossing.


These young men admitted that they were both physically and mentally challenged through the hike (especially “the Devil’s Staircase) but also said that the view from the top was well worth the 8 hour/20km hike.  John* commented that “it was a great way to start the year doing something that hard and smashing it”!!


Tongariro 1


After completing the Crossing, the sense of perseverance and accomplishment was very clear to see in each of these young men’s faces.  A very big thank you to all those who have contributed with donations of money and gear towards this trip.  With this support it was possible for these young men to have had such a life changing experience.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!

Tongariro 3


Personal Development Leadership Camp

Recently a group of young women from the Porirua Colleges were selected to participate in a Personal Development Programme.

The purpose of the programme was to provide a developmental experience for growing healthy relationships within themselves and others, leadership skills and encourage confidence, based on a holistic view of wellbeing.

With support from Mana Community Grants Foundation, the group were able to go on a three day camp in Taupo.

Using Adventure Based Learning, the group worked on team building, trust, communication and problem solving while at the same time experiencing new activities and gaining valuable skills facing and overcoming their fears.

In the evening the group would take the experiences of the day, reflect on them and discuss the fears and challenges that they faced and how they felt when they overcame them.  Here is some of the feedback from the group – “M” – “being in the face of one of my biggest fears, I overcame my fear by keeping calm and trusting my leader to guide me”; “T” – “I overcame my fear by keeping my mind positive”; “B” – “If I push myself, I can do it – even if I am not comfortable with it”, “H” – I learned that my capabilities are not limited”.