- Arrival of Encounter participants at campsite
- Introductory Workshop: first two creedal statements of the OYA Creed- Welcome and Community, by Christian Fini OMI
- Mini Olympics
- Night Prayer: Preparing the Harvest
Our happy campers arrived at Forest Edge campsite, Neerim South, Victoria this morning. Some may have been fatigued from many hours of travel from across the country, but a buzzing atmosphere quickly developed as introductions were made and people got to know each other.
We went outdoors for a variety of entertaining get-to-know-you games, fuelled by a tasty lunch. Making zoo animals and boats out of our bodies, trying to grab each other’s hands and a three-legged race provided plenty of laughs and ‘broke the ice’.
The exploration of the camp’s theme, Celebr8 Harvest, kicked off with Christian Fini’s introductory workshop where he explained the significance of the OYA Creed, a document which has been developed over a number of years to guide Oblate youth communities around the country. This first talk focussed on the first creedal statements, Welcome and Community. Fr Christian explained that these two principles are pivotal to the Oblate Charism, and are integral in creating a successful youth community. After leading this presentation, we broke off into discussion groups for some sharing and a creative poster-making activity surrounding the theme ‘love’.
After dinner, it was time for everyone’s competitive spirit to come out- in our teams: grains, vegetables, flora and fauna. A water-carrying relay, egg and spoon relay, good old fashioned (albeit wayward and reckless at times) boot-throwing competition and a ‘running backwards’ race were great team-building activities. A balloon treasure hunt was also a test of the groups’ abilities to cooperate and spur each other on, and tested the endurance of some! Then it was time to favour brain over brawn as we all gathered for a ‘farmer wants a life’ trivia challenge- with sports, tv and ‘the year that was’ categories, interspersed with a ‘farmer’s hat’-making competition, Sudoku challenge and a milk-drinking competition (which saw one Iona contestant ending up with more of his 1L bottle on his body than in his mouth!).
Throughout the day we enjoyed some inspiring music which kept the theme alive, and it was great to see so many joining in the singing. The music was also a significant aspect of Night Prayer, which started with a humorous re-enactment of the creation story. This saw many participants involved in the action. The prayer highlighted our need to prepare the harvest and build on what God gave us ‘in the beginning’. It included the introduction of the OYA candle, which symbolises God’s presence at our camp, and a Baptismal Blessing.
Overall, Day 1 was a great start to what promises to be a fun, faith-building Encounter. We’ll keep you posted on the events of the next three days in our coming summaries. Please enjoy the selection of photos showing some of our camp shenanigans and significant moments from the day.