Salesian camp, an annual gathering of prayer and strengthening community bonds
The Salesian Camp allowed participants to pray and get involved in outdoor activities from 6 to 10 January 2020 at the Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup. Photo: Graham Maher.
By Amanda Murthy
Upholding the Salesian charism of Saint John Bosco, a group of 100 students from across the state – proudly referred to as the Western Australia Young Salesians – participated in their annual camp from 6 to 10 January 2020 at the Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup.
During the camp, the students aged 12 to 16, were given the opportunity to network, pray and further strengthen their faith through several activities and prayer sessions.
On the Monday, North Beach Parish Priest Father Hyginus Ebede celebrated Mass while St Mary’s Cathedral Assistant Priest Fr Conor Steadman led in the Thursday outdoor Mass.
Salesian Camp Coordinator Graham Maher, spoke to The Record about the impact the Salesian Camp had on students and its importance.
“Our camps are centred on the philosophy of St Don Bosco, who is the patron saint of young people, he spent much of his time bringing the word of God to the children in his neighbourhood in a non-intrusive way,” Mr Maher cited.
“Similarly, our focus is on providing an environment where like-minded youth can engage with each other in prayer in a fun, engaging way.
More than 100 students from across Perth attended the annual Salesian camp from 6 to 10 January 2020 at the Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup. Photo: Graham Maher.
“We had two Masses during the week centred around Don Bosco himself and being a neighbour towards each other and at the end of each night we concluded with the traditional ‘Salesian Good Night’ which Don Bosco himself started.
“This is a way for campers to wind down at the end of a busy day and reflect on the blessings of the day, the friendships made and goals for the coming days,” he added.
Mr Maher said the participants left the campsite appreciating the friendships they made or strengthened throughout their time together.
“It is always so encouraging to see the friendships that were forged over the week.
“Many attend our camps not knowing anyone and are quite shy on first appearances, with the hope of meeting people that may be attending the same high school as them and our camp often does not disappoint.
“Many of our campers and leaders have been attending for many years mainly due to the close connections and friendships that are made. We come to see each other as part of a larger family, the Don Bosco family,” he concluded.
Many outdoor activities were planned such as an amazing race at the annual Salesian camp from 6 to 10 January 2020 at the Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup. Photo: Graham Maher.
Attendees agreed with Mr Maher, sharing some of their experiences with The Record.
Mercedes College student Domini Foss left the camp inspired by the friendships forged and the valuable lessons learnt.
“I enjoyed [the] camp because I made lasting friends who I keep in touch with, the leaders were all lovely people and the activities were well-planned,” she said.
Trinity College student Noah Horgan echoed similar sentiments, adding that he is already looking forward to next year’s camp.
“I had a great time this year at Young Salesians! We did lots of fun, group activities like capture the flag, the amazing race, a disco, zip-lining and others,” Noah stated.
“We had time to do our own thing too like sports and just sit and chat with our mates.
“During the camp, we were visited by a priest a couple of times and we had the opportunity to celebrate Mass outdoors.
“We are also given the choice to say the Rosary every day, and this is why I really enjoyed this year’s camp. I am really looking for to next year’s camp and camps in the future,” he concluded.