One young person who came on the trip found out about the pilgrimage through the Chaplain at his High School.
Before the trip, he was sentenced to an 18 month good behaviour bond and had an 8pm curfew; however the magistrate made an exception to allow him to come on this year’s trip.
At the start of the trip, Graham was not proactive in meeting new people and he struggled to get involved and remain motivated in the activities on the camp. He spent a lot of his time sleeping on the bus, while others were getting involved, meeting new people and having fun. Because of this, he acquired the name “sleep ninja”, which stuck for the rest of the trip.
Mid-way through the trip he came close to being sent home, because he refused to participate in the group.
However, like a number of other situations on the camp, this issue was resolved with an honest and straight forward chat with the leaders. Although he was frustrated and angry, he always managed to listen and talk respectfully and share his point of view in a mature way.
Despite all that was going on for him, he made the effort to give things a go.
This was very encouraging to see, especially in the things that he initially thought would be difficult or impossible.
For example, after some initial encouragement he was incredibly valuable in small group discussions. He also put his hand up regularly to serve and clean up at meal times. It was also heartening for the leaders to see him take part in the festival activities with the local Aboriginal community at Uluru. This was the point where the leaders really saw him “step up”.
On first appearances, this young man was probably the last kid you would expect to enjoy anything mildly related to arts and crafts.
Despite this, he demonstrated a great skill and attention to detail in making the neatest and best looking friendship bracelets out of anyone on the bus. He even taught some of the leaders how it was done. He was actually one of the few who were able to do the proper pattern and complete it, multiple times.
He made the Chaplain who first told him about the trip a friendship bracelet with the colours of the Aboriginal flag and the Chaplain keeps it even now on their backpack bag to remind them not to judge a ‘book by it’s cover’.
He started the trip doubtful and apprehensive of meeting new people and making new friends. By the end, he had made a range of new friends most of whom he didn’t know at all at the beginning.
At the very end of the trip he shared that he felt like the Canberra group had become like a bit of a family.
This is why Fusion Canberra is committed to giving more and more young people the opportunity to be part of such a life changing journey.
For more information about the dates for next years Pilgrimage to Uluru, and to register your interest, or support click here.