Summer is a great time to learn more about what it means to live out stewardship and how we can apply to our everyday lives. That is why, each summer, middle school students from our parish community have the opportunity to participate in the Make a Difference Camp.
“The Make a Difference Camp is an opportunity to experience faith in action,” says Rita Hemmer. “Our Catholic faith calls us to help others.”
The camp allows students to serve in the local community while having fun and receiving spiritual formation. This year’s camp takes place July 16, 17, and 18, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
While the camp had previously been an overnight experience, this year’s program will take place during the day and evening. Students entering into seventh, eighth, and ninth grades are welcome to participate. The students are asked to attend all three days of the service retreat.
During the day, students experience what it means to be called to serve those in need, lending a hand to several community service agencies and projects. The evenings are devoted to fun and meaningful activities, with the goal of encouraging the youth in using their gifts for others, developing a sense of stewardship and community.
“Sunday is filled with fun team-building activities, lunch, work at Hall County Historical Burlington Station, and softball practice with the Special Olympians,” Rita says. “Monday and Tuesday are prayer, worksites, fun and meaningful afternoon activities, and impactful evening prayer services. Tuesday ends with time at Island Oasis and a special commissioning.”
Rita says the camp offers service projects in line with prayer experiences that are relevant to the participants.
“It helps them experience Christ and show them that their words and actions make a difference in their life and the lives of others,” she says.
There are several community service agencies that the camp has historically assisted.
“The camp has a tradition of helping at Hope Harbor, Central Nebraska Humane Society, Willow Rising (formerly the Crisis Center), Orphan Grain Train, and the Parish Thrift Store,” Rita says. “Sometimes we are able to help out one of our elderly parishioners with their garden and yard work.”
Parishioners are encouraged to pray for the intercession of the Holy Spirit for the youth’s hearts to be touched and changed to follow Christ.
For more information, please visit www.saintleos.org/mad-camp.html.