Report on OLT Orientation Workshop
The Oceania Leadership Team held an orientation for the new members from 6 to 10 February at Ingleside Scout Camp and the Oceania Peace Embassy. The workshop was organised by coordinator Natascha Schellen, with the support of recent graduates Kenmei Kobayashi and Kotoe Nakamura. A total of five new members attended: Roberto Bellabarba, Nathalia Haider, Akimoto Hosokawa, Erika Imanari and Abby Richardson.
On Friday, 6 February, after picking up the last member from the airport, the OLT members and staff drove to Ingleside to kick off the orientation workshop. They spent two days there as a group in order to get to know each other a bit and also hear a basic introduction to the OLT program and fundraising. Meals were organised by Kotoe, who received help from the new members in preparing them. They also took advantage of the outdoor space to play sports and ice breakers as well as have their first experience of walking in the Australian bush, which left them with some memorable leech-y impressions. The OLT left Ingleside on Saturday evening after cleaning up, with the intention of joining Sunday service the next day. Moreover, Kotoe had an early morning flight to catch back to Japan.
On Sunday the new members had a golden opportunity to meet and socialise with the local Sydney community since we had an informal service at Bicentennial Park that included a barbecue and games. After briefly introducing themselves to the congregation, they enjoyed a delicious lunch of Korean pork belly, steak, lamb chops and Aussie sausages. All the young people went to the fountains nearby to run through the water and splash away the hot sun, and later played some volleyball and even a board game. By the time OLT came back to the peace embassy, it was already close to dinner time.
The last two days of the workshop involved lectures and talks given by guest speakers; it was wonderful to see how eager the local 2nd generation were to come and share their experiences and give advice to the OLT members. The decision to include some testimonies in the schedule was based on the feedback from the previous team, who felt that it would be beneficial.
On 9 February, OLT did some sports in the morning together with Kenmei, and in the afternoon they heard a lecture from the national leader and OLT director, Rev Lim, who gave them an introduction to Australia and the Australian church community. They also met Keileigh Daly, an OLT alumnus who will be helping the program as support staff. The rest of the afternoon was spent in learning about the external things related to fundraising, such as the products, the accounting sheets, and their fundraising line. The first round of testimonies was held that evening after dinner. Monica and Cally Ledesma and Will Saver shared their respective experiences of their time on OLT and STF. They talked about the things they learned while being on a program and also gave advice that they would have wanted to hear when they started their journey. There were also plenty of funny stories to go around.
The following day, Continental Director Rev Kwun introduced himself to the OLT members and talked about his background and experiences as an older 2nd gen leader. He encouraged them to speak openly and come to him any time if they have concerns.
In the afternoon, Rev Stone, secretary-general of UPF Oceania, gave a presentation about the Oceania region and talked about the island nations and their role in God’s providence.
The final part of the workshop was that evening after dinner, when Yasu Park, Rachel Ledesma and Joseph Croguennec offered testimonies about fundraising. One of the key points they mentioned is the importance of motivation and setting personal goals for fundraising in order to make it a meaningful experience. The OLT members used the chance to ask questions and also to chat with these local BCs.
At the end of the evening, everyone gathered for a group photo and thus the workshop ended, with the OLT ready to start fundraising the next day. All in all it was a successful workshop that involved the local members and a good start to the OLT year.