Weekend Campout: Lionheart was a weekend in which memories of adventure, brotherhood and true manliness were made. Featuring cardboard castles and armor, a TX Conquest sized bonfire, seemingly endless sports, Mass, Adoration, Confession, Spiritual Direction, and numerous adventures beyond your son’s imagination; it was a weekend packed full of prayer, friendships, and inspiration. It all began many weeks before the 30+ boys arrived; when a group of Texas A&M students met to discuss what could make it the best retreat imaginable – retreat that would make these boys into a better men – more chivalrous, honorable, and loyal men, closer to God. Thus, came the theme: Camp
Camp Lionheart kicked off with Father-Son Night, a night in which fathers were encouraged to join in for dinner and the various activities following. As arriving campers were registered, the counselors and Legionaries led games of soccer, basketball, and football, while fathers wood-grilled pizza for dinner. After fathers and sons ate dinner together, campers were divided into several teams, each led by their fathers. Teams competed in Squire Fire, an event in which campers had to race for the materials to start a fire, and fathers had to use the gathered materials to build a fire large enough to melt a marshmallow off a stick above their fire. After all teams completed the challenge, and had time to roast s’mores over the fire, teams went to the gym to compete in the next challenge: the Armor of God Relay. Fathers had to shield their sons with a sheet of cardboard from dodgeballs thrown by counselors, who were protecting various articles of cardboard armor which the sons had to collect without getting hit. Once they acquired all the pieces, fathers would be dressed in the suit of armor. Father-son night ended with small-group time, where fathers discussed with their group how to be a better son, brother, husband, and man of Christ. After Night Prayer in the chapel, the campers fell asleep to the great stories of the saints.
Saturday started with Mass celebrated by Fr. Daren Weisbrod and was followed by a bacon hearty breakfast prepared by the generous fathers who stayed for the weekend and helped staff the camp. The day continued with intertwined sports and talks focused on the Lionheart theme. While teams competed against one another in sports such as soccer, dodgeball, stratego, and blitz, and went to talks lead by the Legionaries, opportunities for confession and spiritual direction were also available.
In the afternoon, after lunch and a rosary, teams gathered together in the gym for the Olympiad. The Olympiad began by having each team build a car-sized, cardboard box castle to defend their cup of water from the impending dodgeballs launched from fellow teams. After construction of their castle, each team was given a 3-person slingshot, and as many dodgeballs as needed, to destroy the castles of other teams, until all cups of water were spilled. Teams were then grouped together into two big teams, which gathered the remains of the castles to form bus-sized castles that would protect a bowling pin. The grand finale of the Olympiad was an epic dodgeball competition to destroy the other team’s
castle and knock over their bowling pin. After dinner, showers, and small group time, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for an hour of Adoration as the evening neared its close. During this time, Fr. Michael lead a prayer workshop on journaling, and time was allowed for reflection on the day’s activities and for prayer through praise and worship music. Following Adoration, campers went to the gym for an adrenaline packed dodgeball game, while counselors prepared a bonfire. The massive quantity of cardboard boxes used during the weekend lent itself well to creating the largest bonfire in TX Conquest history, much to the campers delight. Campers, standing around the bonfire, listened to stories told of great strength, honor, humility, and love, the stories of great examples of men.
The final day of the weekend was a day of cleaning, closing, and saying farewells. The day began early as campers packed their things and proceeded to the chapel for Morning Prayer. A breakfast of pancakes and sausage was followed by morning sports out in the gym, until it was time for team clean-up. Once teams completed cleaning their assigned area of camp, campers
and counselors got out their best dress for Sunday Mass. Sport coats, suits, ties, and even a tuxedo could be seen among the campers and counselors at mass. Camper’s families arrived for mass, which was celebrated by Fr. Michael. Afterwards, the award ceremony was held, in which the leading teams and outstanding individuals were recognized for their accomplishments over the weekend. Lunch was provided for all, as Fr. Michael spoke about the retreat, a slideshow of pictures played, and new and old friends said their goodbyes.
A lot of time, devotion, passion, grace, and cardboard went into camp Lionheart. Campers, counselors, and staff alike left with great memories, total exhaustion, a strengthened spirit, and, hopefully, an encounter with Christ.