Come and join Challenge 2000 on a six day Pilgrimage to reflect on what it means to be a prophetic Catholic in Aotearoa today, to visit sacred sites, grasp social justice teachings, do some practical services and enhance leadership and community ministry skills.
The 2017 Pilgrimage will also include taking part in the Aotearoa Catholic Youth Festival in Auckland.
The Pilgrimage will be from Thursday 30th November until Wednesday 6th December 2017. Cost is $200 per person; sponsorship is available.
Some of the team from Challenge 2000 went up to the Hawkes Bay to lead two retreats for young people 16 – 17 years old. The theme for the first retreat was “To Be The Change” and the theme for the second retreat was “Stepping Out In Faith”.
The first retreat focussed on how to make a positive change within their College and community, particularly as these young women will be the leaders in 2017. The day started with a great reflection and scintillating talk on how “one drop in water, joined by other like drops can be a sea of change”. Each tiny drop has the potential to make a great difference to the community. The young women acted out dramas about some great people who were that “one drop within the ocean” – Sir Edmund Hillary, Whina Cooper, Martin Luther King Jr and Mother Teresa. The day ended with a great reflection sheet.
The second retreat consisted of the young people stepping out in faith – what that entails and what it looks like. People or heros that the young people looked up to were discussed, their qualities and motivation were considered and then each small group presented a drama about these heroes and heroines. The dramas they did clearly displayed the massive effect their lives had on communities and throughout the world. A mix of individual inner reflection, group discussion and presentations was really effective for the young people.
A lot of fun, joy, laughter and bonding took place within the days. The Challenge 2000 staff really appreciated going back and reconnecting with the young people in the Hawkes Bay. Great moments were shared by all.
A group of College female students were selected to attend a Leadership Camp. The purpose of this camp was to provide a positive, fun and developmental experience for our young people. Upon reflection, it was so much more than that.
Much to the surprise, delight and apprehension of the group, we arrived at Taupo Pack and Pedal to pick up our bikes to begin out mountain biking adventure. We had a slow start as the girls got comfortable with their new set of wheels. Even slower still as the rain set in and a cold southerly swept over the lake challenging us to give up. Three hours later, the entire team had mountain biked their way up a muddy bush track to Huka Falls. Almost everyone fell of their bike at least once along the way, alas, no injury to report and all involved were happily taking selfies to document their great achievement.
There was even more surprise and some delight, accompanied by sheer terror of what was to come when the girls learned that we were going rafting down the Tongariro River. A storm the previous day meant the normally Grade 3 river, had swollen to a Grade 4 and was filled with fallen trees that required some serious navigation. This required quick thinking and solid teamwork. We made it out alive, albeit one hour longer than the the journey usually takes. Regardless, the girls were left feeling empowered about our great feat.
The girls had carefully crafted a playlist at Challenge 2000’s community house before we embarked on our journey three days before. The whole way home, the team was singing along to the likes of Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey and Drake to celebrate new experiences, new friendships and massive personal growth.
Until the next adventure…………
Challenge 2000 has recently formed an outdoor adventure group for young women. Our objective is to help young women to experience new things and to step out of their comfort zones.
The groups first expedition was a two day tramp along the Oronogorongo Track into the Rimutaka Forest Park. For some of the young women, even sleeping in a tent was a new experience. Simply in saying ‘Yes’ to this adventure took a lot of courage. The young women were tasked with preparing and cooking their own food on camp cookers, finding an appropriate place to rest, and navigating the journey.
On reflection, one participant said:
“I just want to say I learned a lot on those two days; like anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I think the most challenging part for me was the walk, it was a struggle but I got there in the end. The thing I enjoyed most was bonding with the leaders and with my old friends. This would have never happened if it wasn’t for Challenge 2000”
It was incredible to see the amount of physical, mental and emotional growth that can occur in the space of a weekend. In seeing the young people be challenged and inspired by all that nature has to offer, it was very motivating for Challenge 2000 staff to endeavour to provide more opportunities like this for our young people.
The Whanganui Awa, and more specifically Hiruharama/Jerusalem, has long been a source of retreat and inspiration for the Challenge 2000 Youth Ministry team. In January, a team of 18 took four days to gather together to reflect on Youth Ministry and plan for the year ahead. 8 College students, 5 young adult volunteers and staff reflected on what it means to be a youth ministry team for 2016.
Hiruharama, with its rich history of Catholic ministry, was a great venue to pause at the beginning of the year and reconnect with our vision and purpose and get to know each other better. The team took the time to revisit why youth ministry matters, how each of us can contribute to making a difference and what we individually can contribute to the lives of those around us.
It was also an opportunity to reconnect with the whanau up the river holding an activity day for many of the young people who live in Hiruharama and the surrounding communities. It is always a special time playing games, sharing laughs and checking in with the hopes for the year ahead.
The College students took real leadership of the day and leant lots about running activity days. Many friendships were formed and it was difficult to leave!
Challenge 2000 is very lucky to have a longstanding connection with the families living in the area and also at the school in Ranana. Heath Hutton supported a school trip to the Gold Coast last year, so it was great to be able to reminisce about all the fun had on that trip.
Just as Suzanne Aubert did so many years ago, the Challenge 2000 team travelled back to Wellington with a sense of mission and purpose for 2016. Dreams were shared and plans hatched!
If you know of any young people who are in Year 12 or 13 who would be keen to be involved in youth ministry, please get in touch with Nicole Simson on 04 477 0045.
Recently a group of young women from the Porirua Colleges were selected to participate in a Personal Development Programme.
The purpose of the programme was to provide a developmental experience for growing healthy relationships within themselves and others, leadership skills and encourage confidence, based on a holistic view of wellbeing.
With support from Mana Community Grants Foundation, the group were able to go on a three day camp in Taupo.
Using Adventure Based Learning, the group worked on team building, trust, communication and problem solving while at the same time experiencing new activities and gaining valuable skills facing and overcoming their fears.
In the evening the group would take the experiences of the day, reflect on them and discuss the fears and challenges that they faced and how they felt when they overcame them. Here is some of the feedback from the group – “M” – “being in the face of one of my biggest fears, I overcame my fear by keeping calm and trusting my leader to guide me”; “T” – “I overcame my fear by keeping my mind positive”; “B” – “If I push myself, I can do it – even if I am not comfortable with it”, “H” – I learned that my capabilities are not limited”.