Camp Saint Paul
In 2004, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America established “Camp Saint Paul” as the official Summer Camp Program of the Direct Archdiocesan District and appointed Fr. Elias Villis of Rye as its Director. After a thorough search, a camping site called “Camp Hope” was found to be the perfect location for this new ministry. Located on the shore of beautiful Bantam Lake in Litchfield, Connecticut, the site offered the peacefulness and tranquility of nature, and a full service facility equipped with everything from a vibrant waterfront and a ropes course to high quality family style meals and a warm sense of hospitality. With the help of the D.A.D. Youth Office and a team of devoted and passionate individuals, Fr. Elias kicked off Camp Saint Paul for one week in the summer of 2005 with 45 registered campers.
Over the next several years, the camp continued to grow as the youth of the Direct Archdiocesan District benefitted from the spiritual guidance of Fr. Elias, local clergy, and their capable counselors. A committee, chaired by His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, was established in 2008 in order to oversee the continued progress and enhancement of this ministry.
In 2013, nearly 600 campers participated in the four one-week sessions of Camp Saint Paul, including many from the Saint Barbara Parish. The Camp is open to all children (grades 3-12) to participate as campers and to college students and other young adults to participate as counselors. To access more information regarding Camp Saint Paul, including the dates for the Summer of 2014, please visit: http://www.campsaintpaul.org/
The Camp Program
Campers experience a balance of fellowship, educational and recreational activities. Their fully packed and fun-filled days allow campers to get the most out of their time at Camp Saint Paul. During the course of each day, campers travel between the following four core sessions:
Orthodox Life: “OL,” as we call it at camp, is the main time for the campers to engage with local clergy about the theme of camp week and their individual relationship with God. In the summer of 2013 the theme of Camp was: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” from the book of Romans. Campers met daily to develop and discuss the theme with their assigned priest. During these discussions campers explore how the theme specifically affects them and their faith. More than a simple question and answer period, OL is designed to be based on discussion and forming a relationship with a spiritual advisor. Often, the campers end up leading the discussion with the priest merely providing guidance. This session is a favorite of many campers because of the opportunity to communicate openly with a priest about issues that are pertinent in their daily lives.
Diakonia: The purpose of this session is for the campers to explore different ways in which they can give back to the community. Projects in 2013 included hygiene kits for IOCC; “courage capes” that were sent to children with terminal illnesses; prayer pillows; and mosaic icons. Diakonia (service) helps campers learn the importance of working together and allows them to experience the joy of service directly through their projects.
Liturgical Hour: Liturgical Hour continues to explore and explain the often unseen and misunderstood traditions of the liturgical life of an Orthodox Church. Our faith is rich in heritage and tradition, and campers enjoy the “up close and personal” approach to various aspects of our Divine Liturgy. For example, campers learn about the vestments of the priest; the Proskomide; and the icons and hymns of the church. At the end of the week, the entire Divine Liturgy is chanted by the whole camp on Sunday.
Greek Cultural Appreciation: In this session campers learn more about our Greek Cultural heritage. They learn how to do Greek dances; sing traditional songs; and prepare traditional cuisine.
Flextivities: This session allows the campers to choose from as many as ten different activities. Options change every day and include basketball; ropes course; mosaic icon making; Backgammon tournaments; volleyball; slip and slide; Byzantine chant; sponge dodgeball and more.
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