The Odyssey group had an awesome start to the school holidays with the much-anticipated camp! The weekend kicked off on Friday night when we all jumped in the vans and headed to Forest Lakes in Otaki. The traditional road trip sing-a-longs showed that everyone was getting amped for a very eventful weekend. We arrived to supper and a challenge for the weekend. The theme of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess was introduced and the participants got thinking and talking about their dreams and journeys. Before bedtime we had come to the conclusion that nobody reaches “the places you’ll go” without daring to dream.
Saturday morning brought fun of a different kind; trust exercises and abseiling. The trust exercises enabled everyone to work well as a team. Communication was a common theme that the small groups discussed. It was awesome to see young people co-operating so well. Abseiling down a thirteen metre cliff was a real challenge for many of the participants and leaders. Those who abseiled showed great courage and perseverance, some even managed to go down face first! It was great to see everyone supporting the person coming down the wall. These activities had everybody thinking about the theme of the camp.
The activities were followed by group sessions focussing on personal development, faith and values. Participants really got an opportunity to explore their personal beliefs and ask the questions you might not normally have time for. Why do bad things happen to good people? Who is God? What can I do for society today? What is justice? And so many more.
In the afternoon, the mudslide proved to be popular once again. Even though it was freezing the majority of the group got out and gave it a go. They came back dripping, dirty and smelling not only of mud but it was well worth it.
Otaki based Marist Pa Rob Devlin joined us on Saturday night to share insights into service and social justice. Rob talked about his years in the soup kitchen and working in various other ministries for the poor and marginalised.
We ended camp on Sunday with team challenges. This gave participants a chance to use their talents, whether they are music, public speaking, drama, art or push-ups (Go Luke!!). It was an entertaining way to wrap up camp activities.
Camp concluded with affirmations. New friendships were formed and the group now has a whole new sense of belonging. Now we are all home and can not stop thinking about the places we will go! There is so much more to look forward to in the Odyssey programme. The best is yet to come!