‘We Can Be More’ Sandhurst Youth for ecological justice.

The Camp kicked off with the creation of a Sacred Space. Each of the eight colleges contributed a jar of their home soil and lit a Caritas candle, bees were included in the display to represent individual students and their commitments as to how they will ‘Bee More’. A Caritas Internationalis video was presented in which Cardinal Turkson, set the scene for us, by speaking of the earth as a garden ‘to till and to keep’. We kept this symbolism in our minds and hearts throughout the camp.

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Initial meeting and mixing games brought everyone into small contact groups with a new bunch of friends to get to know! The evening progressed with participants divided into family groups, each in a different country vulnerable to the effects of climate change, for The Climate Game – a simulation of how climate affects life and livelihoods around the globe. It was a fun introduction to the serious issues of climate, setting the scene for a focus on ecological justice. The students enjoyed many laughs, and also much frustration as they came to grips with the effects of factors outside their control no matter how hard they worked on their products.

Over the following days students shared local and global justice concerns through presentations and workshops on Catholic Social Teaching, Refugees, the Environment, Sustainable Eating, Human Trafficking, Racism, Fair Trade and Social Media. On the second night, the movie ‘2040’ provided further reflection on environmental issues and discussion of creative ideas giving hope for the future.

On the final day, students gathered in school groups to develop an action plan which moved from fundraising through awareness-raising and solidarity to taking action to effect change – restoring justice! They were asked to focus their planning on how their school could celebrate the upcoming Laudato Si Week and also on the invitation to become certified Catholic Earthcare Schools. Final presentations of their plan by each school left organisers in no doubt that students had been inspired and equipped to return to their local communities to make a difference! A closing liturgy provided a powerful sending forth to ignite the fire for social and ecological justice in schools, and in the Sandhurst Diocese.

JusticeMatters Group Beecworth 700