Mateship and Courage
As a nation, Australia has a very rich history of mateship and self-sacrifice, as displayed by members of the armed services, in many different conflicts across the world. Over 3 days from 16-18th September, 8 boys and 4 leaders came together at Emu Gully Adventure Camp Helidon, to get a hands-on experience of what our diggers went through, which allows us to enjoy the freedoms that we do today.
Campers were provided with tents, camp cooking gear, and rations, so they were responsible for putting up their own tent and cooking meals/clean up. Bush showers & toilets also brought the camping experience back to basics.
An inspection of campsite and campers’ gear cleanliness was conducted each morning, before going out for activities. Campers even engaged in some army marching/drill sessions.
The boys were compelled to work as a team and look out for their mates as they faced a broad range of challenges, including scaling the wall at the ‘Hindenburg Line’, climbing through a ‘tunnel in Vietnam’, riding bikes to construct a pontoon bridge, and helping each other through the chest deep mud of the ‘Kokoda Track’. The Emu Gully facilitator helped us reflect on amazing stories of what some of the men from these campaigns endured.
During a number of these activities, different campers found themselves coming up against personal fears. With encouragement from leaders and their mates, they rose to the challenge on each occasion, finding courage to face and overcome these fears.
After days packed with strenuous activities, it was good to sit around the campfire at night after tea, to discuss and reflect on the day’s events. We all enjoyed roasting marshmallows and cooking damper on a stick.
On the last night, all were invited to enjoy a celebratory glass of Coca-cola. However, it was later ‘discovered’ there was a rather unpleasant surprise in the bottle. (A black sock!!) That sick feeling in the stomach that many boys experienced upon realizing this, having already had a drink, was likened to the feeling we get when we do something wrong, whether by our own choice or through the encouragement of others. Sin can often come in an enticing package, which looks and tastes so good. An unorthodox delivery of a very timely message!
Leaders shared some of their own experiences of times in their lives when things like this had happened, and how a relationship with Jesus had helped them to overcome and deal with issues. It was explained that His self-sacrifice on the cross, has paid a price for us. Leaders prayed for campers, who were encouraged to explore this for themselves by talking with leaders about how they could have Jesus as a friend with them, at all times.
Camp was obviously a real blast, as come Monday morning, many of the campers indicated they would like there to be more than one Camp for Kids each year and that they would like the camp to go for longer, as they didn’t want to go home.
-Howard, Prison Fellowship Volunteer