In February this year, members of the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth had a “pamper day” to raise funds for one of their projects, an outreach fun day for children! They decided to run the day at a parish where there are many children but few funds. The Youth Sister visits this parish every week to meet with a group of girls. She inquired in the parish and everyone was more than agreeable that the event should be held. They were very excited. Sunday, 31st March was agreed upon for this outreach into the parish. The Schoenstatt Girls decided to sacrifice the last weekend of their holidays for the children. On Saturday 30th March, the Girls arrived in Schoenstatt, ready to spend their whole day preparing all the activities. In the weeks before, they had raised the question: What can we as Schoenstatt Youth bring to the children we meet? The answer was clear – Jesus and Mary! They formulated a theme for the day: Like Mary, we follow Jesus!
Like Mary we follow Jesus
The Girls wanted to bring this message across in different ways, through fun and games, drama and dance, arts and crafts. However, they knew that the best way to bring this message across was through the love and care they would give to the children on the day! An important part of the preparation was preparing gifts for the children. Much thought was given to this as the Girls wanted to spend the money they had raised in a meaningful way. At the start of the day, the children were offered a healthy snack, fresh apples and juice, for lunch they had hotdogs and rolls with chips and, as a parting gift, little gift bags were given to each one. They included toothpaste and toothbrush, a small toy, an Easter egg, and another sweet treat!
After weeks of preparation and excitement, the day had finally arrived. After a good night’s sleep at Schoenstatt, the leaders were up bright and early. They enjoyed a good breakfast and set off for Steenberg parish. Holy Mass was at 9 am and the Schoenstatt Girls were warmly welcomed by the parish priest who encouraged the children to attend the fun day. It was providential that on that morning the children’s choir sang at Holy Mass. On hearing their beautiful voices, the excitement grew. After Mass we all headed to the hall to begin the day, anxious to see how many children would come. Twenty-five had signed up, however forty-two children arrived! Some adult helpers and youth members from the parish helped throughout the day and seemed to enjoy it as much as the children!
As a start, the children were divided into groups and each group had a Schoenstatt Youth member as a leader. Large footprints had been displayed in the hall and the children were given a special task. During the day they could collect small footprints that would be handed out by the leaders. To earn a footprint, they had to perform good deeds, listening, playing nicely, winning games, picking up the paper, etc. It was announced that the team with the most footprints would receive an extra prize at the end of the day! This challenge gave rise to much enthusiasm and many acts of kindness were performed. In one team some children had been naughty, so some footprints were taken from them … they were told however they could win them back by doing good deeds. They ended up as the overall winners! What a beautiful example of God’s mercy and kindness! .
“Thank you and the team for an awesome day”; “I am so impressed what the Schoenstatt Youth has achieved – they even provided lunch for the children”; “you must come back and run a program for the teens of the parish”; “I loved my leader”. These were some of the comments we received after the day. What was even more important were the smiling faces of the children. One of the Schoenstatt leaders said: “It was just so nice to see the children happy”.
So, what’s next?
25th May we have our annual Rally Day for primary school girls and in July a Winter Camp for high school girls. To help with the costs of the camp the Schoenstatt Youth have decided to hold a raffle and are personally contributing to the raffle prizes! They are dreaming Big! Their goal is to encourage as many as possible to attend the camp. Why? Because Schoenstatt has become such a special place for them – they want as many as possible to have the same experience!