By Jesse Heine
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

For the sixth summer, 10 days in June, young campers from Juneau gathered at the Shrine of St. Therese for the Catholic Kids/ Youth Camp sponsored by St. Paul’s parish. This year they sponsored two camp sessions with kids grades 1st-5th and one middle school aged camp, with a total of 56 campers and 18 staff members. During this time campers celebrated the theme of the “Pope’s Choice Awards” and reflected on how we are each called to respond, like the saints, to be faithful, speak God’s truth, and serve one another. It is the call that each of us have to be priests, prophets, and kings. 994800_10151684462884767_1317402815_n

In our call to faithfulness campers took time to learn how to better connect with God through the many forms of prayer such as adoration, the divine mercy chaplet, and praying with colors (a form of colorful journaling). As they reflected on their call to speak, campers learned that they share God’s message not only through their words, but through their actions. Finally, campers reflected on their call to service. Armed with the gifts and talents they have been given it is their responsibility to use their gifts to help others, not only in the future but today.

In this time at the Shrine, campers also spent time playing games, praising with song, creating beautiful art, and growing closer as a community of faith. It is amazing to witness the friendships formed and faith that has increased with these young people over a very short time. It is inspiring to witness the high school counselors responding to their call to share their gifts and talents with the younger children. It is AWESOME to see the church responding to their vocations.
Special thanks to: Angela Smith (Co-Director/Music Director), Kimberly Watts (Skit writer/ teacher), Merijke Coenraad ( Lesson writer/ teacher), Lindy Olmstead (support staff), Carl Uchytil (Crafts), Lydia Smith and Julia Smith (Music), Aaron Abella, Sean Manlulu, Jason Beedle, Melanie Shaw, Shannon Olmstead, Morgan Rivest, Garrett Nitschke (counselors), Chuck Van Kirk (Head cook), Jake Coffman, Beth Rivest, Sean McCormick (support cooks), Marilyn Monagle, Fr. Pat Travers, the Shrine staff, and all the families, parents, and campers that have supported this camp over the last 6 years!