AUSTRALIA: Leadership Weekend for Salesian Students in Australia
(MissionNewswire) Secondary students from various Salesian schools and programs in Melbourne and South Australia gathered at Don Bosco Camp in Safety Beach in mid-February for a Leadership Weekend. Led by a group of experienced Salesian leaders, it was a weekend filled with learning and hands-on leadership activities.
The participants enjoyed plenty of social time during meals, recreation and beach activities throughout the weekend. Salesian-run programs in Australia focus on educational and technical training for poor youth. These programs work to educate youth and help them develop job and leadership skills, setting them on the path to a productive life.
A 2012 report by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) found that one in eight Australians are living in poverty. Roughly 2.2 million people live below the poverty line and close to 600,000 of them are children. In addition, the report concluded that people who are unemployed, children (especially in lone parent families) and people whose main source of income is social security payments are the groups most at risk.
“Don Bosco Camp is a great opportunity for youth to continue their education, gain leadership skills and build relationships within their communities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We want youth to lead happy productive lives and the summer camp helps us to further their education, teach values and help them on the road to a brighter future.”
For close to 68 years, Don Bosco Camp at Safety Beach has been providing a vacation retreat for children from nine to 16 years of age. Youth who have grown up with the Salesian influence participate in a range of activities to develop them further as leaders in their communities.
Begun in 1945 by the Salesian Father Joseph Ciantar, Don Bosco Camp was created to give young students from Rupertswood Institute of Sunbury a place to enjoy themselves and grow up once lessons were over. As the years passed, the camp became a focal point for many youth, some of whom later went on to become camp leaders.
“Youth have a great opportunity to learn valuable leadership skills and then put those skills to use by becoming leaders at the camp and helping younger youth develop those same skills,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Every opportunity we have to help educate poor youth is vital to their future. Don Bosco Camp provides a place where youth can continue to learn in a fun, relaxing environment.”
ACOSS Study – www.acoss.org.au