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An Exciting Week of Fun and Formation
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Get a glimpse into a Conquest summer camp in day-by-day blog from Camp Texas

Eucharistic Adoration at Camp Texas
Eucharistic Adoration at Conquest Camp Texas



Following are excerpts from the daily blog of the Texas Conquest’s camp, Camp Texas, which took place on June 16-22, 2014. To read all the camp blogs, go to http://texasconquestblog.blogspot.com/.

Day 1

Today is the first day of Conquest Camp Texas, the beginning of an exciting week of fun and formation while preparing souls for the Kingdom of God.  The counselors arrived to Camp Cho-Yeh, which is the Alabama-Coushatta Native American word for land of tall pines, and were greeted with a welcomed afternoon shower to help cool the day.  After the counselors set up the facilities, the campers began arriving at 5 pm.  After being dropped off, checked in and reminded to drink plenty of water, the campers had free play — which consisted of their choice of playing or participating in Ga-ga Ball, Soccer, Volleyball, Carpetball or Ninja.

At our first gathering, the campers were introduced to their team, team leader, given a rundown of the rules and regulations via humorous skits as performed by the counselors, and introduced to this year’s theme -- Lone Survivor -- inspired by the courage and virtue as demonstrated in the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, which gives an eyewitness recount of the lost heroes
Around the campfire at Camp Texas
of Seal Team 10 and during Operation Redwing.

Later on in the evening, the teams chose names, came up with a team chant or cheer, and made a team flag with a coat of arms. The campers had a blast deliberating and debating over what to call their team and what to put on their flag. The camp dads had the responsibility of judging the flags and team cheers, based upon the creativity, unity of cheer, and awesomeness.  The overall winner of the team flag and cheer competition was the “Soldiers of the Trinity” (S.O.T.).

The evening activity for the night was Wolf, which is an ongoing favorite for Conquest camps.  The counselors each adopted their own wolf call and dashed out into the grounds of Camp Cho-Yeh while the campers learned the rules.  Wolf is essentially a variation to the old camp classic Counselor Hunt.  The counselors hide, and the campers hunt and find them, and points are awarded for each counselor (wolf) captured.

The rest of the evening ran smooth and ended with night prayer and benediction before hitting the bunks.  Tomorrow is a full day, and we can’t wait for it to start!

Day 2

Greeting from the land of the pines!  The day started off great.  A handful of dedicated anglers arose early and tried their skills in Lake Evelyn.  Their catch and release haul consisted of three catfish and a perch.  The remainder of camp was called to rise by the rousing and energetic emcee, Adrian, singing “Rise and Shine” through the camp microphone as he ran down the halls.

As a whole, morning activities went without a hitch.  Fr. Sullivan, in his homily this morning, referred to Christ as a Lone Survivor as demonstrated through every moment of His life and exemplified through His Passion and death.  He then challenged
In the mud at Camp Texas
the camp to emulate those virtues Christ demonstrated.

The scheduled activities of the day consisted of shooting rifles, tomahawk throwing, rock climbing, dodge ball, and swimming.  During lunch the annual push up contest took place... In the post push-up conference, (winner) Br. Jared only had one thing to say, “Victory.”

Following lunch the campers were treated to a series of formation talks based around a number of themes of prayer, answering God’s call, and living God’s call.

Before dinner, the campers were treated to time in the adoration chapel and/or playing board games: most took advantage of both.  Many campers experienced the joy and camaraderie of playing board games, and simply enjoying the fun that comes with play.   After dinner and board games, the evening night activity was the “Mega-Ultimate-Neon-Dance-Jam” party.  After getting dressed in their brightest neon, the campers discovered that the dance hall fell to a biological attack that turned the counselors into zombies.  Their new objective was to find a way to defend against those “infected” and hold off until a cure could be located and administered.

After saving the camp and curing all the zombies, then came night prayer. The campers and counselors retired to their cabins for processing the day’s activities and sharing with each other their highs and lows of the day.

Day 3

Today was the third day of Camp Texas.  Though it was hump day to the rest of the world, it wasn’t here.  We are still climbing the mountain and praying we don’t reach the hump anytime soon.

The morning activity was Camp Olympics, and it went down on the Cho-Yeh field. There, the camp rotated through soccer, steal-the-bacon and dodge ball, and each team earned points for each win.  Later, the campers changed into their swim gear and trekked down to the lake for a swim. They had
Enjoying the mud at Camp Texas
a blast playing on the “blob,” taking turns launching each other into the air before splashing down into the water.  Also on the lake was a 40-foot tarp water slide, a climbing wall that was suspended over the water, an inflated pyramid that swimmers could hop inside or climb over, and the ever-favorite zip line.

The day’s formation theme was “Training.” They watched a short clip from a documentary on the rigors and formation it takes to become a Navy Seal. The camp was then challenged to embrace the necessary training it will take to become “Saints for the Kingdom of God, and to train more intently for the Kingdom than the Navy Seals do.  Two counselors provided reflections and formation talks.  The first talk was on reconciliation and the importance of making a good confession.  The other topic was discernment, and its main focus was docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit’s call and how following the promptings of the Spirit leads to one’s vocation. Even though God sometimes leads us places we don’t want to go, this is the place where God wants us to be -- an important theme for students considering where to attend college in the coming years.
We got caught in an afternoon shower on our way to the Cho Dome for some organized sports.  Fortunately, none of us are made of sugar, so we didn’t melt.  Besides, what is rain but liquid sunshine? While at the Cho Dome, we played basketball, half court soccer, and jumped on the bouncing pillow, which Fr. Sullivan has taken to calling the “bouncy bounce.”

