How do young adults make a difference in the world? We learn to live well in it. Plunge is a gap-year program, for 18–23 year olds, and new for 2016 is the Plunge Diploma of Christian Studies available with Fee-Help.
In 2015, the Plunge gap-year program is seeing a group of thoughtful 18–23 year olds become people who are making a difference in their spheres of influence. At Plunge, we believe that community transformation includes spiritual transformation. Change starts within a person and the fruits of change are seen in practical love, peace, justice and restoration. Through Plunge, young adults are learning to dive deeper in their life and faith. Two students who completed Plunge last year, Shannon and TJ, have shared how Plunge has changed them and how they are now changing the world.
Shannon finished school in 2013. She knew that eventually she wanted to study at university, but decided to do Plunge in order to be better prepared for tertiary studies. At first, she found our Community Engagement Days challenging and confronting. Who isn’t a little nervous about spending a night sleeping rough with the homeless in inner-city Sydney? Who isn’t a little worried about travelling to Canberra to meet our nation’s leaders and talk directly with them about increasing the Australian Aid Budget and speaking out against global tax corruption? Shannon didn’t let her feelings of discomfort prevent her from plunging into these community engagement experiences. What impacted Shannon the most was visiting Juvenile Justice Centres. Shannon was able to make a difference by listening to the girls’ stories. She could see that the girls “craved to know more about God, to have answers, to see change”. Shannon has commenced university studies this year and continues to visit with teenagers in detention.
TJ teaches at a weekly youth group, called Go Fish, for Years 5 and 6 students from the local school. As part of a Plunge assignment, TJ developed a simulation game to raise awareness about how Australia is currently treating asylum seekers. When the students arrived, they were taken to an area marked out like a cage with chicken wire. They were told to stay there while leaders did a “background check” to determine whether they genuinely wanted to come to Go Fish. They were assigned numbers, which were to be their names while they waited in the “detention centre”. They were not told how long it would take before they would be let out! TJ then proceeded to let them out gradually to have afternoon tea. The students expressed feelings of frustration and confusion during the simulation. One boy said he would drop a pole from the cage into a neighbour’s yard unless he was let out. TJ explained to the boy that what he was doing was protesting, and asylum seekers do that too because of the way they are treated in detention centres.
Plunge students learn in the classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Through subjects such as Old Testament, New Testament, Theology, Mission, Ethics, and Personal and Leadership Development, students can work towards either a Certificate IV in Ministry or a Diploma of Christian Studies (and this Diploma may be placed on Fee-Help). Wednesdays are our Community Engagement Days. For many Plunge students, the highlight of the year is our three-week, cross-cultural experience overseas. In 2015 Plunge will travel to Cambodia and, in 2014, Plunge travelled to Northern Thailand, including visiting and partnering with cross-cultural workers in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Plunge students learned about the Buddhist faith in the Thai context and spent time talking with monks at a program called Monk Chat. They worked with local villagers through harvesting corn together. They ran English Camps for High School students. They spent the night in a tribal village and learned about the tribe’s culture and worldview.
Plunge is all about:
- Learning to live out dynamic faith, radical lifestyle, and adventurous mission as a part of a community of Christian young people.
- Focussing on biblical and spiritual engagement that stretches you, challenges you, and engages you.
- Experiencing life and ministry in Australia and crossculturally to show you the world and the ways you can impact our world for good.
- Developing personally and spiritually in a strong and supportive community. You’ll experience love and laughter while you learn.
- Engaging with community issues that count so that you can find a new passion.
Plunge equips you with the skills and behaviour that you need to navigate your life ahead with confidence and competence. Through our action–reflection model of learning, students learn to live the change. Be the change you want to see in the world.
For more information or to “Take the Plunge” in 2016, come along to our Open Night on Thursday 26 November 6:30–8:30pm and visit www.plungegapyear.com