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Faith and fun at Canadian summer camps

Backpacking
Backpacking at Lion’s Head by Georgian Bay.



by Br. Nathan Wayne LC

ECYD Mission Corps

Most would say that priests and parents handle the faith training of younger boys. But this past summer, a team of high school-aged young men took on this challenge as they entered the ECyD Mission Corps program. Dressing up as Indians, giving virtue-based talks, putting on fun sports activities, cleaning bathrooms, having fun with the campers and leading by example where all part of their job description.

Coming from France, Mexico, Spain, Toronto, and Oakville, the Mission Corps team led two week-long summer camps under the guidance of Br. Nathan Wayne, LC and Fr Thomas Murphy, LC.

God was essential to their success as they daily prayed morning and night prayers, went to Mass, and prayed the rosary. They attended the ECyD Mission Leader Convention and ran Camp Caribou and the Catholic Sports Day Camp all in just one month.  During a week between camps, they relaxed with some backpacking at Lion’s Head by Georgian Bay.

And they also left a lasting example on the boys that they led.

ECyD
ECyD young men in Canada
ECyD young men clad in royal blue t-shirts overrun streets of Montreal.
Mission Leader Convention in Cornwall, Ontario

 
Braving the streets of Montreal, the young men dressed in royal blue t-shirts with a graphic cross on the back surprised many people last July 2013.

“It is an uncommon site for most people and especially a Quebecer to see a group of guys asking people about the meaning of life, love, and Christ,” said Br. Nathan Wayne, LC. “Even more shocking was that they were having fun doing it. They danced with families, cracked jokes with elderly people who were enjoying the summer sun on a park bench, and snapped photos with the local police and RCMP officers. One group even invited a crowd of McDonald’s customers to come back to Church by means of a security camera.”

Eighteen young men attended the 2013 ECyD Mission Leader Convention in Cornwall, Ontario.  With Br. Nathan and Fr. Thomas Murphy, LC as chaplains, the group played paintball, went cliff jumping at Charleston Lake, swam in the St. Lawrence River, evangelized on the streets of Montreal, and attended talks on Theology of the Body, prayer, faith, and had open forum discussions.

They camp was a great success and many are looking forward to next year’s
ECyD Camp Caribou
Mentoring young men at Camp Caribou, in the footsteps of the North American missionary martyrs.
camp.
Parents of the boys who attended the camp said they appreciated the “spiritual content of the camp.”

“This is one of the best camps that I have been to that focuses on your religious and spiritual life,” said Victor Palczewski.  “You can just be yourself and look at your life in a deeper perspective.”

Alexandra Gonzalez’s son Sebastian told her, "This week at Camp Caribou changed me, mom…Jesus touched my heart and I am now more connected to you.”  She said he is praying, reading Scripture because it is “a really cool book” and sharing what he reads with his mom.

“I sent a boy and received back a beautiful and profound young man!” said Alexandra.

Camp Caribou in Cornwall, Ontario

More than 300 years ago St. Isaac Jogues and the first Jesuit missionaries came to Canada to bring the native people to Christ. The North American wilderness was a harsh environment and the people they met resisted learning about the faith because of possible alienation from their neighbors.

This year, 25 boys entered this story. Camping on the side of the St. Lawrence River, these boys walked along the banks of the very river were Jogues was captured.

On opening night of Camp Caribou, five counselors reenacted the capture of Jogues. Covered in face paint and armed with sticks, they showed how Jogues bravely showed himself to the armed Indians, rising from his hiding place in the reeds. The boys spent the rest of the week learning the story of Jacques martyrdom while they competed for the saint survivor prize in fishing, archery, and faith competitions.  They also rode in go-karts and paddled canoes near Mount Temblant.

Catholic Sports Day Camp in
Catholic Sports Day Cam
Getting competitive at the Catholic Sports Day Camp.
Oakville, Ontario

Imagine experiencing the World Cup Soccer Finals, Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Hockey Finals, and Game 7 of the MLB World Series all on the same week.

This was the atmosphere of the Catholic Sports Day, hosted for the first time at St. Vincent’s Catholic Elementary School in Oakville, Ontario.  Twenty five boys attended the camp for a week.  And it was much more than just a week of drills and training with some fun on the side. The boys attended daily Mass with their families under the trees behind the school.  Each day they prayed the rosary as a team and had a virtue video to start off the day.  They learned to have fun and at the same time to listen to and become friends with God.

One camper commented he would have liked to stay longer because he enjoyed his
Catholic Sports Day Camp activities
experience so much.

  






PUBLICATION DATE: 2013-10-11


 
 


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