Young leaders make up for lost time as summer camps resume – BC Catholic
The distant praise and worship is over, the loud, concert-like singing and dancing is on. Catholic summer camp organizers are feeling a sense of renewal as activities return to something more like a pre-pandemic period.
The Archdiocese of Vancouver’s homecoming retreat for grades 8-9, held July 4-7 at Camp Jubilee on Vancouver Island, was among the first of many camps and retreats scheduled for Christian children and teens this summer. After canceling summer camp in 2021 outright due to COVID-19 restrictions, Archdiocesan Youth Coordinator Faye McCreedy was thrilled to have camp back in full swing.
“We’re so excited to be able to do it again,” McCreedy said. “These camps generate so much passion. The kids have come over the years and have so much fun that they decide they want to become camp coordinators when they get older to get the experience again. And it’s great to see how these older teens and young adults are so excited to share their faith with attendees.
Group meals, sports, small group discussions, presentations, mass and music are just some of the elements of the reunion retreat itinerary.
McCreedy said coordinators are aware that young people have had many formative social experiences taken away from them due to school closures.
“During this time of COVID, it has been so difficult for young people to connect with each other. In discussions with teachers and other youth coordinators, we have come to the conclusion that these children do not know how to interact face to face with each other. This camp will really help to build those relationships, we hope, and how to deal with each other and how to openly share their faith so they don’t have to be afraid to be Catholic.
The Ignite Camps in Alberta and Saskatchewan, run by Face2Face Ministries, will be the premier workplace Catholic summer retreat in the Prairie Provinces. Like Homecoming, Ignite offers a mix of guided lectures, small group discussions, outdoor entertainment, and the opportunity to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Adoration.
Ontario, particularly in the Archdiocese of Toronto, will be defined by the Totus Tuus Catholic summer camps.
Eamonn Doyle, Associate Director of Programs, Technology and Communications for the Catholic Youth Bureau of the Archdiocese of Toronto, said, “Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children during the Totus Tuus summer camp as they learn more about their faith through skits, songs, and the teachings of passionate young adult missionaries is quite a sight.
Like McCreedy, Doyle said he was proud of Totus Tuus’ self-governing legacy.
“Children who attend the camps in the parishes and those who volunteer in the camp as teenagers often go on to post-secondary education and end up applying to become Totus Tuus missionaries for a summer or two,” he said. . “Sometimes these missionaries discern a call to the priesthood or to religious life as a sister.”
Click here to send a letter to the editor.