Long weekend camp

Nurturing young people and families within the life of the church is obviously an urgent priority. Encouraging those in smaller congregations, without peer support or critical resources, is an
even greater challenge. So where to begin?

Six parishes this year pooled resources to see if working together might make a difference.

With critical support from the Melbourne Anglican Foundation Youth Fund, this saw over 160 people from 16 parishes join together at The Long Weekend Camp at Philip Island in March, for an exciting program of activities, inspiring worship, and great opportunities for learning and discovery.

“We wanted to do something that would encourage sharing and cooperation across congregations that have limited resources for youth and family ministry”, said one of the organisers. “We were aware too that not all approaches to young work work equally well across all parishes. Reaching young people that were largely untouched by existing Diocesan programs was an important priority.”

The Melbourne Anglican Youth Fund supports youth ministry projects which benefit disadvantaged young people. We assist parishes to form partnerships with community groups and schools to offer activities such as camps, youth clubs and counselling programs.

The help of the MAF allowed more than 30 young people from Karen and Sudanese congregations to participate in the event. “Subsidising these young people basically underwrote the camp for us. No parish could risk organizing such a large event on its own. The costs are too high. But knowing we had money for 30 registrations and publicity made the whole thing possible. We really appreciated the support.”

The participation of so many people from across the Diocese showed the need was real. “Many said they were glad just meet others in parishes like their own. And it was great to hear what others are doing around Melbourne.”

Sharing experiences and resources was one of the organiser’s aims. “Some strategies have proven hard to transfer to smaller congregations, and many parishes now lack the volunteer capacity to organize a youth program or an event like this.
Encouraging co-operation across parishes in a similar situation has a real logic to it.”

The Long Weekend was so successful that a 2013 is planned. “We learnt a few things this year and we are aiming to produce an even better event next time. Keep an eye out and plan to come along!”


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