The Crux guide to Catholic summer camps

The Crux guide to Catholic summer camps

Camp season is around the corner, and residential Catholic camps have been serving generations of Catholic families for decades. What they have in common: promoting a love of the outdoors, fellowship, and faith. Each summertime camp provides this in its own way. Read on for more about what makes each

Camp season is around the corner, and residential Catholic camps have been serving generations of Catholic families for decades. What they have in common: promoting a love of the outdoors, fellowship, and faith. Each summertime camp provides this in its own way. Read on for more about what makes each camp special, then visit their websites for more information.

CALIFORNIA

Whispering Winds
www.whisperingwinds.org
17606 Harrison Park Road
Julian, CA 92036
760-765-1600

Cost: $290 for middle-school camp; see rates posted online for family camps

Located in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour from San Diego, Whispering Winds offers youth and family camps, including a three-day camp in July for families with developmentally disabled children that focuses on respite, support, prayer, and fun. As the camp says, “Experience the presence of God in the beauty and splendor of His creation.”

A four-day camp for middle schoolers — those entering 7th through 9th grades – is offered in late July with swimming, a zipline, and archery intermixed with prayer, confession, and Mass.

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COLORADO

Camp Wojtyla
www.camp-w.com
2282 County Road 87
Jamestown, CO 80455
303-586-1799

Cost: $550 – $775

Nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Catholic Camp Wojtyla (voy-tee-wa) leads campers through adventures in the wilderness and faith formation to assist middle- and high-school youth in “a joyful and transformative relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.” Boys and girls attend separate six-day adventure camps (middle schoolers) and eight-day “extreme expeditions” (high schoolers).

Middle schoolers at adventure camp sleep in teepees, then hike, fish, practice archery, and do arts and crafts during the day; camp also includes a daily outdoor Mass and other spiritual formation. High schoolers who embark on an alpine expedition will rock climb, hike one of Colorado’s 13,000-foot peaks, and go whitewater rafting; they’ll live out of teepees for the week, which also includes daily outdoor Mass and other spiritual formation, including wilderness solo time.

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FLORIDA

Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp
www.goodcounselcamp.org
8888 East Gobbler Drive
Floral City, FL 34436
352-726-2198

Cost: $360 – $615

Founded in 1948, Good Counsel Camp is part of the Youth Ministry program of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla. Located on the shore of Lake Tsala Apopka near the west coast of Florida, the camp provides outdoor adventures and helps campers develop “a greater knowledge and appreciation of nature and its Creator.” Mass, Benediction, Bible vigils, and meal prayers are part of every day during one- and two-week sessions.

Activities include archery, boating, fishing, woodworking and other crafts, a ropes course, riflery, and plenty of recreational sports. The camp professes to provide an experience “where a kid can be a kid!”

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IOWA

Catholic Youth Camp at St. Thomas More Center
www.stmcenter.com
6177 Panorama Road
Panora, Iowa 50216
515-309-1936

Cost: $199 – $335

Serving campers from throughout the Diocese of Des Moines for more than 50 years at Lake Panorama, CYC (Iowa) offers students in 3rd through 12th grades “a week of prayer and fellowship, adventure and joy.” A family camp is offered in July and a highly touted Adventure Camp for ages 12 and up is offered for a week in June and again in July. Adventure Camp teaches survival skills, such as fire starting and cooking outdoors.

Regular camp activities include horseback riding, ziplining, rock climbing, field games, and swimming. Campers will be immersed in the sacraments, Scripture, and prayer: Each day includes a faith program, Mass, and evening chapel.

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MARYLAND

Camp St. Charles
www.campstcharles.com
15375 Stella Maris Drive
Rock Point, MD 20682
301-934-8799

Cost: $775 – $1,375

Established in 1952 on a river peninsula not far from Washington, D.C., Camp St. Charles offers one- and two-week sessions for boys and girls ages 6 through 15.

Activities, which encourage campers to connect “with God and His Creation and unplug from the busyness of modern life,” include horseback riding, swimming and tubing, archery, a ropes course, a high-ropes Giant Swing, and arts and crafts.

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MASSACHUSETTS

Camp Holy Cross
www.campholycross.org
108 Cape St.
Goshen, MA 01032
413-684-0125

Cost: $310

A camp of the Diocese of Springfield since 1930, it’s located on 250 acres of woods and fields on the Upper Highland Reservoir in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. Two one-week overnight sessions are offered for ages 8 to 15 (day camp hours and rates also are available).

