Young lawyer Fahim Uddin defines himself as an introvert, and says the picture people painted of the ideal leader when he was growing up was of someone who always put their hand up first.

So when Justine Baird, a director at his employer Checketts McKay Alexandra, suggested he take part in the Rotary Young Leader Awards camp in February last year, he was as nervous as he was excited.

He enjoyed the experience so much he put his hand up to return as a team leader for the camp earlier this year, and highly recommended it to others, as Rotary Alexandra seeks candidates and sponsors for the 2023 residential programme.

Alexandra Rotary Club youth leader Arnold Hooykaas said the programme was a way for the club and sponsors to invest in the community’s future leaders.

It worked for Mr Uddin, who said the programme taught him there was more than one type of leader.

‘‘Being a leader for me now is making that internal decision to contribute in your own way, whether it is to your friends, your colleagues, your family or your community.

‘‘I tried to relay that message to some of the other participants this year.’’

University of Otago student Gregor Martin attended the programme this February also and said it helped him regain a sense of purpose.

The 26›year›old restarted university in June after he took a break from tertiary study in 2018.

‘‘A big thing for me going into the camp was that I felt a little bit lost and I didn’t know what I was doing,’’ he said.

His Rotarian mother, Caroline, told him about the programme, so he applied and was interviewed, accepted and sponsored by Rotary Alexandra.

‘‘Not only was I with a bunch of like-minded people who were all around a similar age, but it was networking and establishing those connections that was good.’’

For Mr Uddin, who left his family in Christchurch when he moved to Alexandra in January 2019, the course not only increased his confidence but allowed him a a greater sense of belonging in his chosen location.

‘‘I don’t think it’s a magical elixir that fixes shortcomings,’’ he said.

‘‘At your core, you’ll still be the same person, but it gave me an insight into the best vision of myself and showed me a pathway to get there.’’