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Lithuania – “Don Bosko Vasara 2020”: a fire lit in the hearts of Lithuanian children and animators

16 September 2020

(ANS - Telsiai) - “The mission, first of all, teaches you something: what Lithuania has taught us is the value of Mercy”. Thus began the volunteers who during the summer managed to live a missionary volunteer experience of about three weeks in Lithuania, in Telsiai.

After the first two days, spent in the capital (Vilnius) to learn about the history of the Lithuanian people, the group headed for their final destination, Telsiai, a town built on the shores of Lake Mastis, in the Samogitian region, where there is a Salesian community: it is there that the experience of the Youth Summer Camp took place with the name “Don Bosko Vasara 2020” (Don Bosco Summer 2020).

In the mornings of the first week of their stay, the Italian volunteers interacted with the young local animators, and all together they deepened the fundamental teachings of Salesian animation, starting with the central stages and meetings of Don Bosco's life. In the afternoon, the true and proper "Don Bosko Vasara 2020" activities took place at the "Vincento Borisevicius" school. At the beginning of the week, the children and young people enrolled were already 45, but doubled by the end of the experience. "Not a bad number for a first experience ... in these times of Covid-19!" commented one of the volunteers.

The program of activities included: welcome, games, prayer and dance of the hymn of the Youth Summer Camp, workshops for age groups, snacks and games divided into teams, to conclude the day with songs and prayer. Only for the animators, then, there was a small supplement of activities, for a quick sharing on the day.

From the second week, the children, welcomed in the morning, saw the formula of the day remaining the same, but with more time for games plus, through short performances and activities, the addition of a "formative pill" on Don Bosco.

At the end of the experience, it was possible to observe how the animators immediately challenged themselves, got involved, starting a beautiful journey of growth with Don Bosco; and that the children, after the first days of acquaintance, opened up with smiles, laughter, jokes, the desire to play, be together and have fun.

In conclusion, the volunteers who'd left from Italy testified: "At the end of the third week we were able to really say that we had hit the target proposed to the kids: 'For us, holiness consists in being joyful'. This is why we returned to Italy with a special conviction: Don Bosco's language is universal. A game, a smile, a little attention is enough to speak the same language, the language of the heart, and it is immediately like feeling at home! During these days a fire has been lit in the hearts of children and animators; now it's a question of safeguarding and feeding this fire and these hearts!"

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