It has been an exciting year at Savio so far. With a completely new team (except for Fr Bernard and Fr Graham) the want and need for development has really taken off. Since September members of the team have been coming up with new retreat ideas and ways to develop existing retreats to bring them up to date and accommodate young people in the best way possible. The chance for our creativeness as a team to show was given when Battersea were about to arrive. It was decided that we were going to create a new retreat specifically designed with Battersea in mind, looking at the needs of what forty 15 year old lads would want to do. With an initial concept given to us by Fr Bernard and Jess ‘Our Home’ was ready to be developed.
Our Home is a more outdoor retreat with emphasis on three different scales, local, nationally and globally and how we can have an impact on each of these scales. Activities ranged from looking at nature and the importance of the environment to how we can help rebuild a community after devastation. A highlight of the retreat was the new reconciliation service to which we took the group outside. The whole service was enjoyed and respected by all and the use of the outdoors really fitted well into the theme. Another activity that provoked a lot of thought and emotion was the community game. Each small group had to build their own community using recyclable materials they all put so much time and care into them that we ended up with three amazing structural pieces of art. However when all the groups came back together the next part of the game was to get someone from another group to destroy a community and then for the small group to rebuild it the best they could, it was heart-breaking to watch (I personally did not like it at all!) but it proved to be a very thought provoking activity with a lot of great group conversations came out of it.
After Our Home had gone well the team were full of ideas for new retreats, there were three new concepts aired; Masks, Hide and Seek (with God) and Sheep. Development on these ideas began straight after the team conference in January. Sheep was finished first and has since been rolled out and used a number of times with year 7 and 8. The theme of sheep concentrates on building friendships and how we can be a good shepherd to each other. It follows a similar pattern to other retreats with a few things shifted and new ideas inserted. Taking on board the success of the outdoor reconciliation in Our World, and as it fitted in with the theme of sheep, the reconciliation service gives the young people a chance to get around Savio’s grounds with stop off points highlighting different areas of their conscience. Sheep also gave way for the introduction of the newest member of team, Mervin the memory sheep (or ZEUS if you’re Helen or Alex!). Mervin allows the young people on retreat to store their favourite memory of the day in a safe place and as he is accessible throughout the day the young people can write down their memories as they happen. Sheep has gone really well and has received great feedback from staff.
Masks and Hide and Seek (with God) are still under construction but development on them is a continuous and we hope to have them up and trialled soon.