The traditional camp includes athletics such as swimming, kickball, hiking, outdoor games, and a giant slip-and-slide. Other activities include campfires, crafts, dancing, and movie night. A Junior Counselor Training Camp for ages 14 and 15 includes CPR and First Aid training. Both camps include daily faith-based activities.

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MICHIGAN

Camp Sancta Maria
www.campsanctamaria.org
5361 West M-32
Gaylord, MI 49734
248-822-8199 (June 1 – Aug. 31, call 231-546-3878)

Cost: $175 – $659

Bordering two inland lakes on 96 acres of woods in Michigan, the camp offers one- and two-week sessions for boys and girls, separately, and mother/daughter and father/son weekend camps.

With the adage that “kids don’t remember their best day of television,” the camp offers a variety of outdoor activities, including a 22-station ropes course, rock wall, zipline, archery, rocketry, horseback riding, and lake activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, and beach volleyball. It also professes to bring Christ and the Catholic message into every aspect of camp life.

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MINNESOTA

Catholic Youth Camp
www.cycamp.org
19590 520th Lane
McGregor, MN 55760
651-636-1645

Cost: $350 – $550

Providing faith-based camp programming for youth ages 7 to 17 since 1947, CYC (Minnesota) is situated on the point of a beautiful peninsula jutting into Big Sandy Lake, about 12 miles north of McGregor and 2.5 hours north of Minneapolis. Campers reside in cabins divided by age and gender for weeklong camp sessions. Leadership sessions and family camp also are provided.

Activities include archery, swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, and group games. Each day starts and ends with camp chapel and weekly Mass is celebrated.

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NEW JERSEY

JusticeworX Trenton
www.faithjustice.org
Three locations: Trenton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Appalachia, WV
609-498-6216

Cost: $525 – $700

Rooted in the Catholic tradition and run by the nonprofit Center for FaithJustice, this camp “affirms the essential relationship between what we believe and how we live.” Weeklong service immersion retreats, hosted by St. James Parish in Trenton, N.J., the St. Thomas Aquinas Center in Philadelphia, Penn., and the Dunlow Community Center in Appalachia, W. Va., run through most of the summer. Participation is open to students who have completed a year of high school (the Appalachia program is limited to students who have completed sophomore, junior, or senior year in the past academic year).

Each day begins with prayer and includes exposing students to different kinds of service projects. Evening activities tie themes of faith, service, and justice to students’ particular site experience.

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NORTH CAROLINA

Camp Crestridge for Girls
www.ridgecrestcamps.com/girls
105 Balsam Road
Ridgecrest, NC 28770
800-968-1630

Cost: $700 – $6,640

Camp Crestridge for Girls, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is “designed for individual attention, maximum fun, and the safety of each child.” The five-night Starter Camp is for new campers who have completed grades 1 through 5. Family camps and “mother and daughter” camps are offered. Most sessions are two to eight weeks long.

More than 25 activities, including archery, drumming, needlework, riflery, lacrosse, and plenty of other outdoor sports — in addition to Bible study — are offered to campers. The overarching spiritual emphasis is to help each camper grow in Christ “in a brand new way.”

Camp Ridgecrest for Boys
www.ridgecrestcamps.com/boys
290 Yates Ave.
Ridgecrest, NC 28770
800-968-1630

Cost: $700 – $6,640

Camp Ridgecrest for Boys, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is “designed for individual attention, maximum fun, and the safety of each child.” The five-night Starter Camp is for new campers who have completed grades 1 through 5. Family camps and “father and son” camps are offered. Most sessions are two to eight weeks long.

More than 25 activities, including woodworking, drumming, riflery, rocketry, and plenty of outdoor sports, are offered to campers in addition to Bible study. The overarching spiritual emphasis is to help each camper grow in Christ “in a brand new way.”

* * * * *

OHIO

Catholic Youth Summer Camp (CYSC)
www.cysc.com
Business office: 7881 Bluefield St.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Camp is held at three locations:
All high-school sessions are held at Hidden Hollow Camp in Belleville, Ohio
Early summer middle-school sessions are held at Lutheran Memorial Camp in Fulton, Ohio
Later summer middle-school sessions are held at Camp Otyokwah near Mohican State Park near Butler, Ohio.
614-657-1822

Cost: $495/week

Founded in 2001 to “help young people ‘live the adventure’ of their Catholic faith,” CYSC serves students from 6th through 12th grades in the Dioceses of Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo.

