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Dept. of Camping News

2016 Winter Camp St. Raphael

Fr. Nicholas BelcherFr. Nicholas BelcherThe Diocese of Wichita Winter Camp 2016 (WAMP) will take place at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from January 15th-18th, 2016. The retreat speaker will be Fr. Nicholas Belcher from Hellenic College/Holy Cross. Teens in 7th-12th grade can register for the retreat at

Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at

Bishop Anthony is Keynote Speaker at Orthodox Family Camp in Minnesota

Photography by Nick Barakos

Where on earth would you find Bishop Anthony worshipping with Greek, Antiochian, Romanian, Serbian, Russian, and Chinese families in one place? At Family Camp, October 2-4, 2015, north of Minneapolis, Minnesota! For over a decade, members of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West St. Paul, MN, have helped organize a pan-Orthodox Family Camp that includes parishioners of over a dozen Orthodox churches in the Minnesota area.

This year, we were blessed to have Bishop Anthony of Toledo as our main speaker. Over 160 people spent the weekend in a beautiful retreat setting with our Orthodox friends from all different churches learning about how to live as Orthodox Christians in a secular world. Captivating, inspiring, and entertaining, Bishop Anthony recapped the change in American culture over the decades and spoke with passion about the world we live in. Not to leave us depressed, he offered solid instruction for survival in such a changing world.

Save the Date: Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference is January 21-23, 2016

The Very Reverend Dr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has announced that the January 2016 Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference for parish youth workers, SOYO Advisors, and Teen Advisors, is set for January 21-23, 2016.  The Conference will be held at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, TX, and the theme is "Feed My Sheep: Crisis, Trauma, and Everyday Life."

Parishes are encouraged to send their Parish Youth Workers, Youth Director and Teen SOYO Advisors. More information will appear on the Orthodox Christian Camp Association website's conference page, once additional details are confirmed.

New AFR Podcast Highlights Antiochian Village Summer Camp

Ancient Faith Radio is pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast, featuring updates from staff, clergy, and campers of Antiochian Village Summer Camp. It Takes A Village features homilies, stories, and reports from the daily life of Summer Camp for parents and friends to experience a bit of the life-changing ministry that happens there. The first episode features His Grace Bishop Thomas sharing a homily during the first session of camp this summer. The podcast, found at, will continue throughout the year to encourage alumni and friends of the camp to continue in their faith journeys.

Ready, Set, Go! Village Kicks off First Camp Session

Staff training week at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, is complete, and Session One has started! Meet the 2015 summer staff on the Village's website. 

The Village's Facebook page reported on Day One this way:

Three words to describe Monday's weather: hot, humid, and rainy. But such could not dull the spirit of our campers, as they were active as ever. We started off the morning with breakfast, giving everyone an extra hour to sleep in. This provided them with the energy they needed to remain attentive in their first sessions of morning program! Some attended "Ask Abouna," doing a Q & A with our lovely session priests, Abouna James King from St. Mary in Livonia, MI, and Fr. Noah Bushelli from St. Philip in Souderton, PA. Our chanting cabins went to the Conference Center for their morning practice, and the rest of the campers were scattered about the camp, and the challenge course.

Sign up Today: Camp Season is Just Around the Corner!

One of the best opportunities for children to grow spiritually and in friendship, is through summer camp. In addition to Antiochian Village, there are seven outstanding regional camps in the Antiochian Archdiocese across the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius, your parish priest, or your diocese camp, to learn about scholarships.

Diocese of Wichita Holds 2015 Winter Camp St. Raphael

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Over 180 teens and OCFers from throughout the Diocese of Wichita gathered at Camp St. Raphael the weekend of January 17-18 for 2015 Winter Camp (WAMP). Many thanks to Fr. Daniel Bethancourt of St. Nicholas Church in Shreveport, Louisiana and Erin Ghata of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, advisors to DOWAMA Teen SOYO, and all who helped them plan this event.

