On Thursday 6 February the Year 12 Class of 2014, embarked on a journey to Daylesford for our last ever retreat, it was said to be the time of our lives, our last ever opportunity to go away and be as one, to develop, and come of age, as men. We left the gates of Chadstone as boys at around 9:30 and from the long bus trip down, it was evident that enjoyment was in no shortage, with prominent chanting and music playing, the vibe was definitely one of optimism.
From the outset we were immersed, by the venue, which was so wonderfully prepared for us, by the groundskeeper Adam Jackson, an all-round down to earth guy, running his family business. After a quick introduction, from Mrs Knight and beginning our Premiership Quarter, we set out on the first of many group activities. This was a real eye opener for many boys; suddenly a sense of brotherhood emerged. All of us, were coming to the realisation that we all have our scars, whether they be emotional, mental or physical, there have been unforeseen or unfortunate circumstance that have come our way at times, but what stood out from this session, was undoubtedly the openness of the boys, everyone was caring and understanding of others, empathetic in many ways. After that we enjoyed a lovely lunch served up from the friendly staff at Daylesford. The next session was one of inspiration. A couple of our teachers and fellow class mates volunteered to share some of their personal stories with us. Some stories really shocked us; realising thebattles people face in their life. However, what we took away from it was that despite the struggles people need to hold on faith hole and love. It was these things that our presenters shared with us and inspired us to continue working through life even when times get tough. These speeches really allowed us to understand our teachers on a more personal level and also our peers, the journey that they have been through, and how they still manage to maintain a smile on their face, is something truly amazing.
We then, went into a very quiet reflection time with our groups, reflecting on our past and conflicting issues that we as individuals have been faced with throughout our years. This gave us a chance as individuals to pour it all out on paper, with our map of significant individuals in our lives, and our relationship with them. After that we enjoyed some free time, making good use of the facilities at Daylesford. Post dinner, we participated thoroughly in a mass as a year level, thanks to the lovely insight of Fr Monaghan, who’s homily one of great inspiration on what it takes to be a good man. All in all the day, was one where we shared many laughs and moments, whether it was in the table tennis room, chanting to the performance of mates or sharing a joke or two over the dining table.
One of the highlights of the retreat was when we each received Affirmation Bags. These bags contained positive statements made by others about us. It was sometimes overwhelming to read what others had said about you.
Ultimately, our time at the lovely Daylesford retreat had to come to an end. We entered Daylesford as boys, and we left for our journey back to Chadstone as men, with knowledge about how to be good men, the Salesian Way.
Michael Olivetti, Robert D’leema and Aidan Davitt