‘The Source and the Summit’
Youth take a deeper look at the Mass at summer camp
Left: 5th, 6th grade camp -- Right: 7th, 8th grade camp
There’s a reason why the scenic canyon lands some dozen miles north of Camp Lakeside (near Scott City) were nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” by a couple who once visited the Holy Land.
For the nearly 60 seventh and eighth graders and fifth and sixth graders who attended the Catholic summer camps at Camp Lakeside June 6-9 and 20-23, respectively, the scenic canyon land looked not unlike the land that Christ once walked.
The theme of the camps was, “The Source and the Summit.”
“We entered the area doing the Stations of the Cross,” said Steven Polley, who displayed photos of a youth carrying a cross, standing amid the canyon surrounded by other youth. Polley is the Director of Youth Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
“It was really powerful. And not only that, but the canyon was once the ocean floor, so for Bishop (John B.) Brungardt, who is a man of science, to be there, he was in hog heaven!”
Sharks teeth have been found in the canyon, as well as other artifacts.
While spiritually (and scientifically) engaging, the hike was only part of the camp experience. Both camps – the one for the fifth and sixth graders and the one for the seventh and eighth graders -- focused on the Mass.
“[Councelor] Katrina Baker started it off perfectly,” Polley said with a smile. “She said, ‘The first thing we do is leave all our cell phones in the car!”
Jason Stein, who led both camps, and Polley took the participants through each part of the Mass, from entering the church, to the Penitential Right, to the Liturgy of the Word, to the Sending Forth at the conclusion of Mass.
“We told them that you don’t leave it in the church” after Mass has ended, Polley explained.
As if to emphasize the notion, before the camps ended, the participants were separated into the parish groups, and each group had to come up with something they would do in their parish after they leave camp.
“I think it went really well,” Polley said. “We received a couple of emails from parents who said how excited their children had been. It’s a great time for kids. They get to hike, be themselves,” all while coming closer to Christ and each other.