Nansen Robb and Gina Price, West Australia Regional Meeting

We head for the scarp in the late afternoon, led by our three rambunctious young men, Atticus and Aaron Toyne and Nansen Robb, with two young boys hot on their heels. Th ere are a few kangaroos out for their evening graze. We adults consider just going to the tanks, but these thoughts are wasted as the older boys bound up the hill like agile wallabies, leaving the rest of us to trundle along in their wake. The little ones chatter as we follow animal tracks up the slope, pausing to identify the silhouettes of the older boys alongside the cross which adorns the ridgeline.

Nansen Robb writes that highlights of his time at Silver Wattle were:

  • A game made up by Aaron, Atticus and I where we line up the couch with a mattress behind it and a cushion in front of it. We then sprint up and jump on the cushion and over the couch onto the mattress and see who can do it the best. We would have turns jumping and judging who had the best run-up, jump, position in air and landing.
  • Sliding along a strip of polished wooden floor in the corridor near the kitchen. We would put on two to three layers of socks and then we would sprint along the carpet and slide across the whole room, and if we were daring we would put socks on our hands as well and go on all fours.
  • Climbing up a hill near the dorms. One day we decided that rather than going up the ridge line, we would go up the valley instead. We found a spring with the yummiest water in it.

‘After doing all this, it was time for a big hot chocolate, then we would start again. Unfortunately this rhythm was interrupted from time to time as we had to do chores as well. The funniest chore was when we got a massive pile of weeds and put them in a 44-gallon drum and burned them. Another chore was cooking dinner. When it was our turn we made soup, actually you could hardly call it soup as it was basically left over salads, stir fry, cauliflower cheese, hot water and tomato paste. It tasted surprisingly good. And when it was dark we played ‘Murder in the Dark’ with the younger boys, in the very dark upper room.’

Nansen’s mother, Gina Price, continues: ‘Our community comprised six boys aged two to thirteen, eight full-time plus four part-time adults. We all had to tune our own rhythms over the four days to that of the group and there were times of harmony and moments of discord. As the boys found their rhythm, so did we all and some wonderful qualities emerged. Our young men were observed to never be bored, to be always delightful and caring with the younger ones, full of zest for life, eager to run and jump, and eventually willing to join with us in discussion, worship and cooking. Our elders were patient, attentive to all, able to set boundaries on behaviour, and also able to be joyful, playful and eventually to be willing to join with the boys in skidding across the kitchen floor in their socks. Th rough these qualities we came together as a community and this was reflected in the quality of our worship which deepened over the days, and resulted in a particularly wonderful worship sharing with the older boys during epilogue on the final night.’

Gina and the three young men left Silver Wattle to join Lillian Robb and Molly (Aaron and Atticus’s Mum) and head for the snow at Charlotte’s Pass.

Gina writes: ‘We were all in terrific spirits as we headed up to the mountains with no wind, blue skies, and the best snow for 30 years. We felt very blessed and the time skiing and snowboarding was wonderful fun for all (even though Molly injured her shoulder on the second day and had to read and watch us from Pygmy Possum Lodge)’.

For Gina, the truly wonderful part is that Nansen talks about his ‘awesome holiday’ … and Silver Wattle is up there in the awesome category along with snowboarding. So to quote from Nansen, ‘All in all we had a great time at Silver Wattle, and I can assure you that you will too!’ Some

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