Easter Youth Camp 2023
This year we had the ambitious plan to walk along the Portuguese Atlantic coast.
As every year, we invited 20 people we already knew from previous youth camps.
This year many young people who grew up here in Tamera and then left for their education were with us. It was a beautiful reunion of the last years’ different youth group constellations and a big joy to connect again and get to know each other anew.
Besides the physical challenge of walking for a week, we decided to retreat from usual distractions like drugs and smart phones. This challenge was received quite easily by most of the teenagers, and was seen as a huge gift in our reflection round.
We were 25 people in total with the plan to walk from Odeceixe down south to the Cabo de São Vicente, the most south-western point of Europe’s mainland. This route is about 80 km long and we planned to walk it in five days. We took the challenge to find beautiful spots on the way which would host us for the night and had a break at a friend’s place in Carrapateira for one day of rest. We also used it to come closer together socially through games, free time and sharing rounds.
On Sunday, April 2nd at noon we arrived in Odeceixe at a parking lot with a beautiful view onto the beach, being received by this seemingly endless ocean and its waves coming in. We did an initial prayer to welcome the group in this endeavour and invited nature and the land to guide and protect us on our way.
For this first day we had the pleasure of Sabine Lichtenfels, the co-founder of Tamera, walking with us. This felt very meaningful for the group, as she herself has led and walked several pilgrimages in different countries before. We could get a taste of her knowledge through her storytelling about those experiences being on the road and the time of finding and founding Tamera in Portugal back in the 90’s.
We also took the first day to walk with the question of our intention. Why and for what are we here? How can we make use of this time in the best way?
We always started walking in silence, taking time to innerly calm down, to start perceiving the world around us and eventually also the worlds within. Afterwards we took some time to walk in couples to exchange about what came up for each one. Other topics we walked with were the power of thought, community and trust building.
The coast is stunning – what a landscape! This special nature reserve of the Costa Vicentina with its flowering plants during this beautiful springtime. The warm sun, cold wind and breaking of turquoise waves on the rocks and beaches accompanied us all the way to the cape. We were really protected and held in beautiful places each day and night!
We had a rotating logistics and kitchen team that accompanied us by bus to prepare the spots and food for the hungry pilgrims who often only arrived at the resting places in the late afternoon.
What a gift it was to constantly be outside in nature, walking and leading a very simple life without much distraction. Many of the participants shared about their stress-level dropping a lot throughout the time.
Beautiful songs were being created and a lot of music and creativity was present while walking or around the fire at night.
We succeeded in creating a real community time and also had very moving spaces of sharing amongst each other in boys and girls rounds and sharing rounds with everybody around the fire. One could really feel how the teenagers could open up, come into contact again with themselves and each other. It was a time where everybody was contributing and taken care of by the group simultaneously.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this possible!