CYSC calls itself “a high adventure camp” with weeklong activities that include jet skis, water tubing, paintball, go-carts, archery, zip lining, rock climbing, a ropes course, mountain boarding, and more. A nightly “club” includes inspiring talks, skits, and teen testimonials related to camp themes.

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OREGON

Camp Howard, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO)
www.cyocamphoward.org
11010 SE Camp Howard Road
Corbett, Oregon 97019
503-231-9484

Cost: $120 – $535

Established in 1953, Camp Howard is an overnight CYO camp located 45 minutes from downtown Portland that serves the youth of Oregon and southwest Washington. The camp offers three-day and longer camps for ages 6 to 14 and a Counselor-in-Training program for teens ages 15 to 17.

The General Camp is traditional, offering activities such as swimming, archery, hiking, paintball games, sports, and crafts. A multitude of specialty camps include paintball, “budding artists,” fishing, spy kids, archery, and more.

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PENNSYLVANIA

Camp “R”
www.catholicyouthassociation.com
Laurel Hill State Park
228 Summer Place Lane
Rockwood, PA 15557
814-352-8403

Cost: $350

Located in the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania and operated by the Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh for more than 75 years, these weeklong camps are offered for boys and girls ages 7 to 13.

With a 63-acre lake as its focal point, activities include swimming, volleyball, hiking, games, and scavenger hunts.

JusticeworX Philly
www.faithjustice.org
Three locations: Trenton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Appalachia, WV
609-498-6216

Cost: $525 – $700

Rooted in the Catholic tradition and run by the nonprofit Center for FaithJustice, this camp “affirms the essential relationship between what we believe and how we live.” Weeklong service immersion retreats, hosted by St. James Parish in Trenton, N.J., the St. Thomas Aquinas Center in Philadelphia, Penn., and the Dunlow Community Center in Appalachia, W. Va., run through most of the summer. Participation is open to students who have completed a year of high school (the Appalachia program is limited to students who have completed sophomore, junior, or senior year in the past academic year).

Each day begins with prayer and includes exposing students to different kinds of service projects. Evening activities tie themes of faith, service, and justice to students’ particular site experience.

* * * * *

TENNESSEE

Camp Marymount
www.campmarymount.com
1318 Fairview Boulevard
Fairview, TN 37062
615-799-0410

Cost: $590 – $2,215

Serving the Nashville Diocese and other families for more than 70 years, Camp Marymount offers a summer camp experience “filled with community, faith, and fun” on 340 acres in Tennessee. Four overnight summer sessions – two for girls, two for boys – are offered for students entering 1st through 11th grades. They include one- to three-week sessions.

Activities include archery, fishing, horseback riding, disc golf, arts and crafts, and plenty of recreational sports. A one-week Adventure Camp for older campers includes white-water rafting, camping in state parks, museum and aquarium trips, ziplining, and more.

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TEXAS

The Pines Catholic Camp
www.thepines.org
300 White Pine Road
Big Sandy, TX 75755
903-845-5834

Cost: $645 – $1,350

Established in 1988 to serve several Dallas parishes, The Pines helps young people “grow in their relationship with Jesus” during weeklong and two-week sessions for 2nd through 12th graders. The camp offers two-week Counselors-in-Training sessions for incoming students who will be seniors in high school.

Age-specific spiritual programming includes morning prayer, Bible study, games, and chapel worship. Daily activities include games such as Capture the Flag and “Messy Wars,” hiking, zipline, climbing wall, high and low ropes, riflery, tie dye and other crafts, and music.

Tecaboca (Texas Catholic Boys Camp)
www.tecaboca.com
5045 Junction Highway
Mountain Home, TX 78058
830-866-3425

Cost: $550 – $1,275

Tecaboca, a Marianist Center for Spiritual Retreat, has run a summer camp for boys since 1937 (at its current Texas location since 1951) with a one-week camp for first-time campers ages 7 through 10 and two-week sessions for boys ages 8 to 14. Tecaboca “provides a place and program for people to listen to God and go forth to make a faith filled with difference.”

