From Friday the 6th of August to Sunday the 8th of August, with the help of St Anne’s – Newtown Parish, 16 staff members and volunteers from Challenge 2000 ran an amazing youth camp for 30 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 from the Newtown ‘Compass’ and the Johnsonville ‘Emerge’ youth groups. You can imagine the excitement as we set out for Forest Lakes Camping and Conference Centre in a convoy of 3 vans and 2 cars on Friday evening.
The theme of the camp was ‘Stand up’, dealing with such topics as personal development, getting to know each other and gaining new experiences. The young people were encouraged to hand in their phones as a way to involve themselves completely in the weekend process. Most participants handed in their ‘phones and by the end of the camp were making comments on how good it was to not have to worry about their phones and how they even forgot about them … although as soon as they got them back most were fully engaged on the phones all the way home!
Saturday morning peace was shattered by rowdy girls in colourful headbands and gym gear singing; and in the boys’ cabin, a killer rooster noise somewhat akin to the cry of a werewolf! By 8am everyone was in the gym and really getting into the early morning Zumba class – yes the craze made it all the way to our camp!
The first session of input was on self: the theme of camp was introduced, we listened to the Feelers’ song ‘Stand up’, and some of the leaders shared personal stories of when they had to stand up. There was genuine openness and honesty in the group sharing.
Other activities in the course of the day included the flying fox, volleyball, bowling, music, card games and the very fun but very messy mud slide. The evening session was on faith and spirituality, led by Fr Tim Duckworth S.M.; then we spoke about ourselves and about the people for whom and the things for which we are thankful l. It was a truly inspirational session in which there was a faith-filled depth of sharing.
On Sunday morning we had team challenges! The camp was split in four groups and each had to complete 10 missions given to them and present them at the concert later that day. Some of the missions consisted of coming up with a play about a saint in Soap opera, sci-fi or kung fu genre, creating a team name, chant and banner. It was hilarious and very entertaining!
After this and lunch our camp came to a close and 46 very happy, tired and awesome people headed for home with wonderful memories, dirty clothes and new found friendships. Stand up? Yes, we did!