“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman
A group of physically disable young adults took the offer to challenge themselves for a week of new experiences at the joint District 9910 and 9920 Challenge Camp held during May 2019.
This week-long live-in Challenge Camp matches physically disabled young people 16-24 years, with the Rotary International Exchange Students as caregivers and buddies for the week. 
Facing the many challenges together proved to be a highly rewarding growth experience for all.  The camp this year was held at the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club which gave close access to one of Auckland’s iconic beaches for a wide variety of activities.
The camp provided an environment that lived up to the promise to physically, intellectually and emotionally challenge all participants.  Activities were wide ranging; indoors there were inspirational and educational speakers and workshops with a variety of team-building activities.  These team building activities, and just plain fun times made good use of the playing fields and of course the expanse of Muriwai Beach.  Away activities included the high wire for those able and a really enjoyable time at Pakari Hot Pools.
Often these disabled young people have not had an opportunity to be away from home, outside their comfort zone and meeting and becoming friends with a large group of people they had never met before. They return home from the Camp with a brand-new outlook on life, believing that if they are willing to try new things, they can achieve anything.
The week was a great opportunity for International Youth Exchange Students who rated the Challenge Camp week as the best part of their year in New Zealand. It opened their eyes about how life is for those who have grown up with a disability. Buddying up and spend the entire week helping and encouraging their buddy through the experience was special for both of them and helped the IYE students to not just make new friends but also to learn empathy and leadership skills.
The Challenge Camp continues and strengthens the established link between Rotary clubs, schools and support organisations in the community where often the Campers for Challenge Camp are drawn from Special needs departments of local schools, Deaf Education centres and other support organisations in the community.
For the Exchange Students this was a second opportunity to grow their mentoring and leadership skills having just a month earlier been mentors and leaders at the Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment camp for secondary school students.

Special thanks go to the organisers, the Rotary Club of Henderson and the ("young professionals") Satellite Club Rotalite West and to Hilary Prior from Rotary Downtown Auckland who was Camp Mum for the week.
The following quote could give a 'flavour' of how the Campers left the camp and resumed their usual lives: “I do not have a disability, I have a gift! Others may see it as a disability, but I see it as a challenge. This challenge is a gift because I have to become stronger to get around it, and smarter to figure out how to use it; others should be so lucky.” ― Shane E. Bryan