This week we welcomed 26 staff for orientation/training (pictured above) to staff CYO Camps and Camp Ozanam through the Camps Connect collaborative. What an amazing group of staff we will have this summer! Our theme for 2018 is “On Fire for Jesus,” and they are definitely on fire! We ask that you keep the staff, volunteers, and campers in your prayers this summer. Many of them will be working at both CYO Camps and Camp Ozanam as need arises, even with one camp designated as their "home base". Per camp traditions, CYO Camp staff do not usually have "camp names" and Camp Ozanam staff do.
And now, we would like to introduce you to each one of them!
Welcome to ALL the Camps Connect staff this summer! Parents, volunteers, and camp supporters, please partner with us in praying for our staff and campers this summer, that lives will be touched and set "On Fire for Jesus!"
SAVE THE DATE!
This year's camp Vincentian & alumni picnic will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2016.
Here are all the details! Invite friends and family to attend with you!
This amazing crew of over 100 volunteers spent the weekend with us preparing both camps for the summer. So much was accomplished in such a short period of time, it was very overwhelming! We are truly blessed by the many volunteers who continue to support the mission of the camping program. We can't thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication! THANK YOU!
New this year - SVdP Camp Work Days are April 30-May 1. Bring the family - all ages welcome as long as they can work! Join us for two days, a day, or a few hours! Overnight lodging and meals provided. We'd love to have your help sprucing up the camps so we can give the youth and families we serve a beautiful camp experience!
May 2, 1015
Thank you to everyone who came out to make the day a huge success. We are truly blessed with dedicated volunteers (new and returning). Lots of work was accomplished! Thanks for your continued support of both Camp Stapleton and Camp Ozanam. We wouldn't be here today without volunteers like yourselves!
The 2015 Work Day was Saturday, May 2nd, and spectacular weather drew a record turn-out of volunteers. The day started at Camp Stapleton where several ambitious teams tackled clean-up chores in all the cabins. Mattresses were wiped down, windows washed, and winter’s dust balls and cobwebs were swept away. Camp Stapleton alum Ruth Lehy Kessel returned to camp for the first time since working as a counselor in 1975 and 1978. Now a member of St. John Neumann Parish in Canton, Ruth and her husband Dan recently joined their SVdP Conference and decided to come up for Work Day, along with 2 other members from their SVdP Conference.
“This place brings back so many wonderful memories,” said Ruth.
At Camp Ozanam, one of the main projects was ripping the shingles off the Potowatami/Penobscot cabin. Relatives of Tuffy Denome, a long-time Vincentian from the 1960s and 70s have been volunteering at camp for nearly 20 years in his honor, and they usually choose a big project to work on together.
Work Day 2016 is scheduled for May 7, 2016.
Put it on your calendar and plan to join us!
ANNA BLACK MORIN, Camp Director of Pine Forest Camp in Greeley, PA recently received national attention when she wrote about the truths she's learned about being a fourth-generation camp director, new mom, and the incredible things that kids are learning at camp. Written with her wit and wisdom, by asking your camper a few leading questions you can discover how camp has given your child independence, resilience, and confidence.
Morin's article is a great resource for parents so much so that we want to share it with you. We also encourage you to ask your camper these leading questions, to discover just how powerfully they have changed with the light of Christ.
What's One thing you learned about God that you can apply at home?
When we meet Jesus, not only does He change our present, He changes our future.Sometimes life leaves us in confusion - head down, discouraged, and without hope. The pressures that kids face today can make the dreams of becoming something or someone great seem so distant. When you fan the flame of what your child has learned about God at camp you give them an encouraging reminder that they can shine!
What has God taught you about the truth of who you are?
Everyone loves a good story.
Gripping stories can launch us to the edge of our seat championing for the underdog to win the big game. Then, bring us to tears when injustice befalls the innocent. And then sigh with contentment when everything turns out alright in the end. God has a purpose for your child's story. In Mark 4:21-34, Jesus reminds us of the power He has given us in our personal story. It echoes the purpose for the light He has given us - to shine!
How can you let your light shine?
See the theme here? Asking your child how they can apply the theme of summer camp to their life at home reminds them of who they were at camp.... the courageous song leader, the supportive cabin-mate to a homesick friend, the star of the stage, the camper praised for helping others, or the camper who conquered their fears on the high ropes course. The identity that kids earn at camp gives them the opportunity to become the best, happiest, truest version of themselves as they rejoice in the reality of who God created them to be!
When we ask our kids about camp and how it has changed their life, we are sharing more than words - we’re sharing the most valuable gift, the Gospel!
As we mentioned before in our last post, staff orientation is just days away! Today our admin staff arrive at camp and put the finishing magical touches on all the great stuff happening this summer! We still have more summer staff to introduce...
