Children's camp at the New Kalenic Monastery in Canberra


Saturday the 17th of January, 2009 marked the end of yet another successful children's camp at the New Kalenic Monastery in Canberra. The camp, for children aged 7-12 years, lasted one week, with over 20 children participating. Blessed with beautiful weather all week, the monastery grounds were covered with little footsteps that just couldn't get enough of the sun!

Each day started with a morning church service at 8am, followed by the raising of both the Australian and Serbian flags and the singing of each national anthem. Breakfast was then served and after a short break, camp organisers treated the kids to either a lesson by one of our spiritual leaders or an activity like making prayer beads or colouring in pictures of bishops, priests and deacons. Following lunch and even more activities, the children and their counsellors headed back up to the church for the evening service.

Tuesday the 13th of January proved to be quite the celebration! Counsellors- with the help of Father Seraphim- spent hours decorating the dining hall and blowing balloons as a surprise for New Years Eve. After a delicious meal, guests were treated to the vocal talents of camp Kalenic, singing ‘Tamo Daleko' and ‘Idem Preko Zemlje Srbije'. The children then spent all night dancing to our DJ Aco's tunes, as well as showing the kolo skills that they had learnt during their time at camp.

CampThe children went on several excursions throughout the week- the Reptile Museum, Cockington Greens, Questacon, and the most memorable- the walk-in Aviary. Children were able to see snakes shed their skin, go on a virtual rollercoaster, and interact with many different species of birds. A big thankyou to Father Seraphim and Father Sasha for accompanying us on these excursions- we know you had just as much fun as we did!

The culinary skills of all of the women in the kitchen ensured that everyone returned home with a few extra pounds- soups, salads, goulash, fresh fruit between meals...what more could anyone want? Thanks go out to all of you for the delicious meals we ate all week!

While at the camp, the children were blessed with a visit by Vladika Irinej, who, along with his exceptional dancing and singing skills, demonstrated a genuine desire to teach our children and help them understand not only what happens within our faith but why. We also had the honour of attending the baptism of two campers, carried out by our Vladika, which was an experience that will never be forgotten by those who attended.

Many thanks go out to all of the men and women who helped out with the camp- both the counsellors and the children appreciated the time and effort you put in throughout the week. This was my first time as a camp counsellor and I was completely blown away by the attitudes and the potential of these young campers. As a community, we should be proud that our future, and that of our faith, lies in the hands of these young children who demonstrated a clear thirst for knowledge and who made it their aim to understand every aspect of the Serbian Orthodox faith.

Source: - Milica Popovic