Olave Retreat 2023
A weekend of fun, friendship, and adventure

Written by Laura White
Member Management and Engagement
NSW, ACT & NT State Olave Program Committee

Olaves from as far north as Port Macquarie and as far south as Albury gathered together at the picturesque Random Cottage Guiding property in Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains from the 19th to 21st May 2023 for an adventurous weekend of fun and friendship.

Olaves slept both indoors and outdoors with a lovely frost to greet them on the first morning. Three brave Olaves ventured to Parkrun in Lithgow bright and early on Saturday morning despite the cold. Olaves were welcomed to a beautiful sunny day and started with a Guides’ Own overlooking the valley. As part of the Guides’ Own and throughout the weekend, Olaves reflected on past adventures that they were most grateful for and shared the different opportunities for future adventures they were looking forward to. One of the Olaves from the Greater Rivers Region skilled in martial arts ran a karate session for the group. A rotation of three activities included a photo scavenger hunt around the campsite, discussions about how to get involved in an upcoming service project to support Backpack Bed for Homeless and getting to know each other through our Retreat Bingo and putting together our envelopes for Warm & Fuzzies throughout the weekend.

On the Saturday afternoon Olaves divided into three groups of offsite activities based on their preferences. The adrenaline-seeking group headed to Fairmont Adventure Park to challenge themselves doing a high ropes course. Another group explored the serenity of Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens. The third group did some geocaching around the Katoomba area succeeding in finding a few caches. Retreat participants ended the day with the Guiding tradition of campfire. Unfortunately, it was much too windy outside to enjoy an outdoor campfire so instead Olaves sat around the indoor fireplace in the dining room with Newcastle Olaves running an excellent campfire program. At the end of the campfire, many Olaves chose to renew their Guide Promise together, reaffirming their commitment to the Guiding sisterhood.

Sunday morning brought keen, well rested Olaves together to give back in the form of service to the property. This included environmental management of the walking tracks, relocating firewood and creating small piles of sticks around the campsite to encourage lizards to move on in. Together, Olaves discovered new self-development opportunities in pursuing peak achievement awards, discussing with one another opportunities that arise when one makes the transition from a Youth member of Girl Guides to an Adult, Olave Program member. Retreat provided the chance for like-minded and driven young women of our organisation to come together and reach new heights in their lives. Participants were provided with a range of State-level advocacy, management and program related committees they may wish to partake in, in the near future. The Olave Program Committee look forward to seeing these strong young women take on new challenges with unwavering enthusiasm. 

Over meals, during and in between activities old friendships were reignited and new friendships formed. There were representatives from every region except for Southern Sydney Rivers and Northern Territory in attendance across the weekend. The weekend was not over until we said our farewells and promised to revisit beautiful Random Cottage, Mount Victoria, while storing our new Retreat and campsite badges to be sewn onto camp blankets as a reminder of the time we spent in the mountains together.

Overall, it was a great weekend of adventure with Olaves from near and far coming together as sisters in Guiding.


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