Monday 18 June 2018

Brotherhood of St Laurence Urban Camp

Students attended the Brotherhood of St Laurence Urban Camp in Fitzroy from Monday 4 June to Thursday 7 June. The camp is based at the offices of the Brotherhood where students get the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in different projects, programs and workshops.

The Urban Camp’s aim is to educate and influence a new generation of young people to understand the problems that disadvantaged Australians deal with on a daily basis. Ivanhoe Grammar School has been involved with the camp for a number of years with the students involved coming away from the experience with a greater awareness of the need for social justice and community development and a greater appreciation for their own situation in life.

Students were able to participate in a myriad of life-changing activities and discussions that helped them to have a greater understanding of the challenges facing people in the greater community around them.

Two Year11 students, Adam Mckern and Mila Simkus reflect on their time at this unique and life-changing camp.

Adam McKern’s reflection

I had a fantastic time on urban camp, it was a very memorable experience in which I was offered the opportunity engage with different people and gain an understanding of their stories and some of the issues which exist on a local and global scale. I especially enjoyed going out to YAMEC in Broadmeadows where we got a chance to meet with some people who had recently come over to avoid conflict in their home countries of Syria and Iraq. It was an insightful experience in which I learnt more about their stories and gained an understanding of their day to day lives. I would certainly recommend the trip to all students as it is a fantastic way to gain an understanding of the local and global communities we live in.

Mila Simkus’ reflection

Last week I attended the annual Urban Camp. The camp went for four days and we stayed in Fitzroy at the Brotherhood of St Laurence which is the program we worked with. The Brotherhood is a community organisation that works across Australia to prevent and alleviate poverty, and many of the activities and services we participated were focused on the issues of poverty and homelessness. We had the privilege of meeting some amazing people on the streets of Melbourne who were homeless due to a variety of unfortunate circumstances, and it was really inspiring to hear their stories of hope and gratitude in the face of adversity. The camp also had a focus on the importance of community and social cohesion, and we were lucky enough to meet some recent refugees to Australia from places like Iraq and Syria who were integrating into society. It was incredible to get to know them and was so rewarding to create friendships with people who have come from entirely different worlds, yet are so unbelievably similar to us. Overall, the camp taught me the importance of empathy, acceptance, and the power of conversation. It was really rewarding to see a side to Melbourne that we don’t often see, and I am definitely inspired by the many people I met and stories I learnt to continue to make change within our community. I definitely recommend this camp to anyone who is open-minded and willing to have their perceptions challenged!