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Refugees are one of Australia’s more vulnerable communities, with culture, language, and administrative difficulties all presenting unique challenges. For teenagers, this can be particularly difficult – as the natural challenges of identity and self are compounded by moving into a new environment, culture, and language.
What is it?
Camp Harmony (previously ‘Sanctuary Camp’) is for high school aged youth from a refugee background, and provide both an introduction to the land and culture that these teens are now becoming part of, as well as an encounter with Jesus and His people. The camps give refugee teens an experience of Australia – in terms of setting, food and culture – but also seek to give the campers a chance to encounter who Jesus is and why the leaders follow and trust Him.
What’s the Value?
Refugees are one of Australia’s more vulnerable communities with culture, language, and administrative difficulties all presenting unique challenges. For teenagers, this can be particularly difficult – as the natural challenges of identity and self are compounded by moving into a new environment, culture, and language.
Camp Harmony aims to give such teens a head start by providing a welcome to their new home country, and helping them understand some of the differences they might already be struggling with. The intention is also that the camp leaders and the supporting churches might become a source of ongoing support for the teens on camp. The camps also aim to provide teens with a source of help and hope that goes far beyond where they live – an opportunity and encouragement to know Jesus!
How does it work?
The camps will run over the course of a weekend right at the conclusion of School Term 4 – and in part will be a way to relax at the conclusion of the school year. They will be held at iconic South Australian settings such as the coastline, the Murray River, or in the Flinders Ranges and will include a number of activities to give campers an experience of Australia and it’s culture – everything from BBQ cooked meals through to games, including a ‘crash-course’ in Australian slang (with prizes for guessing what “Stone the Crows’ or “I’m Flat out!” might actually mean). Issues that might be a legitimate cultural barrier – such as gender roles, physical contact, and taboos will also be discussed in a helpful manner. In addition to this, the leaders will give campers a chance to hear about who Jesus is and why they choose to trust in Him.
The campers are gathered from a variety of sources, but predominantly from churches and Christian groups who have contact and involvement with refugee families and communities. Camp fees may be paid for by the campers family themselves, where possible, but more commonly the camper will be sponsored by the church or Christian community who supports them.
Team Members will be SUSA Volunteers (fully trained, screened and police checked) from a variety of churches, with skills in cross-cultural ministry, at-risk ministry, social work and languages being highly sought after. Team Members must agree with and follow SUSA’s Aims, Beliefs and Working Principles in order to participate, thus allowing Christians from a variety of church backgrounds to unite with a common gospel message.
Download and print a Sanctuary Camp brochure (pdf).
Download and print a Sanctuary Camp registration form (pdf).
Further information on this program is available by contacting our At-Risk Coordinator, Cherith Harvey.