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Summer Camps in New Zealand and Australia

Challenge camp in Auckland
Challenge camp in Auckland

Eucharistic procession in Anglesea
Eucharistic procession in Anglesea
snowfalls have hit the West Coast and cold snaps have been devastating parts of Europe, but it’s summer in the southern hemisphere, and summer means Challenge and Conquest camps! Consecrated women Lisa Small and Rosemary Streckfuss were joined by Fr. Juan Guerra, LC for camps near Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia. Lisa lives and works in New Zealand and Rosemary in Australia, and Fr. Juan, who lives in Atlanta, will be coming once a year to both countries for summer camps.

The Auckland camp was held January 15-19 and was, in Lisa’s words, in the middle of the beautiful NZ bush. The girls participated in typical camp activities, such as “mini-Olympics” and a talent show, along with making their own rosaries and making a video for fellow Challenge members in the US. They also had adoration – a first experience for many – as well as daily Mass
Preparing for surfing in Anglesea
Preparing for surfing in Anglesea
and the opportunity to go to confession. At the end of the camp Fr. Juan said Mass for everyone from the boys’ and girls’ camps, followed by a presentation of videos of each one.

The day after ending the camp in Auckland, Lisa and Rosemary boarded a plane for Melbourne, on their way to a second camp in the beach town of Anglesea. Once again, the girls had daily Mass and adoration, and this time, surfing at the beautiful Anglesea beach! The camps ended with a combined Mass for the girls and boys, a presentation, and a barbeque to celebrate Australia Day. The blend of fun activities, friendships, and deep spiritual experiences led more than one camper to say that this was “the best week of my life!”

The camps
Mass at camp
Mass at camp
in both countries were the fruit of the combined efforts of Lisa, Rosemary, Fr. Juan, and many parents, RC members, and supporters who helped with everything from organization to cooking at the camps. The parents see the camps as an opportunity for their kids to receive formation in their faith while having fun.

"The girls didn´t just have fun,” said one of the team leaders in New Zealand; “the best part about this camp was that they were able to experience Christ in prayer and the sacraments, in a normal and experiential way."  A mom from the same camp said that “I’ve never seen my girls this happy before.”

"I was so impressed with how much the girls grew in confidence, their friendships with others, and how they overcame fears,” Lisa said. “Some girls conquered heights, while others conquered homesickness and friendship difficulties. But most of all, I was so moved at night when the girls had optional adoration after night prayers. Some stayed over an hour, speaking to Our Lord and writing him personal letters. Some told me they had never had such a powerful experience of God´s love and closeness to them. That makes all the work for the camp worth it."



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