Why Have Orthodox Summer Camp?
An Article by a Participant:
St. Peter the Aleut Summer Camp
(Monday, June 16th through Friday, June 20th, 2003)
Recently, my family went to the St. Peter the Aleut Orthodox Summer camp which was held in the Hill Country, Northwest of San Antonio, in South-Central Texas. It was the first time we had attended this camp, but we and all of the other youth and staff had a wonderful time. There was a nice balance of prayer, classes, fellowship and fun. It is always a blessing when one is able to attend Matins and Vespers on a regular basis. Also, every time we blessed our food in the large dinning hall at the ranch, we were able to witness to Christs truth. Our group was only one of several groups that used this space at the Mo (Presbyterian) Ranch. Quiet often, someone would ask questions of one of the three Clergy who helped with the camp. One person said that he just had to ask who we were, because we werent like any other Presbyterians he had ever met!
While at camp, we did a good amount of swimming in the Guadelupe River. One evening, we played a game of Volleyball. We had a bon fire, and made somemores. We learned about the lives of some Orthodox saints through a special scavenger hunt. One afternoon, we had a "newspaper fashion show" competition. There was both a girls and a boys team. Each team had to come up with a "theme" and make the costumes for that subject out of only newspaper and tape. It was pretty funny! The older group did a "high ropes challenge course" and the younger group did the "low ropes challenge course." When we got home, my mom teased us about being "young Orthodox stylites in training." We also had a "talent show" the last evening of camp, and got to highlight several "spoof" skits on "Lord of the Rings" themes, as well as sharing musical talent. The talent show ended with some of us singing an ensemble performance of, "O Gladsome Light."The spiritual focus for this year was, "Know Christ, Grow in Christ and Go in Christ."
At the end of camp, the counselors awarded each child a certificate highlighting something special that he or she had done during camp. The counselors had a fun time siting together in their "closed door meting" which was held Outside, to decide the name of each award.
One of the best parts of this camp was the chance to meet other Orthodox Christian youth from various parts of Texas. It is especially good to have this opportunity for fellowship since most of our Parishes are small and so spread out. We are very thankful for any opportunity we might have to get together with other Orthodox youth, especially since we have so few young people at our home Parish of St. Georges.
Everyone who came from Pharr is looking forward to going back to St. Peter the Aleut Summer camp next year. There are also others who are now inspired to come. This Orthodox Summer Camp is an excellent way for the youth of our Church and Diocese to meet one another, to pray and to learn more about our precious faith. Children are the future of the Church. Let us therefore do everything possible to cultivate and instruct them, so that we may take up our cross and follow Christ. May this camp continue to bring the youth of our Church together for many years to come! Hope to see you there next year!
To see pictures of camp go to www.st-george-pharr-tx.org/ and on the left-hand side, click on "Parish Life" then click on "St. Peter the Aleut Camp."
By Analucia Perdomo, Participant (then age 16)