The vision of having a summer camp in Greece for Greek-Americans began with Archbishop Iakovos in the 1960’s, and is strengthened and continued by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios to the present day. The mission of Ionian Village is to enrich the lives of its participants by bringing campers and staff into close contact with their Orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage. Ionian Village provides the opportunity for young people of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to travel to Greece and foster a life-long appreciation and love of Greece, Orthodoxy, and Hellenism.
This important mission is accomplished by providing a safe and fun environment in which campers and staff can fully immerse themselves into our rich Greek heritage, experience the vibrancy of our Greek Orthodox tradition, and learn to lead Christ-centered lives. Ionian Village participants travel across Greece, venerate the relics of saints, walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, and visit significant sites of Greek history and culture. At the end of each program, our campers and staff return home with strengthened faith, life-long friendships based on Christian love, and an expanded appreciation for the Orthodox Church and Greek culture.
Now in its 43rd year, Ionian Village has reached more than 16,000 campers, staff and clergy through its programs.
Ionian Village allows campers to experience life in a fully Orthodox environment as they travel to historic churches and religious sites across Greece. The Orthodox Faith is at the heart of the Ionian Village program. Each day begins and ends at the Chapel with morning and evening prayers. Campers spend each day either at camp or traveling. When not traveling, campers take part in activities on the campgrounds. Daily life at Ionian Village includes many traditional summer camp activities that emphasize fun, fellowship, and learning. Campers engage in daily sessions of Arts and Crafts, Athletics and Aquatics, Music and Greek Culture, and Orthodox Life. Time is also spent at either the pool or our private beach every day while at camp.
Every sunset brings a different Evening Activity. Whether our campers are performing in the talent festival, singing by the bonfire on the beach, Greek dancing to live music at the Glendi, or gathering in the amphitheater for a quiet “Night with God” in preparation for the Divine Liturgy, they continue to build upon the camaraderie they have established within our Ionian Village community.
Orthodox Life Session: OL is a dialogue between teens and young adults and their Church. In these discussion groups, led by priests and seminarians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, campers gather by cabin not only to learn about Orthodox Christianity, but also for the opportunity to share their own experiences. Campers voice questions and concerns about their Church, their lives, and the world in a loving, trusting, and accepting environment so that they may grow in their faith.
Arts & Crafts Session: Our talented staff designs various activities for campers to create items to take home; learn creative skills and techniques; and learn more about Greece and Orthodoxy through art. Campers choose from a variety of projects including watercolor painting, bracelet and necklace design, “worry bead” creation, clay sculpture, icon painting, and more.
Athletics & Aquatics Session: Campers engage in various games and sports like tennis, volleyball, basketball, Ping-Pong, softball, football, soccer, and swimming. Also, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming and time in the sun while at Ionian Village. Experienced and certified lifeguards and water safety instructors supervise the Aquatics sessions both on the beach and in the newly-renovated Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Music and Greek Culture Session: Campers learn about the traditions, customs, culture, history, food, music, dance, mythology, and language of Greece. The surrounding environment compliments these activities as campers see first hand the places they learn about as they visit various cities and villages and interact with the people of Greece.
Travel Days: During their stay at the Ionian Village, campers have the opportunity to explore many different cultural, and spiritual sites of Greece. Traveling together as a camp, there are excursions about every other day, allowing the campers first-hand experiences full of Greek heritage and rich spirituality.
Whether it’s taking a ferry to the island of Aegina to visit the holy relics of Saint Nektarios or enjoying a relaxing dinner in Patras at a restaurant that gives the perfect vantage point to a breathtaking sunset, our Travel Days at Ionian Village are always memorable. A typical Travel Day can include visits to Monasteries, beaches, and popular historic sites of Greece such as the Acropolis. To learn more about the travel locations that the campers visit while at Ionian Village visit: www.ionianvillage.org
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