Catholic youth camp combines faith, fun, friends
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
Camp Cayoca, a Catholic youth camp, offers all of this and more at the Twin Lakes Christian Center near Manson. The Diocese of Sioux City sponsors the camp and has for about 30 years.
“Youth have a lot of opportunities for various camps throughout the summer,” said Karmen Darwin, assistant director of youth catechesis and evangelization. “I think it’s important to offer a camp with a Catholic identity. It is important to offer them (youth) time to grow closer to Christ during the summer.”
Session one will be held June 13 – 16 for students entering fourth and fifth grades. Session two will be held June 17 – 20 for students entering sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“Camp is a great opportunity because the youth come away with the Lord,” said Sean Martin, director of new evangelization, catechesis and family life. “They have an opportunity to pray, enter into the sacraments, to hear about their faith, to encounter other Catholic youth around the diocese, form friendships and to have fun while doing this.”
This year’s theme is “Rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy!” from 1 Peter 1:8. Everything from the T-shirts and music to breakout sessions and everything in between will incorporate the theme.
“The theme as a whole is based off of Pope Francis’ document ‘The Joy of the Gospel,’” said Darwin.
“When people are full of joy, it is contagious,” he said. “St. Paul said, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.’ It is important to proclaim the Gospel message that we live our lives with deep profound joy. It is joy because we have an encounter, a relationship with Jesus.”
Each day will begin with flag raising, morning prayer and breakfast followed by breakouts, cabin activities and Mass before lunch. In the afternoon, the campers will have free time to swim, canoe, climb the indoor climbing wall, miniature golf, make crafts and more.
Adoration and reconciliation will take place before dinner. In the evening there will be large group activities, snack and campfire before nighttime devotions and lights out.
“They have the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments and get to sing praise and worship songs,” said Darwin. “Camp is important because it gives you a time to encounter Christ throughout the summer. They get to meet other Catholic friends. Really strong friendships can form.”
Patrick Williams will return as the musician for camp.
“We are building on what we did last year,” said Martin. “Our schedule will be the same as last year. We switched our adoration and Mass times. I think that had a great impact on the youth that came. At the closing, the parents were able to come and participate in Eucharistic adoration, which I thought was a great opportunity for them.”
Many volunteers are being sought for camp – counselors, breakout leaders, medical personnel, teen leaders and more.
The counselors, who are parents or other adults, stay in the cabins with the youth and lead them during the day. Darwin said volunteers will be taken until all spots are filled.
“The only training they have to attend is a Virtus training, if they are not if they are not Virtus approved, and the day camp begins,” said Darwin. “There isn’t anything extra they have to do before camp.”
The teen leaders need to be high school students under 18 years old by the time of camp. High school students can apply online on the diocesan website and the forms are due by April 4.
Cost is $250 per camper. For online payment and registration information visit: www.scdiocese.org/cayoca.
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