Summer camps have always been a staple of adolescent life. Warm memories of campfires and canoeing have stayed with most of us through our adult years. Adding a Catholic identity to summer camp fun creates a get-away where kids build roots that go deep and help make their faith a lasting part of who they are as they grow up. A week of fun becomes a spiritual experience, and many times, a reference point for growth in a teenager’s life.
After running 9 successful summer camps for girls in the Montreal area, the Consecrated women of Regnum Christi knew that this year would be different. Consolidation in the group meant that the consecrated that lived in Montreal would be moved to other communities in other cities. Because of this Camp Alize came under the leadership of the local parish priest, Fr. Jan Kusyk of Sacred Heart Parish in nearby Lanark, Ontario. Through his constant presence at the camp the girls flourished in their sacramental life and in their appreciation for the priestly, as well as consecrated vocations. The highlight of many was the evening Eucharistic procession when the Blessed Sacrament arrived to us via canoe on the lake.
Fr Kusyk shares, “Summer camps are extremely important places for the formation of young Christians. Many Christian denominations with much smaller congregations than the Catholic Church run successful summer camp programs. Within Ontario, overnight Catholic summer camps are almost non-existent. Due to the lack of opportunity, many of our Catholic youth miss out on the experience of attending a Catholic summer camp.
During my first week as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Lanark (August 2014), I was over-joyed to find Camp Alize, a Catholic camp for young women aged 10-16, thriving under the leadership of consecrated women of Regnum Christi. Due to a refocusing of the missions of many of the consecrated, it was announced that the 2014 camp was to be our last camp. Since the Lord has placed Catholic summer camps on my heart, I volunteered my help in keeping the camp going. With the help of several mothers and Regnum Christi materials, we were able to launch a new camp, Camp Camino, this year. We were particularly blessed to have one of the consecrated of Regnum Christi, Tawnya Arsenault and former RC Missionary, Olivia Steeves, help run the Camp.
Camp Alize (2005-2014) and now Camp Camino (2015- present) has provided a real opportunity for the spiritual formation of young Catholic women. At Camp, the participants are invited to take their faith to the next level. Through daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration and other devotions, and many creative and engaging activities, the young women learn to love Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, and to lead others to Him.”