Over this past Christmas week, thirteen students, along with Br. Sasika and Br. Travis, spent their vacation at the Salesian St. Benizi Parish in Belle Glade, FL
, working as counselors at the three-day winter camp. Run by Fr. Matt DeGance, SDB, director of St. Benizi and former campus minister at DBP, this spiritual and missionary journey serves the children, living in an area stricken by unfathomable poverty, through direct interaction, activities, fun, and prayer.
Each day began with breakfast and mass, followed by camp activities including games of kickball, basketball, four square, tag, as well as arts and crafts. The students also arranged fun skits for the children.
Part of the boys’ responsibilities during the week was cooking meals for themselves and the other camp volunteers, as well as cleaning and helping with yard work around the parish grounds.
As part of the missionary experience, Fr. Matt gave the boys a tour of Belle Glade where the poverty is most evident. A repeated theme in the evenings’ reflections was the similarities and differences between Bosco and Belle Glade, giving the boys the opportunity to compare their lives to those of the underprivileged, and understanding the importance of helping others.
Some of the other fun activities during the week was ice skating with the campers, a volunteer barbecue at Fr. Matt’s parents’ house, bowling, and evening socializing with the Belle Glade teens.
At the end of the trip, the boys reflected on the last three days of camp, and discussed what they were grateful for, and what offered them challenges. The campers and counselors celebrated a final mass together in honor of the Holy Family. Fr. Matt expressed his gratitude to the boys for their presence in Belle Glade and invited everyone back during the summer to help out with the summer oratory.
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