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Vacation With God
Once again, for the seventh year now, Blessed John Paul II Parish in Perth Amboy, NJ organized its wonderful summer camp titled “Vacation with God.” It was an unforgettable experience which I had the privilege of participating in for the fifth year now. As a teenager, many of us often think how to plan our time during the summer. Not only does “Vacation with God” provide wonderful faith enrichment, but also creates friendships and allows for everyone to enjoy the wonderful outdoors with all the planned daily activities. This year’s summer camp was held at the Silver Bay YMCA around the magnificent Lake George in New York.
Each year a different theme is discussed, this year’s being faith. Each day we broke down the bigger picture of faith into the 6 main truths of our faith. During our daily morning prayers in the beautiful Silver Bay chapel, we were able to see colorful banners, different each day, illustrating one of the six main truths of our faith which we were to explore on that specific day. After our morning prayer, we ate breakfast as a group and then went back to our rooms for some free time. After our free time, we had group meetings (groups were made according to age.) During these group meetings, the counselors discussed in depth the topic of the day and shared with us many valuable life lessons. Following our group meetings, we all had the privilege to celebrate Mass together as one big group. After Mass the activities varied daily. Some days when we had nice weather, we were able to spend time in the sunshine on the beach of Lake George. Other days we had various sports activities in the resort’s gymnasium. Everyone found something they liked whether it was volleyball, soccer or some other sport.
On Wednesday, because the weather was so beautiful, we were able to take a hiking trip into the mountains surrounding Lake George. We separated into two groups – the older participants took the harder path and the younger participants took the slightly easier path. The hike up the mountain was difficult, but the breathtaking view at the top made everything worth it.
On Friday we climbed the resort’s rock climbing wall. All the participants had such an amazing time.
Every night, each group was responsible to prepare a performance. Some of the skits and performances included a night of poems about Blessed John Paul II, a talent show, a discussion about the risks in today’s world, guess the saint, and many more. Almost every night, when weather permitted, we gathered around a campfire and made delicious Polish kielbasa and smores.
As you can see in the photos, we were all very busy and everyone always found something enjoyable for them to do. The participants not only enjoyed all of the activities planned for them but also created many friendships and enjoyed each other’s company.
Saturday quickly approached and it was time to leave. The summer camp ended in a very special way as we celebrated Mass outside. It was so beautiful being surrounded by the breathtaking view of the lake and all of the trees while thanking God for the wonderful week spent together. Our summer camp “Vacation with God” may be over but the memories created will be forever in our hearts.
For more information about our summer camp or about Blessed John Paul II Parish, please visit www.johnpaulsecond.com. Thank you Fr. Waldemar and Fr. Łukasz.
– Ula Pawka
NOTE: See more photos in the Post Eagle – printed edition