2015 Winter Camp St. Raphael

A Love Story
God's Love Revealed through Salvation history
with His Grace Bishop Basil

WHEN: Friday January 16 - Monday January 19, 2015


WHERE: Camp St. Raphael (a.k.a. YMCA Camp Takatoka - Wagoner, OK)

COST: $125 Teens (T-Shirt included) - $110 Chaperones (Must complete application and be accepted)

2015 Winter Camp (WAMP) will take place January 16th-19th at Camp St. Raphael (YABOY!) in Wagoner, OK. The featured speaker will be Bishop Basil. Flyers and registration forms are attached to this page. If you have questions, please contact Diocese of Wichita Youth Director Erin Ghata at

Registration Opens: February 2015 College Lenten Retreat

Come enjoy a weekend of spiritual retreat and fellowship with other Orthodox Christian college students. We will have discussions, daily services, and conclude the weekend by celebrating Sunday of Orthodoxy together! Registration is now open!

  • Please register online at
  • Cost is $95, including all meals, lodging, and activities, to be held at the Camp (bring own bed linens/sleeping bag, pillow, towels, and toiletries)
  • If you have questions, please e-mail Chris Shadid at or call the camp office at 724-238-9565, ext. 505 
  • Download the flyer

Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference: January 22-24, 2015

The 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference, with the theme "Walking Alongside our Youth," will be held at Antiochian Village on January 22-24. The Conference, now in its 13th year, exists to bring all Orthodox Christians doing youth ministry at any level and in any form together for several days to further their education, foster brotherhood, and provide fellowship.  Each year a different jurisdiction of the Orthodox Churches in the United States hosts the Conference, with the input and direction provided by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and national Church Youth Department directors.

Keynote Addresses will be offered by The Rev. Dr. Bogdan Bucur, associate professor of Theology at Duquesne University, and Dr. Stefanie Yazge, professor of Theology at St. Vincent College. A series of workshops focusing on youth ministry as it relates to youth workers and camp staff, daily services, and fellowship, will be available to enable attendees to get to know each other better.

Registration is available online and an early-bird discount is offered through December 15, 2014.


Camp St. Innocent: New Antiochian Camp in Western Canada

By The Very Rev. Michael Gillis

During the last week of August, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Camp St. Innocent (CSI) took place, the first ever Antiochian camp in Western Canada. The camp took place at the Gull Lake Centre, an excellent facility located about eighty-five miles south of Edmonton, Alberta.

The camp was sponsored by St. Philip Church in Edmonton and Annunciation Church of Calgary, but campers also came from Saskatoon, and Vancouver. There were 23 campers in total, which for a first camp seems to be a pretty good turnout. This is especially true if you consider the long distances some of the campers had to travel to come to camp. The campers from Saskatoon drove for over seven hours and the campers from Vancouver about twelve hours.

Camp Photos from Antiochian Village

Antiochian Village Camp has compiled a collection of summer camp photos at Photo prints are available for purchas at, or photos and DVDs are available via Antiochian Village by downloading and returning the order form (PDF).

Summer 2015 Camp staff:

Time for Camp! Follow Antiochian Village's Updates

Beginning Sunday, June 15, 2014, Antiochian Village Summer Camp in Bolivar, Pennsylvania begins its summer-long camping program for kids age 9-18. Since 1978, the mission of the Camp has been to promote the faith of the Orthodox Church through ministry to the youth. The Village has been a "holy mountain" wherein campers form lifelong friendships and grow stronger as Christians. 

Is your child going to Antiochian Village this summer? Are you an alumnus longing to vicariously enter into this year's camping season? Visit the Village's Facebook page for introductions to counselors, highlights of each session, and other features, or view all the new photos as they are uploaded to the Village's photo site. A complete list of camps within the Antiochian Archdiocese is available on the Department of Camping page.


Apply Now for Camp Scholarships: Deadline is 3/1

Antiochian clergy and parishioners should be reminded that camper scholarships are again available to each parish and mission in the Antiochian Archdiocese through the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Applications were mailed to all parish priests on January 16, 2014. If you are a priest and have not received that mailing, please be in immediate contact with Fr. Anthony Yazge of Antiochian Village, at Please note that applications to receive your scholarships ($700 per parish) must be received by Fr. Anthony no later than Saturday, March 1, 2014. More camping information is available from the Department of Camping.

Camp and Youth Workers Conference Slated for Early 2014

Youth workers in North America are invited to the 2014 Camp and Youth Workers Conference, an annual gathering scheduled for January 23-25, 2014 at the Antiochian Village. Endorsed by the Assembly of Bishops, this year's Conference will address the theme, "Made in His Image and Likeness," with Keynote Speaker Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko.

The Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, explains that the conference is "intended to help the parish youth worker spiritually form the teens they work with, on the parish level. I encourage all parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese to send your parish youth workers and teen SOYO advisors to this conference." Workshops will be available for three tracks: Youth Worker, Camp Ministry, and Pastoral.

2013 General Assembly Report from the Department of Camping

The following report was delivered at the July 2013 Antiochian Archdiocese General Assembly, convened in Houston, Texas:

Houston, Texas
July 25-26, 2013

The Antiochian Archdiocese is blessed with eight camping programs which are each ministering to young people in their respective geographic areas. Each camp is unique in its characteristics and facility, yet all are following the same mission of presenting young people with a living experience of the Orthodox Christian faith. While each camp has its own mostly volunteer staff which plans and executes its program, the Department of Camping oversees each program to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp.

Updates From Antiochian Village Camp

Village at Home, FloridaVillage at Home, FloridaSeptember, 2013

Antiochian Village reports that in an effort to stay connected to campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, the Village at Home program is running several programs this fall. In Village at Home, camp staff visit a church at the invitation of the priest, and run a modified day of camp in the parish. Hosting parishes often extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. Former staff members to join in for the day to assist with the program, which replicates as much as possible the typical camper's day at the Village.

The following Village at Home days are scheduled:

Additionally, camp dates for the 2014 season have been posted. The season's earliest camp is Winter Camp in February, and the last camp to wrap up is the Special Olympics Sports Camp during the second week of August.


Priests and Parents: Camp Scholarships Are Available!

V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, Camp Director at Antiochian Village Camp & Conference Center, writes:

Attention Pastors!

The 2013 Order of St. Ignatius Scholarship letters and forms have been mailed to each parish to the attention of the pastor. These forms must be completed and signed by the pastor and submitted to the office of the Department of Camping by March 1st. We ask that you assign the $700 of scholarship funding on a need basis to the campers of your parish. The scholarship may be used at any of the Antiochian Archdiocesan camps but may not exceed the amount of the camp tuition. Any unused funds as of March 1st will be available for the various camp directors to use for need-base scholarship.

Attention Camper Families!

Each parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese has been granted $700 in camp scholarship funds by the Order of St. Ignatius. These funds are for need-base scholarships. If you are in need of a scholarship, please speak to your parish priest to inquire about the scholarship. In addition to these funds, each camp has a limited amount of additional scholarship funding. You may request an Additional Scholarship Request Form from the appropriate camp director or download one from the camp website. These scholarships are based on need and typically are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis as long as funds remain. For more information, please contact the appropriate camp director through the information available on the Department of Camping website.

DOWAMA Winter Camp + February 15-18, 2013

Winter Camp 2013 for the Diocese of Wichita will be held at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from February 15-18. Registration form and $100 registration (Chaperones/Advisors $80.00) payment are due by Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, and should be sent to:

St. George Cathedral – Attn: Grace Saad
7515 E. 13th St. N.
Wichita, KS 67206

Click here to download a registration form (Word format). Please contact Erin Ghata (405) 410-9456 or Grace Saad (316) 619-8531 if you have any questions.

Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference is January 24-26

Shine Forth
Helping Our Orthodox Youth Follow and Represent Christ
Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church + Austin, TX
Janury 24-26, 2013
Download Flyer (PDF)

The 11 Annual Orthodox Christian Camp & Youth Worker Conference provides an arena for Orthodox youth workers from different jurisdictions to share and provide resources. The conference will include keynote and guest speakers, educational presentations, break out sessions and fellowship. All Orthodox parish and diocese youth workers, camp directors and staff, and OCF chaplains are invited to attend.

Father Apostolos Hill, the keynote speaker, has served in the Orthodox Church for the last twenty years as cantor, youth director, catechist, deacon, and priest. Currently, Fr. Hill serves as Proestamenos of St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Prescott, AZ. He has been actively involved in youth ministry serving the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the camping ministry in Denver's Greek Metropolis, Ionian Village, with OCF Real Break Ministry leading trips to Greece and Guatemala, and with youth street ministry. 

