Don Bosco Camp and Centre

Who we are, where we come from

About the Don Bosco Camp and Centre

About Don Bosco Camp

Don Bosco Camp’s mission is, and always has been, to provide holiday camps for poor and disadvantaged young people. Being a not-for-profit organisation, the camp hires the site out during the school term in order to finance the holiday camps for young people who would otherwise go without.

Established in 1945 as a summer holiday camp for poor young boys, the camp has grown over its 70 years to include a wide range of clients including schools, youth groups, sporting and community organisations. The inclusion of additional clientele has allowed the camp’s mission work to expand to include additional programs such as winter camps, leadership programs and Asylum Seeker holiday programs.


History of the Don Bosco Camp

First Camp

The Don Bosco Camp was established in 1945 by the Salesians of Don Bosco, a Catholic religious order founded by an Italian priest, John Bosco during the 1800s. Fun fact: ‘Don’ is the Italian word used for father and so, this is how he has come to be known worldwide!

Don Bosco firmly believed that education was a matter of the heart; that it is not enough for the young to be loved; they must know that they are loved.

It is this tradition that commits the Don Bosco Camp and Centre to supporting young people, especially the poor and disadvantaged, by offering recreational, educational and retreat experiences in short term group settings.

The Salesians of Don Bosco continue to operate worldwide with more than 20,000 members involved in over 2700 various works. It is the third largest missionary organization in the world. For more information on the Salesians of Don Bosco, please visit their Australia website: www.salesians.org.au


Child Safe Organisation

Don Bosco Camp and Centre is committed to protecting the safety of all people within its programs, ministries and events.

All people have the right to be respected and valued as well as feel emotionally, physically and spiritually safe at all times. All people, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, disability and family or social background have equal rights to this protection.

Don Bosco Camp and Centre policies have been developed to uphold this commitment to safeguarding and to adhere to National and State legislation. Please see below for a copy of Don Bosco Camp’s child safe policies and code of conduct.

If you have any questions, comments or complaints in regards to Child Safety at Don Bosco Camp, please contact the Camp Manager on 03 5987 2969, or complete an online form on our  contact page

Alternatively, if you are unable or it is inappropriate, to contact the Camp Manager, please contact the Salesian Safeguarding Officer on 03 9377 6000.


Accreditation

Don Bosco Camp is proud to be accredited by the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP).

ATAP is a national accreditation program designed to ensure that all their tourism operators are committed to exceeding your expectations with great customer service and the highest standard of business practice.

All ATAP accredited businesses ensure:

  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Accuracy in advertising
  • Environmental Practices
  • Adherence to a Code of Ethics

To find out more about the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program visit their website: www.atap.net.au


ACA LOGO

Don Bosco Camp is also a proud member of the Australian Camps Association (ACA). Being an ACA member ensures our camp is up to date with the latest information on all camping and outdoor standards and regulations.

To find out more about the Australian Camp Association visit their website: www.auscamps.asn.au


Who is Don Bosco?

St John Bosco

John Bosco was born on 16 August 1815 in a farmhouse near a small village east of Turin in northern Italy. His father died when he was only a child and he felt this very deeply, making him want to care for young people who struggled with similar circumstances in their lives. His mother, Margaret, was a wonderful woman whose own faith made a deep impression on him.

When he was only nine years old, he had a dream that was prophetic. In the dream, he was with a lot of children who were playing. As time went on, the playing got more and more out of hand, until the children were pushing, shoving swearing and cursing at each other. John didn’t like this and tried to stop them by throwing himself into the game with fists swinging and swearing and cursing over the din to try and force the fight to come to an end.

But a man appeared to him who said: “Don’t hit them, you will only be able to win them over with kindness and love. I will give you a teacher who will help you to become really wise.” He only realized in his late life how important the dream was; the man was Jesus and the teacher were Mary.

The young John was agile and a natural performer, he learnt how acrobatics, magic tricks, juggling and singing. When noticed that these skills attracted other young people to him and one day he commented to his mother “When they are with me, they don’t curse”.

The experience of the led him to becoming a priest so he could dedicate himself entirely to helping young people keeping them safe and teaching them the love of God. He used to work all day to earn his keep and would spend his nights studying what he needed to learn to be able to enter the seminary to become a priest. Finally, when he was 20, he begun his tuition and was ordained as a priest in Turin in 1841, at the age of 26.

At the time, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and Turin was full of poor young people who had either been orphaned or abandoned. Desperate for work, they were exposed to all sorts of dangers and exploitations. Don Bosco gathered them together on Sundays, sometimes in a Church, in vacant lots, or even in open public spaces where they could play and where he could teach them about their faith. The boys became fiercely loyal to Don Bosco, for many of them, he was the first to have ever shown any concern for them.

Wishing to provide the same sorts of opportunities to girls, he worked alongside Saint Maria Mazzarello to found the Salesian Sisters [The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.] In his ‘free’ time, which he often snatched from his sleep, he wrote and popularised simple booklets on the Christian faith for the edification of ordinary people.

He was convinced that everyone could be holy and constantly challenged his boys to love God and to accept responsibility for their own development as Christians and as good members of society.

His famous quotes: “It is enough for me that you are young for me to love you” and “You will find writers far more talented than me, but, you will never find anyone who loves you and wants your true happiness more than I do“ make clear his commitment to nurturing the fragile spirits of young people. Everyone he met felt as if they were especially loved by him.

Exhausted finally by his tireless work, he fell seriously ill. As he lay dying, many of his boys offered their own life to God in exchange for his. He died on 31 January, 1888, at the age of 72. On Easter Sunday, 1 April 1934, Pope Pius XI, who had had the good fortune to know him personally, proclaimed him a Saint.

Our Team

Everyone on the Don Bosco Team enjoys working with young people and having fun!

  • Paul Poutney

    Paul Poutney

    Director
  • Dom Stephens

    Dom Stephens

    Operations Manager
  • Suzie Burns

    Suzie Burns

    Kitchen Manager
  • Lia Stanley-Poutney

    Lia Stanley-Poutney

    Office Manager
  • Mika McCarthy

    Camp Assistant
  • Ivan Oyarce

    Camp Assistant