Looking for a great camp along the shores of a great lake? The Catholic Youth Organization offers a traditional summer camp opportunity for kids and families – with an infusion of the Catholic faith – along the shores of Lake Huron.
“Every summer, we have a theme and this summer’s is ‘Be His Light,'” says Jenny Fehn, marketing coordinator for CYO Camps.
Throughout the programming and events, campers will learn how to be a light in the world for Jesus Christ. “We focus on how faith impacts kids’ lives and their relationship with God and each other. We want to show them how to shine God’s light in their life toward other people. As we allow Jesus to shine his love into our hearts we too will shine brightly as we reflect that light to the world,” she adds.
The camps feature large group activities like campfires and games that involve traditional camp fun with biblical themes, along with a daily Catechesis. Each day, there is a challenge for the kids and the staff to live out the camp’s theme and talk about what they have learned from it.
“The camps are very centered on character development and virtues. Those are naturally supported by the atmosphere of camp,” Fehn says. The adult counselors and leaders, she adds, are good role models who help teach the campers cooperation, communication and teamwork as part of the daily life at camp.
The CYO camps start June 30 and run through Aug. 3. Campers can attend mini – four-day, three-night programs, week-long programs or one of the specialty camps that runs for seven-days and six-nights. Camp is open to kids ages 7-16.
“Every week is going to be different because even though it’s the same theme all summer long, the daily Catechesis is written so it doesn’t repeat. The evening activities, campfire activities and skits also change every week,” Fehn says.
Pioneer Camp for kids ages 14-16 is one of CYO’s specialty camp offerings. It includes outdoor camping, cooking on a campfire, an overnight canoe trip and learning the skills needed to survive outdoors. There is also a horseback riding camp and a sailing camp for beginners and advanced sailors.
During the first four weeks, the CYO camps will have co-ed and boys-only programs. The remainder of the summer will be all-girls programming. The CYO camps are the only Catholic camps that offer all-girl programs. On scheduled weekends, there are family camps available.
“The kids are housed by age, gender and program. The cabins are modern with modern facilities and a dining hall for meals,” Fehn says.
Throughout the camp, kids participate in activities like archery, arts and crafts, sports such as basketball, soccer and volleyball, chapel, weekly mass, a climbing wall, nature exploration programs, Gaga Ball, swimming in Lake Huron and a high ropes course for ages 12 and up. There are off-site trips, as well.
Two adult counselors supervise the campers at all times. Fehn says the staff is chosen based on a set of qualifications, personal references and background checks. They are vetted and trained for working with kids to provide morally sound leadership, she adds.
“The American Camp Association proves that camp is life-changing for kids. It doesn’t leave them. It’s a more powerful experience than they can get anywhere else because they learn hands-on and live it out in their lives,” Fehn says.
At the CYO camps, the campers practice living out their faith in a deeper way, and it will impact them enough to continue that at home. “We have been tasked by the Archbishop to help create a ‘joyful band of missionary disciples’ across the archdiocese,” says Christopher Werner, Executive Director of CYO, “and our summer programming is part of that effort.”
According to Fehn, the camp environment is diverse. About two-thirds of the kids and staff are Catholic. There are kids who come from other Christian faiths, as well as non-Christian faiths. Fehn adds that the camp also has international campers from Canada and Mexico.
The Catholic Youth Organization also aims to make the programs affordable for all campers. There are early registration, multi-session and multi-sibling discounts, as well as scholarships for campers.
The CYO Boys Camp is located in Carsonville and just a few miles up the road North of Port Sanilac is the CYO Girls Camp. Both properties are on the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Huron.
The Catholic Youth Organization is located at 12 State St., Detroit. The CYO Boys Camp is located at 1295 S. Lakeshore Road, Carsonville. The CYO Girls Camp is located at 1564 N. Lakeshore Road, Port Sanilac.
For more information on the Catholic Youth Organization camps, including registration information, visit the CYO Camps website.