The four-week 2014 camping season at Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY concluded on 2 August. Weekly themes included: Horse Week, Music Week, Ecology Week, and Teen Week. According to camper and webmaster Raphael Platte of Rochester NY, “Saint Andrew’s Camp had a wonderful season this year! Nearly 70 campers came over four weeks to learn, play, and pray.”
On 23 August (Saturday) the summer activities at camp will conclude with an Annual Bicycle Ride fundraiser. To register for the bike ride, go HERE!
Week 1: Horse Week
“Horse Week has continued to be one of the most popular weeks at camp,” said Father John Malcom (Camp Program Director). Through the gracious work of Tasha Federinko, the campers have been able to experience the great joy that comes from working with animals. The campers not only had the opportunity to work with animals on a regular basis, but also learned to take care of them. They were able to go to the Thousand Island’s Region where they took a boat tour along the St. Lawrence River. Religious education focused on the Divine Liturgy. Father David Cowan (Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers NY) discussed the various parts of the Liturgy and Bishop Michael fielded questions from the campers. At the end of the week, campers were treated to a horse show by some of the staff from the horse barn they had been going to during the week. The week ended with a trip to an amusement park at Sylvan Beach.
Week 2: Music Week
Through prayer we grow closer to God. There are many forms of praying, including music and singing. This year the campers and staff learned that song is a gift that God has given us. Throughout the week Saint Andrew’s Camp was filled with music ... from morning and evening prayers to bonfires or just during daily activities! Basil Kozak (Choir Director, South River NJ) led the camp in music education where they learned about how to be an active part of the church choir. Father Jason Vansuch (Saint George Church, Buffalo NY) went through the seven sacraments of the Church and showed the kids a “hands-on” way to remember them all. Mid-way through the week, camp cook Stan was Chrismated into the Church! For most, this was a first experience seeing someone’s full conversion into the Orthodox Christian faith from the start (4 years ago) of his introduction to the Orthodox Church to his Chrismation. The camp was also blessed to have an icon of Saint Anna brought to the chapel by Archimandrite Athanassy from St. Tikhon’s Monastery. On Wednesday, the campers also had the opportunity to visit Holy Myrrh Bearer’s Monastery in Otego NY. While there, they were able to see how the nuns care for animals, and they were given a history of the community. By the end of the week and all of the excitement, everyone had to say “farewell” to new and old friends. The evening was spent at a campfire where Levi Gangi performed on the guitar and sang for the campers.
Week 3: Ecology Week
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Ecology week was fun-filled with t-shirt making, environmental testing, and a surprise trip to the zoo. Gary and Tara Paxton taught everyone how to check the water for animal population count and testing the pH. They also headed a camp beautification project. Garden boxes in front of the chapel were cleaned, re-soiled, mulched and planted with beautiful flowers. During religious education with Father James Worthington (Holy Apostles Church, Lansing NY), classes focused on the importance of the twelve major feast-days of the Church year. The kids were taught to understand the church calendar and why these specific events have such a profound impact on what we believe.
Week 4: Teen Week
The final week at Saint Andrew’s Camp was Teen Week. Teens from all over come together for a time-out of their crazy everyday lives and enjoy the camp, where they can connect with other Orthodox Christians going through the similar life situations. Here, in a safe and loving space, they can feel free to talk openly and sincerely about pressing challenges. During religious education Father John Diamantis (Saint Vladimir Church, Trenton NJ) led a new topic of discussion each day dealing with issues that constantly bombard teens. On Wednesday, everyone loaded onto a bus and went to the Samaritan Center Soup Kitchen in Syracuse NY. They spent the entire day cleaning, serving food, and assisting the staff. When the group returned, Father Diamantis and Father Malcom led a debriefing about the camper’s experience of the day. For many it was their first time at a soup kitchen, and for everyone it was an eye-opening experience. Throughout the week, campers had projects they worked on. Projects during teen week have become an annual tradition and this year the campers worked on a new sign for the camp which was hung at the main entrance. They also planted trees throughout the property. The week ended with a trip to a water park where the teens were able to spend their last full day having fun with new friends and old acquaintances.
For more information about the camp, photos, and the Camp Blog, go to: