2011 Leadership Camp


LE2011Don Bosco Camp Safety Beach  Non 28 Nov – Thur 1 Dec

On Wednesday the 30th of November, a group of 60 young leaders from the Don Bosco Camp in Dromana, Victoria were issued a challenge: to take over a local primary school (Our Lady of Fatima in Rosebud) and run games for the children for the afternoon. An excited and somewhat disbelieving murmur broke through the crowd as this news was broken. The group was then split into smaller teams of 4-5 and assigned a class; it was time to put what they had learned so far into action and plan the afternoon’s activities.

Shortly before lunch, brand new leader shirts were issued to all, for those that had been campers in the past and were now on their first leadership camp, this was in itself a special moment. For them, the shirts had come to symbolize the pure joy and fun that they had experienced on camp, now it was their turn to wear the revered t-shirt and spread that same joy to others.

As the second bus arrived at the primary school, the weather looked quite ominous; big, dark, heavy clouds filled the sky. However, as the leaders found their assigned classrooms the whole school immediately lit up as children roared in approval; not only were classes done for the day, they were going to be playing games! For about half an hour the small teams mingled with their 25-or-so students, played games, taught chants and built up the trust, before then merging with the class next to them.

With a group of children now double the size, the challenge had also doubled, yet all the leaders quickly proved that they were more than equal to the occasion. After another 15 minutes of fun the groups got even bigger; now leaders were running games for entire age groups; junior, middle and senior schools, groups were easily over a hundred kids! As the heavens opened and rain fell, the entire school hurried into the hall. Excited conversations broke out, friends were hurriedly telling each other all about the games they had played, the wonderful leaders they had met.

For the grand finale, the entire school joined together in chanting the “Banana Song” and it almost lifted the roof! The energy in the room was phenomenal; over 350 young people were chanting a chant they had learnt not even an hour ago, yelling at the top of their voices, doing the actions with gusto. Sadly, the day had come to an end, as the children grabbed their bags as the leaders gathered in the courtyard (the sun now shining brightly). Parents arrived to pick up their children and were amazed as many refused to come, preferring to talk to the leaders one last time, for as long as possible – everyone left the school with a big smile on their faces: leaders, parents, staff and most importantly, students.

The day was a complete, total triumph – a real testament to the quality of every single person on the leadership camp and the wonderful job the core team had done in not only preparing the day, but those that took part. Many of the younger, less-experienced leaders were assigned roles such as year level coordinator or team leader to challenge them to take the next step in their leadership role; every single one was a resounding success.

Speaking about the day, Principal Mrs Monica Coyle said “Congratulations on a highly successful afternoon. The leaders are a credit to your team and the training they receive. They had the children – even the ‘too cool’ ones fully engaged and into all they presented. Well done on the wonderful tone and enthusiasm. It really was contagious, our students had a ball!”

On that note, a big thank-you to all the staff at Our Lady of Fatima is necessary as well; the experience and confidence that the day gave to all the leaders who participated (particularly the newer ones) truly is invaluable and couldn’t be gained anywhere else.