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Environmental Leadership Camp for young people

Environmental Leadership Camp for young people


I have been involved with some interesting events recently, and some synchronistic moments. The Revd Rachel Mash organised an Environmental leadership camp at Glencairn for the youth of the Diocese of Table Bay.

I was keen to galvanise some of the parishioners of the parish of St Francis Simon’s Town to assist with the programme. One thing we have at St Francis is lots of experience.

The young people aged from 18 to 28 came from many parts of the Western Cape. Some had never been in a boat before. We wanted to give them that experience.

On the Saturday morning at 8.00 am I did a walking meditation for them in the Glencairn wetland with readings and poetry. It was lovely to see them just sitting on the stepping stones and enjoying the silence and the beauty around them.

At 9.00 am they joined Cilla Bromley and a team of people for International Coastal Clean-up day. They cleaned Glencairn beach, and the area just below the station. I was impressed to see the number of plastic bags they filled. At 11.00 they returned for tea at the Viper lounge. Now there’s a place to visit even if you are not a biker. Then they returned to their Rotary camp, while I caught up with my Sunday preparations.

At 1.30 p.m. members of the parish transported them to the town jetty and the Yacht Club for the next half of the programme. There they divided into three groups. One group boarded Harry Dilly’s boat for a journey to Noah’s Ark. He talked to them about fishing and the local sea-bird life. Another group met with Prof Colin Atwood who told them about the blue flag status of the harbour, and spoke about the fishing reserves around Simon’s Town. The other group visited the NSRI.

Just after 4.00 p.m. when each group had completed their task, we walked to see the penguins at Boulders. Many had never seen the penguin’s before. There they were picked up by members of the parish and returned to Glencairn for supper and their evening programme.

It was wonderful to see many young people so enthusiastic about the environment.

I then left Rachel to complete her part of the programme. The next day my morning was spent doing duty at St Francis.

Then a little magic. Rachel had spoken about Koos who runs the camps at Glencairn. She also mentioned that he had built a labyrinth there, and knowing my interest in labyrinths suggested I should meet him.

And so I did. The next day Koos and Annette, invited me to walk the labyrinth with them. It was good to meet Koos who is so enthusiastic for the environment and the work he is doing for young people. I was amazed to see the labyrinth, which he has built on the hill side with borders of fynbos. It is 3 ks to the centre of the labyrinth and it is the more interesting chartreuse model. It is the one at St George’s Cathedral. Koos would love an aerial photograph of the labyrinth. So if there is anyone out there who will oblige, please get in touch.

The next morning we had our strollers group so I took them on an introductory walk. I look forward to taking groups of people on spiritual walks in the labyrinth. So if you or your group would like such an experience, do get in touch.

I think St Francis and our surroundings here have much to offer young people who would like to learn about the environment, and who would like to enjoy a spiritual pilgrimage into nature.

Bob Commin

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