The camp was established back in the 1940’s to provide summer holidays for orphans. Its origins date back to traditional school holiday program camps involving volunteers trained in Salesian Youth Leadership. The Salesians of Don Bosco are a catholic religious order dedicated to supporting young people, especially the disadvantaged.
There is evidence at the camp of this and the respect the youth leaders and campers have for the opportunities they have been given. Painted murals of Don Bosco, by the youth leaders, can be found on walls throughout the camp.
It is encouraging to see such respect and it emphasises just how much pleasure camps can afford us all. Many of the Youth Leaders of today first attended the camp as disadvantaged youth. It is worth looking at some of the inspirational YouTube footage of how passionate some of these leaders are today; Check them out here and here- very inspirational (The staff at the ACA can’t stop humming the tune now that I’ve played it a few times.). You will be sure to pick up some ideas for your own websites.
Back in 1945 when the camp first started it was a relatively isolated coastal bush camp. Over the many decades since, the immediate area, is now swollen with weekenders residences as is the majority of the Mornington Peninsula, but fortunately the camp remains relatively hidden from this incursion.
Last month I made mention in the camp visit report about Urban Camp Melbourne and its ties to WW2 with the American troops stationed in Australia at Royal Park. The US soldiers had built sleeping quarters and mess halls and only Anzac Hall remains. It did make me wonder at the time, what had happened to the buildings that housed the soldiers. Well, low and behold, Don Bosco Camp has them and have been using them since 1945 for the same purpose as they were originally built. Except for John Rossato’s office which was the old movie projector room. They look great and in some of the YouTube footage you can see them. Stepping inside these buildings tied in nicely with the history of the Urban Camp visit.
Don Bosco Camp now also has a number of purpose built modern bunk houses and a dinning hall which all face a central recreation field. Indoor activities such as table tennis, soccer tables, billiards, movie hall are located in the old army buildings. The focus of the camp is certainly on youth participation and it is worth visiting the camp to look at the fish mural in the dinning room as well as the historical photos of life at the camp.