On the weekend before I flew to the UK on the Monday, I spent the weekend with an incredible group of young adult leaders at Somers. For 60 years this camp has been run by the Uniting Church and the preceding denominations. The 40 leaders are aged between 16 and 30 and undergo selection processes and training to ensure they can plan and run the camp for over 100 children in the first week of the July school holidays.
The leadership training weekend is supported financially by Richmond Uniting Church with an annual grant. The trainers include people who are experts in their fields and who can engage with young people – subjects include communication, public speaking, leading small groups, team working, working with children with special needs, and so on. People like VicTas synod’s Bradon French talk about the Uniting Church and I do the Safe Church training.
This year, Church Council agreed to pay for 2 Doncaster Secondary students and 3 Fresh participants to attend the Saturday training from 8.30am-5.30pm. The aim was to equip them to serve in leadership roles in their schools, churches, and other groups to which they belong. This was the first time young people who were not Somers leaders attended the training but they were embraced into the group and they threw themselves into the learning.
Thanks have to go to the parents who car pooled to drive from Templestowe and Doncaster down to Somers, and to the young people themselves who really pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to take part. Somers camp is following up with the young people to see what they could improve for next year as this is something they want to encourage. And this is something I would like to do again next year with other young people to enable them to link into training that is both great quality but also relevant to their contexts.
The picture shows Fresh actors Jo, Matt and Troy and Doncaster students Brittanie and Abby. Also shown in the back row is Bradon French, the Youth resource person at eLm who helps to resource the camp, and in the front row Lachie Gregory who organises the leadership training.