by NZ CATHOLIC staff
New friendships, intense fun, lasting memories — a good summer camp can be the highlight of the summer and can set the foundation for the coming year.
For the past four years, volunteers from around Auckland have joined together to offer five days of fun, formation and faith for intermediate and junior high school young people at
Hunua Falls, south Auckland, in the annual Summit Catholic Summer Camps.
More than 50 young people gathered from January 11 to 15 from around Auckland.
Summit summer camps have been proven to help girls and boys (ages 11-15) experience Christ in a personal way, as their best friend — in the context of a camp packed with fun and challenging activities, engaging workshops, daily Mass, adoration and new friendships.
One 16-year-old team leader, Marion Breinhorst, reflected on the experience.
“I loved how all the girls at the camp came together to celebrate the Eucharist. You really had to be there to feel that sense of community. The girls also kept up an amazing spirit all
the way throughout the camp, at activities and at the talks, and I was proud to be a leader of one group of girls whom I hope will carry God with them forever.”
This year some senior girls joined to take part in a separate “Summit Mission Track” where they were allowed to exercise their leadership by volunteering in community outreaches.
They learnt about and supported the ministries of Family Life International, South Auckland Christian foodbank and the Little Sisters of the Poor Retirement Home.
Alexia Nasey shared her experience. “I actually understood what Jesus meant by caring for
the sick, giving food to the poor, etc., because I saw it with my own eyes and learnt how I could go out into the community and help instead of just listening to someone talk about it
and leaving it at the back of my mind.”
A mother of two campers said her boys loved their time at the camp. “They talked and talked about all they did and the people involved. They had great fun and great faith time. It seemed to have a good balance of these two things. They are both keen to do it again next year.
“As a parent I felt the camp organisation and running were fantastic and I left my boys there feeling confident they were in good hands and were safe.”
Preparation has already begun for the next camps, to be held from January 13 to 17 next year, with fundraising goals of $10,000 to help subsidise the fees for the campers.
As Fr Lawrence McClure, LC, chaplain for the two camps, said: “So many have said that they have drawn closer to Christ this week — that makes it all worth it.”