by Fr. Xavier Devadas
KARJAT-MAHARASHTRA, AUGUST 23, 2014: On August 16, 2014 that marked the launch of Bicentenary of Birth of Don Bosco, seventy six Young college students from thirty six different colleges from Mumbai arrived at Don Bosco, Karjat for a five day leadership camp. The main objective of the camp was to empower these youth to be genuine leaders. Mr. Royal D'souza district NSS (National Service Scheme) coordinator and staff of Don Bosco Centre for Learning, Kurla was the chief organizer of this camp.
The campers arrived with great enthusiasm and expectation at the camp site, and surely they went back with much more. As they reached the camp site, they were welcomed by the trainees and the staff of Don Bosco, Karjat. Without any delay they began with the orientation session during which camp rules were explained, groups were made, daily responsibilities of the groups were allotted and the ice breakers were organized.
A number of resource persons from the Mumbai University and some others enriched the campers with their rich and valuable experience. They had the opportunity to meet and learn from eminent persons. Mr. Bhidwe, coordinator for Mumbai NSS inaugurated the camp and spoke about the importance of being a leader through NSS. Mr. Phondekar animated the group in skills for life. Mr. Ashok Pujari conducted sessions on disaster management. Dr. Dixist from Consumer Guidance trained the group on 'how to bring awareness to consumers about the malpractices, adulteration and cheating in consumer product.'
Mr. Sanjay spoke to the group about opportunities in NSS. Fr. Glenn sdb animated an entire day speaking about being a true leader and personality development. Br. Savio D'mello conducted a session on 'wounded healer.' Fr. Xavier sensitized the campers on getting connected to mother earth, ecology and empowerment of the marginalized youth. Though the sessions were long, the campers showed great sense of hunger for knowledge; they deeply appreciated and tried to integrate the rich knowledge in their life.
Each day began at 6:00 a.m with body dynamic sessions with Fr. Xavier, followed by one hour of Shram Anubhav (Community Service). Each evening an hour of cultural activities gave opportunities to showcase their creative and entertaining abilities. These were the moments of true fellowship. They spontaneously bonded with the trainees of DB, Karjat and engrossed them into their moment of celebrations. On August 18, the campers were taken out on a two hour trekking. Almost sixty percent of the campers had an experience of trekking for the first time and they were thrilled and came back with a sense of sheer joy.
Although the participants came from thirty six different colleges yet it was amazing to see how well they bonded as a group. The schedule was very hectic and moreover they had to adjust to the limited residential and animation space, yet they adjusted themselves willingly. Not only Fr. Glenn and the local staff but all the resource persons appreciated the eagerness and the proactive participation of the group. The trainees of DB, Karjat rose to the occasion and assisted in preparing the place, cooking, and other logistics.
On the final day, August 20, it was indeed an emotional farewell where the campers moved out of the camp site with reluctance, gratitude and joy. They felt that this was a good way to begin the Bicentenary experience. For those at DB, Karjat it was a privilege to be among the youth and a joy to join in their journey of life. "The charism, power and the spirit of Don Bosco is truly alive and is most needed for the youth of present times and may the spirit of Don Bosco lead us on."