Building the Future with Don Bosco
Don Bosco Camp, Dromana (Melbourne), Australia, 13 September 2023 -- Don Bosco strongly believed in the importance of involving young individuals in activities that allowed them to enjoy their life to the fullest. Given that young people possess tremendous energy and zeal, they require an outlet to positively channel all that enthusiasm. This year's OzBosco witnessed a massive participation of over 50 young individuals in Don Bosco Camp in Dromana from various Salesian schools (Dominic College in Tasmania, Salesian College in Sunbury and Saint Joseph's College in Ferntree Gully), Salesian leaders, teachers, Don Bosco Youth Centre and Hostel in Brunswick, Don Bosco Camp Safety Beach, past pupils, laity, friends, FMA Sisters, and Salesian confreres from Clifton Hill community and Lysterfield. The three-day event was packed with various activities such as fun games, workshops, outdoor adventures, and opportunities for prayer and reflection, which enabled young people to stay connected with their faith and spiritual growth, establish meaningful connections, and find a deeper sense of purpose in their lives.
The event was graced with three guest speakers who shared their experience with young people on self-development and life opportunities to become good and upright citizens. Promoting volunteering work in the Pacific and the Province for the Salesian Missions was a focus.
Workshops were conducted in groups and it was special for young people as they learned different aspects of life from different facilitators. Culture was focused on exploring the importance of local plants for medicines in Australia and for producing local tools like boomerang, spears and other equipment used for hunting. Sharing about mental health and awareness enabled young people to learn about the prevalence of mental health issues in society and the importance of seeking help when dealing with mental health challenges.
Members of the Salesian Sister’s community in Scoresby gave an inspiring input and reflections about the mission in the SPR (South Pacific Region), sharing their experience and the history of the congregation in detail. They encouraged young people to discern their vocations with love, faith and respect. A journaling workshop was enjoyed by many young people. These workshops encourage young people to reflect on their experiences and emotions and helps them develop a deeper understanding of themselves. A workshop on leadership also explored some of the skills needed in leading others by using group activities and interactive challenges.
Isaiah Lahai, a refugee from Africa who came to Australia in search of a new life, also shared his experience with young people as a refugee. He shared the challenges he encountered and how he managed to overcome them through love, kindness and forgiveness. His story was a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and served as an inspiration to all the young people present.
Carlos Escobar a past Salesian camp leader dynamically shared his insights into the role of young people in experiencing sharing joy as a foundation in which to create a space to build trust and confidence in peer leadership.
OzBosco provided a unique atmosphere for many young people to meet and share stories, interests, and ideas. It was heartening to witness the energy and enthusiasm of these young individuals and watch them immerse themselves in the Salesian spirit, taking part in various activities designed to promote community, faith, and personal growth. From games and sports to creative workshops and spiritual reflection, every participant found something to take home from this enriching experience.
The program concluded with the Eucharistic celebration led by Father Brian Ahern SDB (Delegate for Salesian Youth Ministry) and Father Duc Tran SDB. Participants expressed their heartfelt appreciation to the entire leadership team responsible for organizing the OzBosco. The organizing team's vision and leadership made it possible for young people to gather and connect and share experiences, ideas, and thoughts on how to create a better tomorrow. Their effort in crafting the program, designing workshops, and creating a genuinely welcoming atmosphere that undoubtedly left a lasting impression on all who attended the event is highly commendable. New friendships and connections made during the event have the potential to last a lifetime.
As young people hugged each other to bid farewells, there was a sense of sadness at the thought of leaving newfound friends and returning to their local communities and regular routines. However, there was also a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with such wonderful people and the memories created during the event that they will cherish until they meet again at the next OzBosco.
May God continue to bless young people and guide them towards a bright future full of hope, love, and fulfillment. May they be empowered with the wisdom and strength to face life's challenges with courage and resilience, inspired by the example of Don Bosco and Mary Mazzarello. May they always be guided by the light of faith and the love of God, and may they share that love and light with those around them.