Three months of Challenge 2000 running the Compass programme for young people in Newtown culminated in a retreat weekend at Forest Lakes last month.
The Compass programme which 12 Challenge 2000 youth leaders have been facilitating for 16 Newtown 12 − 16 year-olds has addressed such topics as community, personal, Aotearoa New Zealand, and spiritual search.
These Newtonians and 20 others, including eight from the Johnsonville parish Emerge Youth Group, also run by Challenge, joined together at Forest lakes on the weekend of August 6 – 8.
The theme of the camp was ‘Stand Up’ − Stand Up and be your best self; Stand Up and serve others; Stand Up and live the gospel today. The young people were encouraged to hand in their phones as a way to involve themselves completely in the process. By the end of the camp many commented on how good it was not to have to worry about their phones.
Friday night was a getting-to-know-each-other process.
Saturday morning’s peace was shattered by rowdy leaders in colourful headbands and gym gear singing and, in the boys’ cabin, a killer rooster noise somewhat akin to the cry of a werewolf. By 8am everyone was in the gym and getting into the early morning Zumba class.
The first input session was on self − the theme of the camp was introduced, participants listened to the Feelers’ song ‘Stand Up’, and some of the leaders shared personal stories of when they had to stand up.
Other activities included the flying fox, volleyball, bowling, music, card games and the fun but very messy mud-slide.
The evening session on spirituality and living life to the full began with Eucharist led by Fr Tim Duckworth sm who gave a challenging sermon about grabbing life and not becoming a leaf drifting on a river.
After this, each one talked about their gifts and struggles and what they could do to be their best selves. They also prayed for and talked about the people and things for which they were thankful. It was a truly inspirational faith-filled sharing.
On Sunday morning our groups had to complete the 10 missions given to them and present them at the Feedback Concert later that day. The missions included devising a play about a saint in soap opera, sci-fi or kung fu genre, creating a team chant, reciting a previously unknown prayer and collecting various items of fauna and flora. Hilarious, entertaining and Stand Up? Yes, we did!
This weekend camp is an example of the many programmes that Challenge 2000 has run for more than 22 years. Challenge also has a Quiz Night on Sunday October 10 and a Charity Dinner on Friday November 12. For more information on these events, contact Bridget Masoe at Challenge 2000 on 477 6827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org