CASTLE Hill Dolphins club captain Matthew Rofe has earned the opportunity to trek the Kokoda Trail in late September.
The 20-year-old from Glenhaven has earned a scholarship from Castle Hill RSL to participate in the 10-day trek, and have offered him access to C2K trainers and facilities to help him prepare for the grueling test.
The Kokoda Trail, in Papua New Guinea, holds special significance to Australia.
During World War II, brave Australian soldiers managed to stop Japanese soldiers from crossing through Papua New Guinea, which prevented an expansion into Australia.
“I’m really excited and quite proud to have been selected,” Mr Rofe said.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As it is the 75th anniversary of Kokoda, I couldn’t turn it down without applying.”
When he is not swimming or coaching children at the C2K Aquatic Centre at Castle Hill RSL, Mr Rofe is studying law at Macquarie University.
He is very keen on modern history and will soon do a unit on international law and conflict as part of his degree.
Mr Rofe said he is also looking forward to developing his leadership skills when he joins a group of 30 as part of Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge.
Castle Hill RSL Dolphins president Shane Hurley said Mr Rofe is a great choice for the program.
“We have no hesitation in recommending Matthew participate in the Kokoda Track leadership experience,” Mr Hurley said.
“He is physically fit, is self assured and calmly handles the stress associated with challenging activities.”
Mr Rofe thanked Castle Hill RSL and C2K for the opportunity and for helping him with preparing for the Kokoda Trail.
Castle Hill RSL Group president Warren Glenny said he is delighted that Castle Hill RSL are able to play a part in the leadership program, and help educate people about the battle in Kokoda.
More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 wounded fighting Japanese troops on the Kokoda Trail.
Mr Rofe’s trek will take place from 23rd September to 4th October.
The Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge is designed for young community leaders, young people with strong family military connections and management staff with leadership potential in the NSW club industry or suppliers to that industry with the view to strengthen their skills and attitudes to the challenges of management.