CYM teen's camp retreat group photo

by Abby Eagles

This year I attended the WA Young Salesian Summer Camp in Dwellingup for five days from the 9-13 January, 2017. I was one of the 98 campers who went that were aged 12-15, along with 22 camp leaders. This year the camp broke records as it was the largest single camp in the WA Young Salesians’ 27 year history.

There were lots of fun activities to do including, archery, swimming down at the water hole, playing ‘mini olympics’, basketball, bush walking, free time, bracelet making and night games such as ticket spotlight, lantern stalk, gold rush and many more.

The people who were at the camp made us feel very welcomed as soon as we arrived and we all made some new friends who we got along with really well. Soon after arriving, we were put into table groups with some people that we didn’t know and three camp leaders. We spent most of our time in our table groups and did lots of activities and races together against the other table groups like, the amazing race and mini olympics. Each day, after breakfast, lunch and dinner, different table group were assigned to clean up, wash the dishes and tidy up the plates.

On the first day of camp, we arrived around midday and had our lunch. Soon after, we went into our dorms to settle in, went on a tour of the campsite and put into our table groups. Later, some people went to the waterhole for a swim while others stayed back at the woodshed to chill out. ‘The Woodshed’ was the main building where the boys and some girls stayed (upstairs), while downstairs was the eating and recreation area. Adjacent to the Woodshed was ‘The Gallery’ where the rest of the girls stayed.

Before dinner, we had our first Mass where the focus was on how to be a good neighbour to each other. Each night after dinner, there was a Rosary for those who wanted to pray it.

The first activity we had was the ‘Mini Olympics’ where table groups participated in different team events like the Lifesaver Game, Knights, Cavaliers and Cavemen’, a Doughnut eating contest where participants had to eat a doughnut suspended on a string without using their hands and other novelty and team games. We also played ‘Tickey Spotlight’ where we had to get tickets from one of the leaders, and the team who had the most tickets won. After this we had supper and the first ‘Salesian Goodnight.’

Salesian goodnights were started by St Don Bosco as a way of reflecting on the day. Our Salesian goodnight on Monday was to give everyone a massage in a circle and then we went to bed.

On the second day we had a fire drill first thing in the morning and did a sound off where each person had a number and they had to remember it for the whole week. This number was used in the case of an emergency and also if we went somewhere we would do a sound off to make sure everyone was accounted for. We then got ready for the day by having breakfast, before going on a really long bush walk! We stopped a couple times to have a break then played an activity called ‘War Games’ where we were given a card with different army ranks. We had to hold it against our chest and it had words like ‘bomb’ or ‘sergeant’ written on it. When the whistle blew, we had to run and tag someone from another team and if we had a higher rank than our opponent, we would keep their card and go back to our base for another card. At the end, points were calculated for each card we captured and the team with the highest points would win. After lunch some people went down to the waterhole and had a swim.When they came back everyone had time to prepare a skit with their table groups for a concert night which took place on the last night.

After dinner, some of the leaders did a little skit as a lead in to our night games which was a ‘Quiz night’ and a game called ‘Gold Rush’ where you went around the camp in a group of four with linked arms to find gold. If you didn’t link arms you would get taken away by the ‘sheriff’s’ and put into gaol (the bus). Once this game was finished we played our final game called ‘Lantern Stalk’.

After, we had supper and had our second Salesian Goodnight. This time we looked at the different types of hugs. Each camper was given a card and if it was the same as someone else’s you had to hug them in a particular way.

On the third day we woke up and had breakfast. Some people participated in archery while others played a series of games called ‘Veggie Wars’. We also did some Arts and Crafts where some people were writing warm fuzzies, making bracelets, painting names on a banner, making masks and paper cranes, biscuit decorating and peeling potatoes for dinner on the last night.

When evening arrived we went for a night walk and went to another building where we had a sing along, then we went back to the Woodshed surprised to see the room was set up as a casino. We played lots of games and lost or earned tokens. We did an auction and won some prizes from the money/tokens that we earnt then as usual, we ended the day with supper and our third Salesian goodnight.

On Thursday we played ‘Team Pictionary’ where someone from your group would find one of the camp leaders and they would tell the person to either act it, draw it or write it. That person would then show their team and they would have to remember it because at the end, one person would have to find one of the leaders and tell them the entire list from memory.

We had lunch as usual and then went to the waterhole or had some free time. Later, we practiced our skits some more and prepared for our second Mass.

This Mass was extra special as Archbishop Timothy Costelloe (a Salesian) celebrated it with us, plus he stayed for dinner too.

That evening we also performed our skits for the concert night and the audience thoroughly enjoyed it. Soon after, we had a disco in ‘The Gallery’. We listened to music, danced and had lots of fun.  We had a good night and some of the camp leaders talked to us about it being our last day.  We went to bed for the last time at the camp.

On the last day we got ready and packed to leave. We had breakfast, did some activities before having lunch outside. Afterwards we loaded our luggage onto the bus and departed to go home.

It was sad because I left new friends behind, but I felt good and happy because I made new memories. I enjoyed it and I would love to go back next year!

Abby is 12 years old and will be entering into high school this year. This was her first WA Young Salesians Summer Camp. 

 

Photos are from West Australia Young Salesians www.wayoungsalesians.com