Who will be interested in coming?

It’s always good to look back and reflect on what has been. Last year we were delighted with the number of participants that attended the Girls Youth Winter Camp. It had been the largest number in years. However, we had just come out of Covid lockdowns and the reality was that people wanted to reconnect and the theme of the camp, “Get Connected”, awakened interest in many. Now, what would the 4th July -7th July camp be like in 2023? Would there be the same interest? Daily activities are back to normal. Would the youth have time and interest to attend a Schoenstatt Camp? To our surprise – about 40 young people soon registered! Needless to say, we were delighted to welcome them to our Schoenstatt Centre in Constantia.

Being ‘possible’ was a drawcard!

The theme for the Camp this year was – IMPOSSIBLE – I’M POSSIBLE”. It is a sad fact that many young people don’t believe in themselves, in their capabilities and in their potential. On the first day of the camp as one of our guest speakers walked in her eyes caught sight of the large whiteboard.  It was covered with thoughts from the girls as to why they think “I can’t”, why some things seem impossible to them. The guest speaker immediately picked up a marker and wrote in large letters – NOT YET! That made an impact! In fact, her life story and the story of her twin sister who is visually impaired made a huge impression on the girls. Both speakers have faced many challenges and obstacles in their lives. They got to know Schoenstatt during their teens and were gripped by one of the youth mottos: ‘Build through us a better world’. A unique statue of Mary played a great role in their lives. This statue that was discovered in the garden by a group of Schoenstatt Girls at that time was a broken figure of the Immaculata. It had been buried and had resurfaced. It had no head and hands!   The Girls Youth then saw it as a special task entrusted to them! They felt called to be Mary’s eyes, ears and mouth and to listen and speak as Mary would. They would be Mary’s hands, to bring comfort and support those in need.

Choosing the positive

Another guest speaker emphasized how important it was to choose the positive over the negative. In preparation for the camp the Schoenstatt Leaders found it important that three main aspects were looked at, Mental Health, Spiritual Health and Physical Health, thus empowering the youth to live a more positive lifestyle. We had a short ‘bootcamp’ which focused on physical exercise. This entailed completing various exercises outside in our beautiful garden and ending with a relaxing meditation that gave the girls so much joy. Later they were encouraged to discover various people in the Bible who faced impossible situations. Through faith and trust in God’s omnipotence these Bible characters experienced how the ‘Impossible’ became ‘Possible’.

At home in our Shrine

Central to our Girls Camp experience is the time spent in our Shrine! It is where we have our morning and evening prayers, where we have Holy Mass and where the girls are encouraged to connect with Our Lord and our Immaculata whenever they want to. We took some time to learn about Schoenstatt’s spirituality and the role that Mary can play in our lives today. Our camp took place shortly before the World Youth Day and so we reflected on the visitation of Mary. The theme for the World Youth Day is – “Mary arose and went with haste”. We are also called to arise and live our lives with joy, joy in serving and sharing our faith with others and joy in discovering our own potential!

Not alone on this journey

An important experience for the girls was the fact that they are not alone. They are not alone as they journey through adolescence and young adulthood with all its challenges and discoveries, they are not alone in their faith and values. During these days old friendships were strengthened and new friendships were made. We look forward to our upcoming activities, such as our Leadership Training weekends, the Assumption Celebration; the Shrine to Shrine Pilgrimage and the October Weekend.

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