Dept. of Camping News
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.
A Love Story
God's Love Revealed through Salvation history
with His Grace Bishop Basil
WHEN: Friday January 16 - Monday January 19, 2015
WHO: DOWAMA Teens
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 www.avcamp.org
- 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 email@example.com or call the camp office at 724-238-9565, ext. 505
- Download the flyer
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.
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.
Antiochian Village Camp has compiled a collection of summer camp photos at www.avcamp.org/memories. Photo prints are available for purchas at avcamp.smugmug.com/Antiochian-Village-Photos-2014, or photos and DVDs are available via Antiochian Village by downloading and returning the order form (PDF).
Summer 2015 Camp staff:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
The following report was delivered at the July 2013 Antiochian Archdiocese General Assembly, convened in 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.
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:
- September 28 - St. Michael Orthodox Church - Louisville, KY
- October 5 - St. Raphael Orthodox Church - Chantilly, VA
- November 16 - St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church - West Roxbury, MA
- December 7 - Basilica of St .Mary - Livonia, MI
- March 22 - St. Philip Orthodox Church - Souderton, PA
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.
V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, Camp Director at Antiochian Village Camp & Conference Center, writes:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com if you have any questions.
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.
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.
Since October is Youth Month in the Antiochian Archdiocese, the editors at antiochian.org caught up with Fr. Anthony Yazge, who heads up the College Department for the Archdiocese, as well as the camping program at Antiochian Village. (Read this 2006 Word interview with Fr. Anthony and browse his Ask Abouna column.)
Fr. Anthony has been serving teens, college students and campers since 1981, and after thirty years he still approaches his ministry with dedication and enthusiasm.
1. How many years have you been working in youth ministries, and what kind of roles have you filled?
I basically went from my teenage years to being involved in youth ministry. As a seminarian I was involved in planning and leading teen retreats. A few years after ordination, I was appointed as the Midwest Teen SOYO Spiritual Advisor and served in that position for fourteen years before being appointed as the NAC Teen SOYO Spiritual Advisor for the last six years. As the Spiritual Advisor of Teen SOYO, I participated with our teens in many outreach projects over twenty years. In 2001 I was assigned to be priest in charge of Teen SOYO’s Special Olympics Camp and am currently still part of this ministry.
In addition to serving as a Spiritual Advisor for Teen SOYO the past twenty years, I have served the Antiochian Village for many years. I was a camp counselor in 1981 and was a session priest for thirteen years prior to my current assignment as Camp Director in 2006. I have also led a team of teens on a short term mission trip to Project Mexico.
The Order of St. Ignatius Camping Scholarship Forms have been mailed to every parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Each parish is provided the opportunity to assign $700 in camping scholarships to the young people of their respective parish. The Order of St. Ignatius commits $175,000 annually to camp scholarships. More than 700 young people received scholarships from the Order of St. Ignatius in 2010. The scholarships may be used at any of the eight camping programs in the Antiochian Archdiocese. For more information regarding the Order of St. Ignatius Camping Scholarships, please speak with your parish priest.
The Antiochian Village Camp now offers a Sacred Arts Program that includes Byzantine Chant and Iconography camps for teens 14-18, parish workshops on Byzantine Chant and a Byzantine Notation Workshop for adults 18 and up. For more information visit our website http://antiochianvillage.org/camp.
The Village is also now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Camp staff.
- Winter Camp Session 1: January 14-17, 2011
- Winter Camp Session 2: February 18-21, 2011
- Service Weekend: May 20-22, 2011
- Family Camp: May 27-30, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (1 wk): June 19-26, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (2 wks): June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 1: June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 2: July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 2 (2 wks): July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 3 (2 wks): July 17-29, 2011
- Iconography Camp: July 17-25, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 4 (2 wks): July 31-August 12, 2011
- Special Olympics Camp: August 12-20, 2011
- Family Camp Homeschool Edition: August 26-29, 2011
Ah, sweet summer! Another eventful, fun-filled camping season is winding down in some dioceses, while the August Session is still to come in several camps.
Due to the generosity of the Order of St. Ignatius, $175,000.00 filled camp scholarship coffers, enabling children of all backgrounds and ages to attend sessions at Antiochian Village, Camp St. Nicholas in California, Camp St. Thekla in South Carolina, St. John Summer Camp in Alaska, St. Mary of Egypt Camp in Washington, Camp Transfiguration in Quebec, Canada, Camp St. George in Iowa, and Camp St. Raphael in Oklahoma.
At Camp St. Nicholas, August campers will enjoy this dance: "Week 3: Out Of This World--Get ready to reach for the stars and LAUNCH into a dance that is out-of-this-world. Dress up as your favorite outer space characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Or come dressed as an astronaut, star, or planet! The possibilities are endless - just like outer space!" Meantime, in Quebec, Canadian Antiochian children will enjoy "...the Afternoon program, which includes sports, waterfront activities, carpentry, rock climbing, archery, riflery, and more....After dinner, the camp community comes together again for daily Vespers. Each night there is a different program such as a hafli, scavenger hunt, serenade night, campfire, or some activity that the whole camp participates in together."
To view a photo gallery of camper fun and fellowship, click here.