Hi, I'm "Blossom"! I currently work at a preschool and I'm from Oxford, Michigan. I've worked at camp since 2011 and I'm excited to be a counselor at CYO Camps this summer!
I love working at camp. It's like my second home. I am really excited about meeting the new campers and staff and seeing who is returning to camp this summer.
Hi, I'm Trevor Harnden and I'm from Marlette, Michigan. I've been working at camp since 2012. This summer I will be a Team Leader at the CYO Camps.
I want to work at camp this summer to give kids of all ages, one of the best weeks of their lives., and give them an experience they will always remember. I also want to help kids, either grow their relationship with God, or even just learn more about God and the the word of the Bible. I also want to learn more about myself, and maybe find some new talents I never knew I had.
I'm really looking forward to being around nature and getting away from technology for a while. Just having a fun time with the campers, and staff. I am a musician, (I write music and I can also play, piano, ukulele, guitar, drums, accordion, bass.) Other hobbies include soccer refereeing, video games, telling lame jokes, going to festivals, dressing up in costumes, juggling, D.J.
When I grow up I want to travel around the world, doing something I love.
My name is "SASQUATCH"! I'm from Clinton Twp., Michigan and a recent graduate of Wayne State University with a dual major in English and History. I want to be a high school teacher. I like reading, swimming, video games, and CAMP!
I've been working at camp since 2012 and this summer I will be a counselor at Camp Ozanam. I can't stay away! These past two summers have been the best of my life and I can't imagine not coming back again.
This summer, I'm really looking forward to EAGLE'S EGGS!
St. Vincent DePaul Detroit enrollment for 2014 Summer Camp is well underway. The Vincentians have been busy meeting with campers and their families and getting them registered for Camp Ozanam! The 9 scheduled enrollment gatherings have already been held and there is still room for campers ages 8-12 in trips 3, 4 and 5. Adventure Camp is filled!
Camper applications should be returned to your Vincentian and they will be forwarded to camp upon approval.
For more information about how to enroll a camper in this program visit: svdpdet.org/need-help/camps
Can you believe it? The start of summer camp staff training is just DAYS away!
We've been busy with Camp Ozanam camper enrollment gatherings and doing our last minute preparations for Summer Camp. But there are still more staff to meet... so sit down, relax and think summer as you read about our newest Camp Ozanam staff member!
This week we'd like to introduce Sara Hartshorn, from Harrison, MI! Sara is new to Camp Ozanam, but she's not new to the summer camp scene. She's enjoyed the summer camp environment for many summers as a kid.
"I'm really looking forward to helping the campers have some of the same great experiences that I had. I am excited for the opportunity to help them learn, grow and get to know God.", says Sara.
As a counselor this summer, Sara is "looking forward to meeting and getting to know all of the fellow staff members and the campers. I'm very excited and eager to learn about the camp traditions and try new things. I'm especially looking forward to waking up early, going to chapel, singing camp songs, spending time at the lake and going to campfires!"
Sara has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for life, and that spills over into her relationship with God. She tells us, "I'm really goofy and silly and I like to make people laugh," and she's looking forward to sharing the Gospel this summer through the opportunities she'll have to create fun memories with Ozanam campers.
Sara likes to sing, cook, go hiking and kayaking, and hang out at the beach.
"I'm a huge nerd - I love super heroes (Thor is my favorite!), Harry Potter, dinosaurs, and Disney movies!"
Welcome to the Camp Ozanam family Sara!
Our first session of summer 2014 campers arrive in just over 25 days!
Our summer camp program, offered at Camp Ozanam for both boys and girls ages 8 to 14, provides the benefits of a traditional summer residential camp in a safe, fun-filled atmosphere where campers are inspired by the gospel of Jesus Christ. SVdP offers a free one week summer camp program for children who present an identifiable need such as death in family, foster care, underprivileged, and/or economic hardship.
Do you know a child who needs camp? Click Here to learn how to enroll a camper!
In light of the social and societal challenges that kids face, it is no wonder that parents are scrambling for ways to ensure their child's success as adults. Its encouraging to know the experiences that kids have at camp make them more resilient to life stress. Summer camp is a place of discovery which can have a life-long impact on a child’s development.
After all, there are not too many places where kids can explore carefully calculated challenges without a parent’s input.
“So which experiences, then, are most likely to make children resilient? The best camps do not provide cookie-cutter solutions to what kids need. Instead, great camps understand that the factors that make children resilient are cumulative. One experience contributes to others, expanding a child’s psychosocial resources exponentially.”
There are the simple challenges of conquering the mudslide, starting a campfire, and mastering a ropes course. Then there are the more complex challenges of learning how to ask for help from others, becoming a cabin team with a group of people you have never met, or having the influence to lead a group of peers for the first time. These skill-based and social-based learning experiences can introduce them to new ways of doing things and give them the confidence to handle new situations on their own. The “can-do” attitude is a trait many parents want to instill in their kids. However, this can only be achieved if they are faced with new challenges on their own.
