Leavers 06

I did a few days helping out at the Leavers Zone at Dunsborough Lakes Caravan Park. This in my mind failed last year, but was an amazing success this year. 2-3000 kids crammed in the zone and took place in a great range of activities. This was not with the Red Frog Crew (Leavers Chaplaincy) it was with the community volunteer group. Basically we are there to serve the local community in any way they see fit, we work alongside police, YFC (we mainly with them), security, Ambulance crew, drug arm, whoever needs a hand making it all work. I helped out on the climbing wall, the toilets and in what was called “the sauna” which was the rave tent. The Beat Collective are a Uni based group of DJ’s that mix well and put on a great show, it was called the sauna because the tent it was in created its own cloud from the sweat in there, it was like a sauna!
Everyone was well behaved (this is a relative statement!! Well behaved compared to Bravehearts men during one of those battle scenes!) Seriously considering these are teenage, horny, drunken, stoned schoolies…they did well!
It was another world down there.
The days (after we woke up) were filled with great conversations about youth ministry as we were actually doing a 3 day ACOM/Youth Vision facilitation, so we dialoged stuff, ate good food, swam in the dam at Fongville and ate more good food, drank some coffee (Thanks for bringing the roaster down Matty B!), read some good books and went back to the Leavers Zone to clean vomit…all good fun 🙂
I guess leavers is the closest thing our culture provides teens as a rite of passage. Not ideal, but I think we have an inbuilt need to identify a passing from one live stage into another. Our culture does not know how to do this for our young people, our churches do not know how to do this for our young people, so they invent their own passing cerimonies that involve drinking, sex and all living together for a week or so.
There are glimpses of other ways of doing this appearing around the place. Richard Rohr spoke of some of this when he was in Perth last week, he is running rites of passage retreats all over the world now, I think I will become part of creating healthier ways for people, particularly guys to move into manhood. I have no sons, but I have mates who have sons who I can stand with as their boys move to manhood. And I want to help my girls do this well also.


13 thoughts on “Leavers 06

  1. I reckon the toughest assignment during your time there would have been to control my brother, Erik, and the other YFC crew. 🙂

  2. Well the Amish figure a year is a good period of time for rite of passage. Perhaps NOT cramming it into a single week may have some advantages. Particularly since that time could be engineered to include some positive experiences.

    Some report a statistic of as few as 5% not returning to Amish communities. I don’t know how valid that number is so take that as a caveat.

    I never went wild at the end of school – my parents gave me enough money to go overseas, well to new zealand at any rate. I spend 6 weeks travelling while using the home of family friends as a base (OK they ALSO had an attractive daughter just my age – bonus!)

    I did get a taste for travel though and seemed to seek exotic experiences. By exotic I don’t mean the surfie type adventure, but the arse-end-of-nowhere-freezing-my-fricken-toes-off kind of exotic.

    I’d like my kids to desire that longer, more fulfilling experience too and that will be my offer to them – you can go to leavers if you like, or, we’ll give you some money to travel overseas, to say, Mongolia (fermented horse milk will NOT hold the same attractions as a UDL I am sure).

  3. Eric…yes…he sure breaks the mould…that’s the stuff growing in my shower…Seriously Eric is a hero, reminds me of that song “Forever Young”!!!
    What a … unique man…a true servant of God for sure;)

  4. grendel – I hear you. I often dream of creating something as an alternative to Schoolies, some wild mountain adventure that would make kids cry and remember the experience forever…maybe bleed too, yes blodd needed and tears…and some laughter, a little.

  5. In churches I have heard a lot of talk about this,
    its time for us to do something about it.

    I am developing a program for young me, similar, but different, to the “Valiant Man” course.
    It is really needed.

    We have no rites of passage for boys in our clean, feminine churches, and it has to change

    good onya scott for getting down there

  6. I’m thinking a rite of passage ought to involve beatings with coffee bushes, a sweat lodge and introduction to the mysteries of coffee roasting and brewing. Or perhaps that is just the rite of passage I really wanted to have.

    I’m saving money to take our family to Europe when the boys are 13 and 11 to take the old pilgrim trail from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain – by donkey.

    THe long slow trek will be aimed at giving them an appreciation for many things, including travel that I hope will stay with them.

  7. Funny, I have never heard of the route before (the old pilgrim trail), but I am reading a book called The Pillars of the Earth, set in the 1100’s and the guy has just returned from this very walk in search of learning more about building cathedrals.

  8. Good on u 4 getting in 2 the thick of it at Schoolies; Sex, drugs & rock n roll. Hmm, none of that our family camp last week! But lots of little kids with snotty noses & smiley faces.

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