Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 18, 2005
Our Lady of Victory builds faith
Campers form friendships that last into adulthood
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Feeling confident and free to live a spiritual life is what Our Lady of Victory Camp strives to provide hundreds of kids and youth every summer.
"Different people get different things from the week-long experience, but what keeps them coming back is the opportunity to live and learn their faith and to be somewhere they can enjoy it," said Lisa MacQuarrie, director of OLVC.
And have a ton of fun doing it.
"The kids are at an age where it can be difficult to defend their faith if they do not have the support. But they are with other kids like themselves. It's what we do here," MacQuarrie said.
A prayerful, friendly place
Located on Gull Lake near Bentley, OLVC is where campers pray, prepare and participate in daily liturgy in a tranquil setting. They learn the intrinsic value of placing God in the centre of their lives. They develop friendships that can last a lifetime.
The camp celebrates the sacraments. There is daily Mass and evening campfires. Guitars are usually hauled out. A marshmallow or weiner roast might flare up at any time.
The campers create numerous crafts, have sing-songs and participate in drama skits. There are water activities and archery sessions.
Weeks are split according to age groups. Counsellors come out for a week of training, from July 3-8. Perhaps 100 or more nine-year-olds follow, with the 10-year-olds arriving the week after that. There is a week off before the 11-year-olds come out July 31-Aug. 5. The next two weeks accommodate the 12 and 13-year-olds.
This Aug. 20, OLVC is looking at holding an alumni reunion, said Brad Brodeur, OLVC chair.
"We are looking at noon on Saturday until later Sunday. It will be a little more than a full day. We are inviting everyone who has been involved with the camp in any way, whether they were a counsellor, camper or team member," Brodeur said.
The goal is to get people together and re-establish friendships. Brodeur said many of the campers were once great friends, who have grown and have families of their own. He knows hundreds of people who experienced the camp for up to 15 years and who, as teenagers, considered the camp the focal point in their spiritual life.
For some people, OLVC was the only tie to a spiritual life. They might have drifted away from the Church as they grew.
Brodeur thinks the reunion could be a perfect opportunity for those people to reconnect with God.
"Maybe a person has fallen away totally or only that his level of commitment has been reduced. Faith does not have to end because a person turns 25," Brodeur said.
"We encourage any parent of an OLVC alumni to advise their adult child of the reunion," he said.
MacQuarrie's first camping experience was 25 years ago. She met her husband Leonard at the camp one summer. They now have six children, three who will be attending this summer.
A lifetime affair
"I was nine years old. My entire family used to go. It was always part of our summer vacation. We all became counsellors and eventually I became a director eight years ago," MacQuarrie said.
People who passed through the camp have gone on to actively serve in the Church. Several males have entered seminary life and young women have entered different formation houses. They have become youth ministers in their parishes. MacQuarrie said she finds that exciting.
"A lot of them go on to Radway and Hinton (John Paul II Bible School) to continue their faith experience. Many of them return when they graduate which is a blessing for us because they receive training and a boost in their faith. It benefits the camp."
Rising from a camper to a cousellor to a team member instills confidence and a sense of responsibility in the youth which fosters their desire to serve God, MacQuarrie said.
"They have the friendships and the foundation to be strong in their faith," she said. "They learn the skills to build upon it. And they want to share it with other people and at the camp they have the opportunity because it is a youth leadership-training focus."
The camp can accommodate up to 160 people, including campers, counsellors and cooks. The facilities at OLVC include cabins equipped with bunk beds, serviced washrooms with showers, a chapel, a kitchen and complete dining facilities.
Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information call Brad Brodeur at 460-1091. Lisa MacQuarrie can be reached at email@example.com.
Letter to the Editor - 05/09/05
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