After dinner, Fr. Sullivan offered a prayer workshop that consisted of a holy hour and guided meditation for whoever was interested.  The workshop closed with benediction and a guided meditation.  Some of the campers at the prayer workshop shop had the following to say about their experience:

• “I didn’t want to stop praying.”
• “I have never had an experience like this.”
• “This was the deepest prayer experience I have ever had.”
• “I didn’t even realize we had been praying for an hour.
• “My heart and mind was full of the passion of Christ.”

Those who did not participate in the prayer workshop went on a hike through the surrounding woods.  While on the hike, campers were treated to tall tales.  One group even ran across a confederate graveyard.

Tonight’s evening activity was nighttime capture the flag. 
Enjoying the water at Camp Texas
Then after night prayer, everyone was given the option of sleeping out under the stars.  We are hoping the weather stays good.
We are just warming up.

Day 4

We gave everyone an extra hour of sleep, and it looked like that was well received by the campers who looked refreshed, energized, and raring to go conquer the day.  We adjusted the schedule a little to accommodate the extra rest, but no amount of formation or fun was sacrificed.
The day was jam packed from morning until after sunset.  At breakfast, we all got the run down and theme for the day, which was Endurance.  After being dismissed from breakfast, the older guys ran off to the Messy Wars and the Muddy Obstacle Course.  Exactly how messy and muddy did the guys get?  Well, let’s just say that only thing not covered in mud was the campers’ eyeballs.

The younger crew went to practice their shooting skills as they took aim at one another on the paintball course.

Bible Bob made a special appearance on the grounds today.  He looks, talks, and walks just like Fr. Michael Sullivan, but don’t be fooled by his appearance -- he isn’t.  Bible Bob was sent to shake up the campers and test their knowledge of the Bible and basic Catholic Apologetics.  Some of the topics discussed were the Eucharist (as in John 6), tradition (as in Matthew 15), and Biblical inspiration (as in 2 Timothy 3:16). The campers were engaged and interested.
After lunch, the camp made its way to the Cho Yeh land lease, which is a huge open field, and played some world cup soccer.  This was followed by a formation talk on Christian militancy, where the Christian and the Soldier must have a similar mindset if they hope to be successful in battle.  Post talk,
Fun in the pool at Camp  Texas
the pool was opened and we swam, floated and dove until Br. Drew made an appearance with some cool, sweet watermelon and dinner.

One of our schedule shifts was moving Mass to the evening.  This was a good decision because it allowed us to slide right into Adoration of the Holy Eucharist and a holy hour for those who wanted to attend.  During the Mass homily, Father made a memorable statement about prayer: “Until you are convinced prayer is the best way to spend your time, you will never find time to pray.”
When the holy hour was finished, the campers were treated to a campfire and smores before hitting the hay.

Day 5

Hello again! Today we woke up to Adrian walking up and down the halls making sure all campers were awake, projecting through his loud speaker, “Good morning Camp Texas, its Friday, Friday….”

When the crew and their fellow counselors had finally woken up, we all headed to morning prayers and Mass and a great homily by Fr. Daren explaining the importance and the meaning behind “Thanks be to God.”

After breakfast, we discovered Fr. Michael Sullivan had been “kidnapped.” After a scavenger hunt, the campers found him bound “underneath” the chapel.  Mission success!

The fun didn’t stop with a priest-napping!  We all hurried to enjoy refreshing watermelon by the lake before the campers rushed into the water to enjoy a reprieve from the heat.

Even though it was only 1 pm, we had already done a ton! The guys enjoyed some restful cabin time before the older campers had formation time with counselors Chad and Titus.

In the meantime, the younger campers met with Fr. Sullivan. They submitted their own thought-provoking questions like: “Why did the Lord make me when He could have made anyone else?” and “Will mortal and venial sins follow you to heaven?”

After “Stump the Priest,” we all headed over to the woods to play a game of capture the flag. This was followed by dinner and then time for adoration. Fr. Michael led everyone there through an in-depth meditation. Then back to the mess hall for playing board games and “chillaxing.”
When everyone was done resting and praying, we played a game of all trying to tag each other called “Border Wars.” The game ended with almost everyone joining the black-striped team.
After everyone was exhausted, the older campers headed for their their last activity.  In the mean time the younger ones headed for the mess hall to play some card games and then hit the hay.

Last Day

This morning as Adrian roused the boys, we were all very excited for another full day of faith and fun. As the kids made their way to morning Mass, some gradually shook off the yawns to experience the amazing graces present in the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist.

While this was the final full day at camp, the kids seemed to dive deeper with every formation and talk. Each speaker seemed to feed the fire within each of the boys’ souls
The Camp Texas gang
to give it their all to become modern day saints.  We also had activities like paintball and MESSY wars. Many of the older boys arrived back to the cabins with war stories for the ages! The younger boys came back with few clean spots left on their clothes and huge smiles on their faces.

One of the highlights of the day was once again the lake with all of its slides, inflatables and lifeguard whistles. The kids ziplined, blobbed and had a great time. A few used the slide to test out new methods of sliding which resulted in a tidal wave splashs, drenching the lifeguard on duty. From here everyone proceeded back to the dining hall for a meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup while we watched special training videos.

We had another formation time after lunch. The boys came out awed and inspired, and Father confided in me that he felt it was one of his best talks ever. The younger boys met with Br. Jared for a quick talk and some soccer behind the chapel.

Even after this packed day we still weren’t done! The boys came together for a moving meditation during adoration while many received the sacrament of confession.

Another highlight and camper favorite is CASINO TOWN! After playing cards and carpetball, the teams headed back to their cabins for winners circle and a well-deserved nights rest!

To all parents the staff here at Camp Texas, including our religious and counselors, we would like to thank you for the blessing of helping lead your young men to Christ. Seeing them all grow in and share their faith has inspired us all! Thank you so much, and we look forward to seeing you all soon!


PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-08-15


 
 


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