Finance & Works - Ken Hancock
Health & Safety - Vaughan Sampson
Report on the Catholic Boys Adventure Camp in South Auckland
The following boys from Wellsford Parish attended the recent Catholic Boys Adventure Camp in South Auckland.
Sean Paget, Joshua Davies, Paul Hardy, Liam Pride, Devon Pride, Oliver Miller and Jordan Miller
as well as the following dads
Noel Paget, Ken Davies and Jerome Hardy
A special time was had by all, and on behalf of all these boys and dads I would like to say a big thank-you to Fr Peter and the Parish Council for makiing it possible for us to attend.
Of interest is that we also had Daniel Schimanski, Bob's grandson attend from Whangarei
See below for a copy of the report ...
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REPORT: A Special Opportunity to Grow in Virtue.
A hot, dry day on January 5th saw the start of the fourth annual Catholic Boys Camp at Camp Adair in South Auckland. The perfect weather providentially remained with us for the whole 5 days and it was a great venue for the camp, complete with a river /swimming hole which allowed the boys to cool off a couple of times each day.
The group was well represented from throughout the North Island, with 45 boys and 10 dads from both the Hamilton and Auckland Dioceses. We were especially grateful to the Catholic Caring Foundation and St Mary’s Parish in Wellsford who sponsored a number of boys who ordinarily would not have been able to attend, to Regnum Christi who assisted with the flights costs for our priest (Fr John Bullock LC), and to other benefactors who gave generously.
Once all the boys had arrived Fr John celebrated Mass. With our Lord present in the Tabernacle we officially had a Chapel, located in the historic schoolhouse. The boys were then divided into teams which were to compete for the winning prize. Points would be awarded for virtue, in particular perseverance, charity, courage and zeal, but also for performance in sports and other activities.
Aside from being blessed with the presence of Fr John, we had a special bunch of camp dads, who generously gave of their time, vehicles and skills to making sure the boys made the most of the camp. Special thanks to Charnchai Kengmana who very ably directed a busy schedule and Thomas Breinhorst, Peter Smith, Stefan Brzozowski, Eric Hamilton, Ken Davies, Chris Sullivan, Andrew Buckley, and Noel Paget who all made an enormous contribution.
We were also blessed with the presence of some very dedicated Junior Leaders (age 14-15), most of whom have been involved with Conquest for a number of years. An integral part the way we provide formation for the younger boys, is by having these older boys -who are awesome role models- leading them. They are Matthew and Justin both from Tauranga, Sam and Patrick both from Hamilton and Liam from Wellsford. Worthy of special mention however is Senior Leader; 16 yr old Andrew Barker who worked tirelessly; an able leader with a big heart, who earned tremendous respect from the boys.
Every day started at 06h15 with the traditional wake-up call of “Christ our King” to which the boys replied “Thy Kingdom Come!” Morning prayer was followed by a cross country run and warm up. Then a shower and boys were in the Chapel for Mass at 7h30. Breakfast and a day packed full of activities would follow. After dinner (which was always awesome), the boys were given a formational talk which was followed by a fun activity such as a campfire or walk to find glow-worms. Finally, a strict lights-out was enforced at 9.30pm after Night Prayer. After the first night the team that had behaved best at bed-time earned exclusive access to the mudslide the following day. After that, very little encouragement was needed to get the (exhausted) boys to sleep.
Some of the highlights were:
Talks and Sacraments: Fr John gave the boys some inspiring talks on Virtue (the theme of the camp) , and the Sacraments. Having Fr John with us the whole time gave the opportunity for Confession and Daily Mass. Each homily during Mass was a special time, which Father directed specifically to the boys.
Meals: Our ambitious aim was to change the buffet system previously used on camps to one where the boys were seated and an allocated team served the meal to the boys at table. The purpose of this was to encourage the boys to serve each other. This started off rather chaotically but by the end of the camp was running extraordinarily well with the seated boys calmly raising their hand to get the attention of the ‘server’ team.
Go-karts: This was a unique activity to this camp with Peter Smith and his 4 boys generously providing (and delivering) 6 extra-ordinary go-carts. A V8 Supercar caliber race track was laid out, and daily races were held.
A highlight was the Dad’s race at the end of the camp which was won by outsider team Noel and Stefan. Tug o’ War and Soccer also added to the competitiveness between teams!
Adventure activities: Here the High Beam, Trapeze and Super Fox really challenged the boys – especially those who were nervous about heights. The air-rifle shooting, orienteering and raft-building also made for great story-telling in the evening.
Swimming hole: With the sweltering weather the boys were in the water a couple of times a day and soon had found a fallen tree from which they could dive.
Skits: Each team had to make a skit which would be filmed by Andrew and Mr Breinhorst, and judged at the end. They had to choose a Virtue and act it out using the props and facilities available at the camp. Points were awarded for originality, creativity, teamwork etc..
Hike: This was long enough to challenge the boys and was done at a good pace in order to get back in time for lunch. The hike started in cool conditions after an early breakfast, but quickly became sweltering as the boys walked a circular route in the bush via the beautiful Hunua Falls. This challenge was the turning point of the camp for many of the boys (especially the younger ones) who felt they had really achieved something big when they arrived –exhausted but cheering- back into camp for lunch.
Orienteering: An awesome experience for the boys!
Mudslide: Fabulous! (see photo). A 100m long, 100mph ride down a water slide into a mudpool at the bottom! Next time we will allow for more time on this…
Benediction and Adoration: A first for many of the boys, it was of course a very special time, just before bed. The boys needed very little coaching on how to behave –they knew- and it was a blessing for us all to have the quiet time to worship our Lord physically present before us.
Food Drive: A priority of every camp is to get the boys to do a work of apostolate, or a work of charity. So the boys went out visiting homes in a local suburb, with the saintly dads for taxi drivers and the following objective: to ask for food items in order to give to needy Auckland families, and to pray for the people they approached! This was a very special experience for the boys -who were initially nervous- but after experiencing the warmth of Aucklanders early in the day were inspired to keep going! At the end of the day Jim Norris and Frank Heffernan (from the South Auckland chapter of the Society of St Vincent de Paul) joined the boys for dinner and gave them a talk on the Society and what they do in Auckland. They also explained how the food items would be used to help those in need. In particular, they encouraged the boys in their efforts and reminded them of the words of our Lord; “ as often as you did it for the least of my brothers, you did it for me” (Mat 25:40) The boys then loaded up the food into their van and farewelled these two good men.
After the Food Drive, one special testimony came from Devon (9) from Wellsford and Vincent (10) from Auckland:
“There was one house where the daughter asked us to come back later because her mother would be home then, so we insisted that Mr Breinhorst take us back there when we had finished because we had promised we would be back. When we got there we told the lady who we were and that we were collecting food for needy families in Auckland on behalf of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. She was very nice and she gave us a plastic bag full of tins and other things. Then we asked her if there was anything she wanted us to pray for and she said ‘Yes; please pray that I may know God better’ so we prayed an Our Father and a Hail Mary and then a short prayer for her. When we finished praying she was crying and that’s when Mr Breinhorst walked up to the door to check if we were ok because we were taking quite a long time”
Our prayer and hope is that our boys may grow to continue serving Christ and their neighbour in this way.
After a final lunch of American hot-dogs there was prize-giving: prizes were awarded for Virtue (especially Courage, Perseverence, and Charity), Leadership skills and to the winning teams in the senior and junior divisions. The exhausted but jubilant boys then left for home hopefully with many happy memories.
Glory Be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Love Christ, Serve Others, Build the Church