Youth

Rotary Clubs have, since their formation,  helped and supported young people as an essential part of their contribution to the local communities. The Rotary Club of Battle is active in organising two major events involving students from local schools.

Youth Speaks is a Rotary competition which encourages  and develops public speaking and presentation skills in young people. Such skills are enormously important in helping to develop the confidence of those taking part and prove most valuable in their future life and careers. The Rotary Clubs of Battle and Bexhill have organised this competition for an number of years and it is now very popular with all the schools in the area. The winner of the local final enters the District final and, if successful, onto the Regional Final and then the National Final.

The Young Writer Competition is a well established and successful competition promoted by Rotary International in Britain and Ireland  and supports and encourage young people in the development of their creative writing skills. The local round of this three stage competition is sponsored by Battle Rotary Club in partnership with the Battle Writers’ Group.

RIBI Young Writer Competition 2017

The local round of the Rotary Young Writer Competition organised by Battle Rotary Club in close collaboration with the Battle Writers’ Group, once again wrote its own success story with nearly two hundred entrants from the schools within the District of Rother. On Friday, the 17th March, the culmination of the event, the local final, was held at the Battle Memorial Halls. Five hundred word pieces of prose and poetry, on the set theme of ‘Reflections’, entered by the  ten finalists, were read to a large and appreciative audience that included local civic dignitaries and the District Governor of Rotary, Rotarian. Peter West.

The overall standard of entries was high and in a hotly contested final round, it was a huge achievement for Izzy Mitchell and Sophie Channon, representing Bexhill Academy and Robertsbridge Community College respectively, to be selected, by the judges, as the winners of their age categories. The work of these talented young authors will now be submitted to the District Round and from there, we hope, be progressed to the National Final which will be judged on the 8th May 2017. The winning entries are given below

Winner of the Senior Group 14-17

Sophie Channon – Robertsbridge Community College

This was going to be a terrible day – but on Reflection

It was the day of the funeral. I knew it before I even opened my eyes. It had been inevitable. I had still been dreading it every day for the past month. Slowly, I rose from my bed. I felt like death and I knew today would only make it worse.

Cancer. They told me she had three years to live. She survived six months. Six months of therapy and pain, only to be snatched from our lives in the blink of an eye. I remember being in hospital, my mind frozen numb as the realisation sunk in. I was going to lose her.

For a while, the treatments helped, not by much but a little. We were optimistic; we even thought at times that she would pull through. But no. Our hopes were dashed as soon as they formed. Funerals were never something I went to. Usually I excused myself. But on this occasion I owed it to her. I pulled on the dark grey dress and thick tights. Rain drizzled from the sky, streaking down the window panes like the tears I bravely suppressed. I left the room and walked down the hall. I opened the door to her room. Nothing had changed. The pale pink walls, covered in drawings and flower stickers. The bed was dressed in her favourite princess sheets as though she would be sleeping in them that night. My little, baby girl.

She was only four when we received the news. The doctors had found something, ‘probably nothing to worry about.’ Just like that her childhood was whisked away; playtime hours replaced with doctors’ appointments, days at nursery took on the form of hours in hospital waiting rooms. And then it was over. Six chaotic months and she was gone.

I stood frozen in the doorway, my glazed eyes slowly absorbing everything she had left behind. It could have been me. It should have been me. Oh, how I wish I had been able to take her place among the tubes on the hospital bed. I retreated from the room. The door closing with a decisive click. I brushed away the tears that had gathered in my eyes and turned to go.

We drove in silence. Only the morbid squeak of the windscreen blades broke it. Soon, we had arrived.  Huddled under an oversized black umbrella, we trooped around the side of the church. We hadn’t wanted a ceremony. A simple burial would be as much as I could take. Everyone gathered around the small hole and the small coffin. We were a mass of umbrellas; everyone standing in stony silence. It was over sooner than expected but I stayed. Everyone had gone but I stood there, alone. Rain streamed down my face, intermingling with the tears that came thick and fast, now. The cold was nothing compared to the searing pain in my chest.

It felt like a lifetime that I stood there, a frozen statue. A lifetime. Something my daughter never had.

Winner of the Intermediate Group 11-13

Izzy Mitchell – Bexhill High Academy

Reflections

What do you see when you look in the mirror? I see a girl. She has long, brown hair and freckles, but she’s not me. My name is Charlie and I am a boy. I know, it’s odd; I may look like a girl but I am definitely a boy. I knew from a young age that I was different to most girls because I didn’t wear dresses or paint my nails – much to my mother’s dismay – I wrestled in the mud and dug for worms. I am the Boy who was born in the wrong skin.

