BIS #6936 Come, Follow Me: Vocation Camps 2023

By Cl. Ethan Fortes for BISMumbai

The community of Don Bosco, Lonavla, along with the Vocation Team of the Salesian Province of Bombay organized two vocation camps to select boys aspiring to join Don Bosco, Lonavla, to have an experience of the place and to discover God’s call in their life. Both camps were a week-long with the first one beginning on 2 May 2023 and the second one beginning on 9 May. Each day of the camp focused on particular themes revolving around the aspect of following Jesus.

On the first day of the two camps, the boys were introduced to the house and the focus of the Vocation Camp. Keeping to the theme ‘Following Jesus through my Talents’, Fr Joyston Machado conducted a session on talents wherein he guided the boys towards understanding the preciousness of one’s talents and how God uses it for a greater good if only we are generous with our talents. The second day dealt with the theme of ‘Following Jesus with my Friends’. In this regard, the focus was on how we need to value our friendships and how good friendships lead us closer to Jesus. ‘Following Jesus through my Choices’ was the theme for the third day. During the course of the day, Fr Bosco Carvalho moderated a panel discussion along with the volunteer so as to help the campers understand how life is at Don Bosco, Lonavla. Two teachers from the school, Ms Qaafiya Syed and Ms Priya Shinde, oriented the campers on the school curriculum. Later in the evening of that day, a few Salesians shared their vocation stories and how Don Bosco Lonavala helped them understand God’s call in their life. The campers were also asked to fill in their applications to join Don Bosco Lonavala for the following academic year. 

The following day, the campers reflected on the theme of ‘Following Jesus through Service’. In this regard, Fr Velasli Bandya conducted a session on Biblical calls. He helped the campers understand how vocation is seen throughout the scriptures and how various Biblical figures responded to God’s call. The fifth day was when the campers reflected on the life of Dominic Savio and how he followed Jesus by being holy. Br Aliester D’Souza conducted a session wherein he helped the boys understand how Dominic Savio is a good example of holiness and how we too can imitate him in simple ways. Later in the day, the animators organized a special ‘Savio Nite’ wherein games and quiz rounds were organized that were based on the life of Dominic Savio. On the sixth day, the campers reflected on how one ought to follow Jesus with joy. Following this theme, the campers were introduced to the life of a Salesian: from the point of view of a Salesian priest and from the perspective of a Salesian Brother.

Apart from the various input sessions held throughout the camp, there were also many moments of team-building. Every evening after dinner, a special event was organized for the campers. These included games,  movies, as well as a display of one’s talents. The campers also embarked on a trek towards Tungarli dam so as to bond with their team members. The camp concluded on the seventh day with the theme ‘Following Jesus with Don Bosco’. 

The Vocation Camps were quite a success thanks to the amazing rapport between the Salesians and the Animators. The animators comprised of the aspirants of Std 11 and the prenovitiate candidates. The boys were quite thrilled with all the activity and energy throughout the camp. They were very grateful for all that was done for them for the camp and were looking forward to the various opportunities that would be presented to them at Don Bosco, Lonavla.