Register for the event


Works of the Order in Action: Learning Christian Living through the Orthodox Camping Experience

Over the next few months, young people will be registering for one of the eight summer camps in our Archdiocese. If you know any of these young people who have been to camp before, you know that they have started their countdowns to the first day of camp. They spend hours on Skype and Facebook talking to their camp friends throughout the Archdiocese, and they go into a post-camp depression when they return home from camp.

So what is it about the camp experience that makes our young people love it so much? Certainly, there are many things that contribute to it: the friends, the activities, the counselors and staff, and being in the outdoors, to name a few. The thing that makes camp so special, however, is the camp environment, which presents a living experience of the Orthodox faith. In 1978, the Archdiocese purchased the Antiochian Village, and His Eminence Metropolitan Philip appointed the Archmandrite Fr. John Namie (+ 2001) of blessed memory as the first Camp Director. Thanks to the vision and leadership of these two great men, this mission of presenting a living experience of the Orthodox faith in the camp setting has become the standard at all of our camp programs in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

When asked by Constantine Nasr in 1998 why campers come to camp, Fr. John Namie responded,

[Christian living–] that’s why people come here: to learn Christian living by doing it. It’s the best way to learn. The best way to learn is by doing things. When you come to the Village, you get to do everything in a Christian fashion. You get to love each other, and that means that you get to share with each other your life.… We get to pray, both privately and in church. We learn church hymns, we have a good time at our meals, and we play a lot and play hard. It’s great to be at camp. It’s one of the greatest experiences that a young person can have.

Last Chance to Sign Up! Village Camps are Nearly Full

Antiochian Village's website reports, "Unbelievable! We are quickly closing in on 1,000 campers and CITs registered for this summer's camping season! That's unheard of, or at least surprising this early in the spring. You must have heard about the terrific staff we are hiring.

In a few weeks, we will be introducing our staff to the world. In the meantime, if you have not registered, you might be able to find a space or two in a few sessions--check availability here. Also in the works is a brand new cabin 11 & 12 located between cabins 5 & 6 and the Health Center. If all goes well it should be ready by the first session and possibly even in time for Family Camp. This summer is going to be unbelievable."
Don't miss out, register today!

DOWAMA Winter Camp + February 17-20, 2012

Winter Camp 2012 for the Diocese of Wichita will be held at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from February 17-20. This year's theme will be Christ the Merciful Judge, and the camp will feature speaker George Hazaris, the youth director and pastoral assistant from the Greek Orthodox Church of Our Savior in Rye, New York.

Form & $100 registration (Chaperones/Advisors $70.00) payment is due by Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, and should be sent to:

St. George Orthodox Church – Attn: Paul Fuller
5311 Mercer Street
Houston, TX 77005

Click here to download a registration form (Word format). Please contact Paul Fuller at 502.592.9981 (cell) or if you have any questions.

Orthodox Teens and Scouts Invited to Join Venture Crew

A rare opportunity for Orthodox teens has been presented to Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth Ministries for the Antiochian Archdiocese. (Download the letter of invitation.)

Liz Fallin, a parishioner at St. Paul Antiochian Church in Lynnwood, WA, is involved in Pan-Orthodox Scouting in the Seattle area and is an Advisor to a Venture Crew, a coed organization for teens ages 14-20. Liz has alerted Fr. Joseph to openings for a 2013 backpacking trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico, the premiere Scout facility in the country--if not the world. Philmont has over 136,000 acres of mountains, and offers 11-day backpacking treks to Scouts and Venturers from around the country. Philmont Treks are so popular that there is a lottery every year for groups who want to go, and only about half of those who enter the lottery are selected.  

Recently, Liz's Orthodox Scouting group was selected for an August 2013 trek. Notes Liz, "Because we have a handful of extra slots available, we would like to open this trek up to young men and women ages 14-20, and interested adults.

Antiochian Departments to Host Historic Youth Worker Conference, Jan. 25-28

A historic January 2012 Orthodox Christian Youth Worker Conference, endorsed by the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, is planned for all Youth Workers, Camp Directors and Staff, and OCF Chaplains. The conference runs from Wednesday January 25 to Saturday January 28, 2012 at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and will be hosted by the Departments of Youth Ministry and of Camping of the Antiochian Archdiocese.