2019 Family Camp and Family Day at Camp Nazareth

Our annual Family Camp and Family Day were held at Camp Nazareth from Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2, 2019.  Family Camp is exactly what it sounds like…families “camping” at Camp Nazareth.  Family Day is the official “kick-off” off the Summer Camping Season.  Both events combine on Sunday and the weekend is really enjoyable for those who come for the whole weekend and those who come just for the Day.

This year’s theme for the Family Camp was “Being a Believing Family”.  The theme was based on Acts 16:31-34 – “…Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household…and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.”  Discussions and presentations were held for the parents and other adults which were offered by Fr. Matthew and Pani Mary Margaret Conjelko.   Theme-based activities and discussions for children were offered by Fr. Stephen Loposky and the Camp Nazareth Staff Family. It was, it is, a timely theme for families.  So much that we see, and so much that we do not see, works against believing in God.  Families must be like the jailor from the verse in Acts who asked St. Paul and St. Silas “Men, what must I do to be saved?”  It is a question that is good for us as families to ask periodically, maybe even every day.  Families must recognize the necessity of faith like they recognize the necessity of food and water; turning to God must be as natural as turning on the TV.

Friday night the Family Camp participants arrived throughout the evening.  Later in the evening they had a campfire beneath the pavilion and played a few games, one of them called “The Contagious Game” which makes for some great fun, although it can also make you quite tired and very dizzy.  Families just hung out, had some s’mores, and left when they felt they were ready for bed.  A great beginning to a really great weekend together.

In addition to the more curriculum-based part of the Family Camp, the schedule included time for parents to be with Metropolitan Gregory and to ask him questions, whatever they wanted to know more about, or whatever they were curious to hear about from His Eminence.  The schedule also included time for families to get on the Low Ropes Course together and see if their communication skills and teamwork abilities were “up to snuff”.  It also included Free-time, swim time, a cadddddddmpfire, a Movie Night, games with straws, toothpicks and marshmallows, and something called “The Lumberjack Games.”  It was great fun with a variety of activities for the entire family.

Services were part of the schedule as well and families had the opportunity to chant Morning Prayers together and to sing the Vespers service together on Saturday.  Sunday morning, the Family Camp participants joined together with those who came for the Family Day Divine Liturgy.

Family Camp is simple in its structure, but somewhat difficult for families to understand and engage.  We are so use to jumping from one activity to the next as kids and parents that downtime and prayer seem boring or out-of-place in our lives.  All the more reason they are so important.  Kids have the “What’s Next?” sickness these days.  Parents tend to feed that sickness, and as a result families struggle with what to do with their “downtime”.  Family Camp gives families an opportunity to go about their day at a different pace and according to a different rhythm.  The hope is that the rhythm is refreshing and that families don’t need a vacation when they get back from vacation.

On Sunday, the Family Camp participants joined together with those who came for Family Day.  The Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory and several of our Diocesan Priests celebrated with him.  Singing duties “fell” to the CN Staff Family joined by the faithful.  It was a peaceful and beautiful Divine Liturgy.

Following Liturgy, and the group photo, a delicious lunch was served in the Lodge.  The lunch included Hoplupki (made and donated by our church of St. Nicholas in Warren, OH), barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, and a variety of other delicious food, including homemade desserts.  The rest of the day included swimming, the Family Day Raffle, hiking, the High Ropes Course, live music, and some great weather.  It was just a very pleasant day all around.

It’s always hard to leave these type of events and days at Camp because they are filled with prayer, family, friends, and fellowship.  Family Day has been happening each year at Camp for a long time.  Family Camp for less time.  Many Diocesan faithful, both living and departed, have enjoyed the Day’s Divine Liturgy and festivities which have always marked the beginning of the Summer Season at Camp.  As with any endeavor, beginning with prayer is the way for us.  Each Summer Season at Camp has begun in the same way.  Camp has been the beneficiary of this blessing from the start of our Family Days, and now with Family Camp the blessing increases.  The Summer at Camp has come and gone already, but for us it began the right way.  It began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.  Thanks be to God for everything.