Camp activities include a new climbing tower and two ziplines, horseback riding, archery and riflery, and swimming and fishing. Games include Frisbee football and Capture the Flag. Each day begins with Mass or a spiritual activity and ends with a camp-wide activity followed by prayer time.

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WASHINGTON

Camp Don Bosco, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO)
www.seattlearchdiocese.org
1401 327th Ave. NE
Carnation, WA 98014
206-382-4591

Cost: $350 – $645

Serving the Archdiocese of Seattle, Camp Don Bosco offers a 4-day “mini” camp for first-time campers entering 1st and 2nd grades. Weeklong sessions for campers in 3rd through 9th grades include horse, Lego, and Laser Tag camps.

Activities are intermixed daily with prayer, reflection, and the sacraments, and include swimming, hiking, and archery. As the camp says, “Discover nature and awaken your faith.”

Camp Hamilton Junior High Camp & Nanamakee Adventures
Catholic Youth Organization (CYO)
www.seattlearchdiocese.org
25405 Lake Fontal Road
Monroe, WA 98272
206-382-4591

Cost: $495 – $700

This CYO camp has offered weeklong adventure camps for those entering 6th through 9th grades in remote wilderness at Lake Hannan since 1990. “CYO campers experience incredible fun, personal growth, deepened faith and friendships that
last a lifetime,” camp organizers say.

Campers at Extreme Camp participate in adventures such as paintball games and a high-ropes course. Campers who attend the Nanamakee Rock ’n’ River Trip spend several days rock climbing and river rafting in the Cascade mountains.

Camp Hamilton High School Camp
Catholic Youth Organization (CYO)
www.seattlearchdiocese.org
25405 Lake Fontal Road
Monroe, WA 98272
206-382-4591

Cost: $550 – $750

Several options await incoming 9th through 12th graders at this CYO camp in remote wilderness at Lake Hannan: an adventure camp, Counselor-in-Training and Wrangler-in-Training camps and several Nanamakee adventure trips.

Camp days begin and end with prayer interspersed with activities such as swimming, boating, paintball games, a 40-foot-high ropes course, archery, craft projects, and more. The Nanamakee camps include the following trips: rock climbing and river float, kayaking and whale watching, and horseback-riding pack trip.

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WEST VIRGINIA

JusticeworX Appalachia
www.faithjustice.org
Three locations: Trenton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Appalachia, WV
609-498-6216

Cost: $525 – $700

Rooted in the Catholic tradition and run by the nonprofit Center for FaithJustice, this camp “affirms the essential relationship between what we believe and how we live.” Weeklong service immersion retreats, hosted by St. James Parish in Trenton, N.J., the St. Thomas Aquinas Center in Philadelphia, Penn., and the Dunlow Community Center in Appalachia, W. Va., run through most of the summer. Participation is open to students who have completed a year of high school (the Appalachia program is limited to students who have completed sophomore, junior, or senior year in the past academic year).

Each day begins with prayer and includes exposing students to different kinds of service projects. Evening activities tie themes of faith, service, and justice to students’ particular site experience.

* * * * *

WISCONSIN

Camp Gray
www.campgray.com
E10213 Shady Lane Road
Reedsburg, WI 53959
608-356-8200

Cost: $475 – $600

Camp Gray is the Catholic Summer Camp and year-round Retreat Center of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, providing nine-week sessions for campers in 2nd to 12th grades and a Family Camp weekend each Labor Day weekend on 225 acres south of Mirror Lake State Park.

Activities include fishing, canoeing, archery, rock climbing, arts and crafts, and horseback riding. Evenings bring campers together for campfires and games such as Capture The Flag. The camp says it blends “faith, friends, and fun.”

WeHaKee Camp for Girls
www.wehakeecampforgirls.com
N8104 Barker Lake Road
Winter, WI 54896
800-582-2267

Cost: $2,175 – $6,495

Founded in the tradition of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in 1923, WeHaKee offers two-week, four-week, and six-week sessions for girls ages 7 to 17; a five-day camp for families in August, and a three-day camp for mothers and daughters (or grandmothers, nieces, and siblings) near Hunter Lake in Wisconsin.

Activities include horseback riding, tennis, archery, and windsurfing; dance, drama, music, ceramics, and jewelry-making. The camp says it strives to strengthen campers’ “relationships with God, self, others, and nature.” The program is based on social justice principles and universal Gospel values; participants of all faiths and spiritual backgrounds are welcome.

Compiled by Jennifer Forker

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