Mum expected a boy after four brothers, yet I was the girl she always wanted. I was to be her perfect little girl. I feel so guilty that I will never live up to her expectations, but it’s just not me. Believe me I’ve tried. I have suffered countless princess parties, frilly dresses, and fancy finger nails. I mean, is it necessary to drown yourself in pink satin and prance around like fairies?

How long can I hide?

Tomorrow.  Tomorrow, on my fifteenth birthday, I will tell them (or I never will).

Beware. Today any frilly, pink or purple piece of clothing will die. With a bin-bag in hand, I open my wardrobe, smiling. In goes a magenta top, in go some ruby high heels, in goes my fuschia skirt, in goes that horrid salmon-pink dress , and in go all those horrendous girly clothes that I hate with a vengeance. It feels amazing. I tiptoe down the stairs and out the front door, mum is glued to the TV so she is oblivious, and in the bin goes the bag.

I go in to my brother’s room. I know what I am looking for. He’s a similar size to me. I grab two pairs of jeans and a few tops. I take these to my room and change. It feels considerably better, yet something is still wrong.

I go in to the bathroom to look at my reflection. It’s just…my hair.

I get the kitchen scissors and race back to the bathroom. My heart is pounding and adrenaline is pumping through my body. This could go wrong. Horribly wrong. My hand begins to shake as I raise it.

“Breathe”, I tell myself. After this it will be better.

Snip,snip,snip. Long locks of brown hair tumble to the floor. I finally feel  myself, the Charlie I know I am. I dare to look at my reflection. It’s good, very good. I can see Charlie Smith the Boy. I can see me!

Swiftly, I gather the hair, throw it into the bin and fall asleep feeling the best I ever have.

Now awake, I am a mess. Mum said she’ll always love me. However, this will be an immense shock. Taking deep breaths I walk down the stairs. I catch a glimpse of my reflection, stop and smile.“ My name is Charlie”, I say, “and I am a boy.”

Rotaract

A unique international service organisation for people aged 18-30, offering a wide range of activities that enable young adults to try something new, whilst having a great time and meeting others. Rotaract is an opportunity for young men and women to enhance their personal development, address the physical and social needs of their communities and promote better relations between people worldwide through friendship and service. Visit the Rotaract in Great Britain & Ireland website.

Youth Exchange

Each year, Rotary Youth Exchange provides thousands of young people with the opportunity to see the world, not as a tourist, but by meeting and living with people from other countries and cultures. Students experience a different way of life, discover their real self, make international friends and in some cases, learn another language.

Scholarships and Fellowships

We run a range of scholarships for graduate and post graduate students at overseas universities in subjects aligned with our six areas of focus. Uniquely these include the opportunity to study at one of our international centres specialising in peace and conflict resolution.

Pestalozzi International Village Trust

The Rotary Club of Battle maintains contact with the students of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust, in particular with their Rotaract Club. These students come from disadvantaged communities around the world and study in Sussex to A level standard. They make a major contribution to the Club’s annual Senior’s Party.

The 1066 Specials  – Rotary’s Football Team  

football

The 1066 Specials football club has come a long way since its formation in 2003, when Rotarian Harold Lawrence recognised the need for children and adults with disabilities to have the opportunity to play football. Since then over two hundred and fifty young people in the Hastings and Rother area have been able to enjoy their favourite sport, thanks to an successful organisation that is well respected not only in the local community but in the wider world of football.

In 2007, the 1066 Specials football club achieved charitable status and since then, the award of Sussex Sports Partnership Approved Club status, the Rother Safe Sport Initiative Certificate of Achievement, and the Football Association’s Charter Standard Club status. In 2013 the 1066 Specials received the most prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is equivalent to the MBE for voluntary groups.

The Club refers to its players, volunteers and supporters as ‘The Family of the 1066 Specials.’ With the support of the much valued volunteers, whose commitment and dedication to the club is a key reason for success, the Club has gone from strength to strength and last season won the Sussex Disability Football League’s Premiership Trophy, and other 1066 sides were winners and runners up in the Adult League and also Cup winners. The environment is one where having fun is the heart of the Club

Harold, who is now a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Battle , founded the 1066 Specials Club in 2003 whilst President of the Rotary Club of Bexhill. He is a recommended Rotary speaker and is more than happy to give a presentation about the 1066 Specials to any club or organisation.

Further information about the 1066 Specials Club is on their website http://www.1066specials.org.uk