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To call himself a "North Shorian" is one of Cam Calkoen's proudest traits for it is in this environment that he is inspired to make a difference and be the best that he can be. From athletics, through to community service and motivational speaking Cam has locally, nationally and internationally represented our region with pride and built networks into the many subcultures of our North Shore community. He is a monthly contributor to Channel.

What do you think when you hear community service?

What do you think when you hear community service? Personally I used to imagine chain gangs with pick axes or environments that would restrict creativity, but these misconceptions were positively shifted when I attended a Rotary club as a 17 year old. As a teenager my assumption of Rotary was influenced by a love of cars and I thought I’d been invited to a Rotary car club. I quickly recognized that while Rotarians were not the petrol head mullet brigade I’d envisaged, they were and are indeed a powerful engine within our community.
From their projects, fundraising and volunteering I saw Rotarians as individuals whose success during adulthood had moved them to give back to the community at a more grass roots level. This inspired me to see what contribution I could make but wondered if community involvement had to be retained until more senior years? I quickly learnt that the only limitation to making a difference in this world is the extent of our imagination and that through my alignment to community I can now advocate age to be no barrier. Whether we are passing on life experiences or gaining life experience we are never too young or too old to contribute to our community and the journey can be enriching.
It is a journey where one can control the pace as well as the magnitude of influence and see that with great commitment comes greater achievement. I’ve seen community minded peers go from collecting books in Takapuna to building a library in Vanuatu. I’ve seen others trade the office suit or school uniform for rags suitable for a beach clean-up and I’ve gone from speaking to a local Lions Club to presenting on ‘social issues’ to the Cabinet Office of Japan. From learning skills, to building networks and increasing understanding among peoples of the world the abundance of opportunities could propel ones career (in whichever field that may be) and connectedness to the community. When you can recognise personal development and community contribution on a parallel par it makes life feel pretty awesome!
Making a world of difference and strengthening our communities is something we can all partake in. Whether it is raising money to build a community resource, volunteering for a local charity or simply sharing a smile with someone (if our actions spread happiness, that’s the best service we can offer) the result can have a long lasting effect and influence beyond what you’ll ever know.
An involvement in your community is like an iceberg in the ocean, what we see or expect is far less than the potential impact on life, the impact on self, the impact on others and the impact on humanity. For young people seeking involvement in your community check out the Rotaract Club of Pupuke, or simply call up your local charity to see how best you can contribute to the achievement of their vision and enjoy!

Cam Calkoen is a Motivational Speaker, Ambassador for the YES Disability Resource Centre, Ambassador for 0800WHATSUP, Paul Harris Fellow - Rotary.

by Cam Calkoen