Annual California Boys Camp
Posted in Apostolates on August 5, 2016

The 4th Annual St. Michael’s Patrol Camp for Boys in California took place from June 30 to July 2. Again this year, “Les Quatre Mousquetaires Farm” hosted the Camp near the city of Alamo, situated in the rolling hills surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area.  More than 20 boys gathered together to spend three days led by Institute members Canon Olivier Meney, Canon Raphael Ueda and Abbe Kevin Kerscher.  As one of the important missions of the Institute of Christ the King, summer camp makes a vital contribution to the Catholic formation of our youth through fostering holy friendships among like-minded boys and through encouraging young men in the courageous pursuit of the devout life in accordance with the motto of the Institute of Christ the King: Living the Truth in Charity (Ephesians 4:15).

On Thursday, campground activities included Olympics games, Swimming and Campfire. On Friday, after visiting the Chabot Center Archery Range, we spent the afternoon among the redwoods. In the evening, a Solemn High Mass was sung at Saint Margaret Mary Church in honor of the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This day also happened to be the Ordination anniversary of Canon Meney! After Mass, parents, siblings and friends joined in our campfire activities on the lawn of the Church. On Saturday, we left the farm at 5 a.m. for a sailing adventure on the Bay and a hike on Angel island. We returned to the farm and concluded our Camp with First Saturday Mass.

As Psalm 132 says, “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. For there the Lord hath commanded blessing and life for evermore.” The children discovered the presence of God, not only through attendance at Mass, but also in the diverse natural elements which constitute life on earth while having a lot of fun along the way. Perhaps it is just a summer camp, but the experience shared with others in a true Catholic spirit will be a sure foundation for their future. May God bless their tender hearts!

Canon Raphael Ueda, camp chaplain

 

The Camp 2016 in California, the third so far, marked some progress, from good to better. It was an excellent camp. Why can we say so? We can argue from diverse aspects.

It was great because it is California and the weather was as expected: sunny and hot during the day, but not too much; cool at night for good rest. It was great because of the kindness of our guests, the Kindy Baillot, offering their backyard as play and campground.

It was not bad at all when we consider the food.... Even though these teenagers seem to be able to eat all day.  Do you know that 25 children can devour 80 hot dog sausages in a blink of eye... they just disappeared.

It was great, because of the numerous activities: the Olympics, a series of challenges including a rope maze, water balloon fights or relay through diverse obstacles that fostered not only personal accomplishments but a sense of team spirit.  

It was great because of the initiation to archery: understanding and mastering of the deadly instrument, attention to safety rules, to others, personal concentration: breath, aim, breath again, release: the arrow flies... bullseye! ... or maybe not just yet.

Great again to walk the Redwoods and its majestic trees witnessing our "great game": pass a flag to its destination without been caught by the 'enemy'... that tries to do the same... fair bandana fights... and the joy to score for the team.

But even greater... (is that still possible?) Through the generosity of 'Admiral Joni' and Captain Rod Phillips the campers sailed to Angel Island on the Nehemiah for a great hike and the discovery of a breathtaking view of San Francisco and its Golden Gate. Few can pretend to have had such a privileged experience in their life.

On the top of all of these great activities that are just pretexts to hang out together, there is the prayer life that permeates all camp activities. The Rosary was said daily, as penitents on our knees, as pilgrims carrying the Blessed Virgin Mary statue or at sea as apostles, potential fishers of men, on Peter's vessel guided by the Star of the Sea... The daily Mass was above all the center of each day... celebrated in its low, high and solemn high rite!

Was it a successful camp? We can truly say that it was, but not because of the fun and good camaraderie. It would be way too much an horizontal vision... It is the vertical, spiritual aspect that makes this time special.

Was it a great camp...? We cannot really say that! It was too short! See you next year for new adventures.

Canon Olivier Meney, camp chaplain



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