Vacation With God
Summer Camp Reflection
I was fortunate to begin summer 2016 with Summer Camp, entitled “Vacation with God”, at the pristine waters and stunning mountain view of Lake George at Silver Bay YMCA Camp, with one hundred children/youths between the ages of 5-20, a good number of caregivers along with Sr. Magdalena from my community of Little Servants Sisters and two Redemptorist Fathers – pastor Fr. Waldemar Latkowski and Fr. Luke from St. John Paul II Parish in Perth Amboy, NJ. It has been an awesome experience for me in many ways – from participating in many great activities to working as a group leader of young teenagers.
The theme of the Camp was “Living the Works of Mercy” – a guide by Sr. Faustina, the secretary of God’s mercy. The Redemptorist Fathers, Sr. Magdalena, some ladies and I were the speakers during the group meetings. We talked about the remarkable saint, Sr. Faustina, and how she became the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time. We also talked about works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual, and how we can help the world despite inadequacies confronted with the needs of the world around us. But our Lord does not ask us to meet every need. We are only asked to do what we can and leave the rest to Him as He works out His loving plan for each human soul. Every good deed in works of mercy is like each level of the ladder that rises up to heaven.
Beyond religious meetings, conversations, prayers, reconciliation and the celebration of Holy Eucharist with the beautiful singing led by Fr. Luke, we were able to explore the beauty of nature, like hiking in the mountains, swimming in the lake, playing soccer ball, and having campfires with my favorite snack, s’mores, or simply spending time with some new friends. And when it rained, we played basketball games in the gym and climbed the wall. In the evening on the last day, a number of children/ youths prepared a talent show; even Sr. Magdalena and I together with all the adult caregivers took a part in this talent show – and I must say it was great fun. This talent show ended up with something that touched my heart, the simple but beautiful words of gratefulness and thanksgiving to all those who worked hard to make this camp happen.
There is something magical about a summer camp experience. Each and every camp is different, but the one surrounded by the awareness of God is always very special, and not only impacts the lives of the children who attend, but also their adult caregivers and leaders as well. God’s presence and message through the presentations of the speakers was so fulfilling, recharging, energizing and very helpful to move out of everyday life with darkness at times. It felt so encouraging not only to believe in God but to act it out as well, first through prayers and then by doing more good deeds for my neighbors. I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself. I know I am the hands and feet of God.
Being part of “Vacation with God” summer camp has been such a blessing, and I can already see fruits in my life from it. I was blessed to lead and watch evidence of God’s grace growing in the youngsters.
I certainly look forward to serving again next summer.
With love and prayers,
Sr. Bozena Tyborowska LSIC