At Camps Connect our three summer camps model how to support each other, to take risks (maybe even struggle or fail at something), but still strive to be the best we can as part of our camp philosophy. Countless experts have discussed the importance of resilience in children as they develop into healthy young adults. The best camping experiences offer these opportunities for manageable amounts of risk and responsibility. Being camp professionals, we know how important summer camp can be for a child’s social, emotional and behavioral growth. Michael Ungar, PhD wrote in the September/October 2012 issue of ACA’s Camping Magazine, “So which experiences, then, are most likely to make children resilient? The best camps do not provide cookie-cutter solutions to what kids need. Instead, great camps understand that the factors that make children resilient are cumulative. One experience contributes to others, expanding a child’s psychosocial resources exponentially.”
How do we provide support for our campers beyond the cookie cutter approach? We believe that one of the most important things we do at our camps is to build and increase self-esteem in each and every camper. We do this by taking the time to really get to know each of our campers right from the beginning. Relationship building is critical at camp, and our staff take the time top model that important skill with our campers. The biggest benefit of building those positive relationships between campers and staff are that the counselors know what each child needs to grow.
So what kinds of cumulative experiences do our Camps Connect facilities offer?
1) New relationships with peers and trusted adults other than their parents. Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they live in a cabin with others, kids share chores, resolve disagreements, and see firsthand the importance of sincere communication. Camp builds teamwork and trust.
2) A powerful identity in Christ. Understanding the Truth about their identity in Christ can help children know they are God's special creation, each with a purpose and a hope and many promises of God they can count on. Knowing and choosing to believe what God says about them can protect children from succumbing to depression, anxiety, peer pressure, fear, poor choices, and even suicide. In addition, it can help them fulfill their God-given potential and purpose.
3) Confidence in their talents and abilities. Your child may not be the best on the ropes course, the fastest swimmer, or the next teen idol when he sings, but our camp counselors are going to help your child find something to be proud of that he or she can do well because they have built relationships with adults they can trust.
4) Camps make sure that all children are treated fairly. When children come to our camps they can leave behind all the negative labels they may have at home or school. They are no longer the “nerd” “the poor student,” “always hyperactive,” or some who is measured up to their siblings. There is nothing as influential as being in a positive environment. Our staff are trained to not only to handle bullying issues if they arise, but how to create a positive atmosphere where children treat each other like they want to be treated. At camp they will find opportunities to just be kids who are valued for who they are.
5) At camp kids develop life-long skills. Ideally this is accomplished through fresh air, exercise, and a balance between routine and unstructured playtime. Our camps and competent staff provide the right instruction, equipment and facilities for kids to enhance their sports abilities, their artistic talents, and their adventure skills. The sheer variety of activities offered at our camps makes it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to do with caring and supportive counselors by their side.
6) Camp offers kids a chance to feel like they belong. In today’s world although we are more connected than ever by modern technology we see kids lacking deep personal connections to others. Kids need help developing social bonds and learning interpersonal skills based on empathy and understanding. Our camps offer a culture of togetherness by engaging our campers in the camp community through small and large group play while helping them to develop healthy connections. Cabin chants and skits, name games, group songs, teamwork, and healthy doses of competition go a long way to offering children a sense of being accepted and rooted.
7) And finally, camp offers children a better sense of their culture as they participate with kids and staff who are culturally diverse. At our camps, kids and staff regularly share in activities such as stories, skits, or times of reflection that provide insight into the values of our Catholic community and their own cultural backgrounds. This gives kids a chance to understand themselves a bit more as they share their own culture and experience others.
At Camps Connect, our camps give children a combination of experiences that prepare them well for life. Our staff are trained to help children embrace these moments, both the struggles and triumphs to develop strength, acquire coping skills, learn how to navigate hardships, and have an anchor by which to face future challenges. This resiliency will help them succeed in life.
I think this perfectly describes what we do at Camps Connect each and every summer. It is our experience that this cumulative approach gives our campers many valuable tools to seek help should they need it, whether that is at camp or at home.
Camps Connect is a true collaboration between Catholic Youth Organization Camps and St. Vincent DePaul Camps. We provide summer camp for boys & girls, family camp, retreat and conference facilities, and outdoor education experiences on the scenic shores of Lake Huron, Michigan. A deep rooted faith and extraordinary service runs through every decision we make. And that philosophy has made a lasting impact in the lives of families and youth for over 90 years! Learn more at www.campsconnect.org
The Journey -About Us
THE JOURNEY journals our Camps Connect story. Camps Connect is a summer camp for boys, girls, and co-ed programs, a family
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