The Gospel and a Paint Brush: Helping Relaunch Summer Camp in the Archdiocese

The Gospel and a Paint Brush: Helping Relaunch Summer Camp in the Archdiocese

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Since the 60s, Our Lady of Victory Camp has been a beloved place for youth to come and experience the love of their Lord in a real and dramatic way. I remember attending OLVC in 2014 in junior high and being a nervous wreck upon arrival. But the joy of the camp counselors and the companionship of my fellow campers had left me and hundreds of other kids with many fond memories that had me yearning to return to camp soon. Unfortunately, COVID caused OLVC (and many other summer camps) to shut down temporarily, leaving people of all ages with a taste of dreary despondence. While I saw this sense of depression among the youth at my youth group, I’ve watched it slowly fade away, and now that camps are reopening, we can look forward to summers filled with camaraderie and Jesus Culture once again! 


But before OLVC can reopen there are plenty of renovations to do, so for two days I went out to the campgrounds with the rest of the summer interns and met with Deacon Claude Baril, who is organizing the renovations of OLVC. Since Newman Theological College is running a summer camp at the OLVC grounds at the end of July we wanted to help prepare our hosts and familiarize ourselves with the area beforehand, and what better way to do that than helping build the place up again! After Deacon Claude laid out the renovation situation for us, we realized the list of work to be done was overwhelming and profuse, with everything from concrete pouring to cutlery procurement. He got us all to help by painting some notable areas like the fence at the camp’s entrance and the interior of the mess hall. Elton, a fellow intern, and I set out outside to paint a gable on the exterior of the mess hall. While sitting on the scaffolding, I had a not-good-but-adequate view of the camps grounds, and after some exploration later in the evening I was really left with the impression that we were, and still are, a part of something historic and profound.


There is a generation of young people, all the way from elementary to high school, that have had vital years of formation and friendship taken away from them. This is a crisis; so many have missed out on critical catechesis that will require me, my fellow interns, our classmates at the College, and other young faithful Catholics to help mend and heal so that the next generation of Christians isn't one that's isolated and incapable of growth, but rather one that is full of lively evangelists, enthusiastic leaders, and lovers of Christ. The first place to start this generation’s resurrection is at camp, the same place where hundreds of other young adults and Christian youth have received their formation. Those lost in the recent pandemic needed a fresh coat of paint over their quarantined hearts, and I hope we can give them that. While it may be hard to see the fruits of our work now, it is my hope that in the same way that I can look at the gable I painted and say, “wow I helped paint that,” I will one day be able to look at a new youth minister or student at NTC and say “wow, I helped shape that.”

Article written by: Samuel River, BXVI Intern and 3rd year Bachelor of Arts student at Newman Theological College

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