As a first time winter camper at Camp St. Nicholas, I was fortunate to receive such a warm welcome into the community. It was exciting to begin the New Year seeing the people I love and attending camp. Besides that I was overjoyed to renew my connection with God while preparing for the Feast Day of Theophany. I would have to declare my favorite part of the weekend being the Christian Education classes with John (Mahfouz) and Katrina (Bitar). During these sessions we learned how to identify our talents and how to use them to better our lives and the lives of those we love and most of all to serve God. The theme of this past session at camp was, “Knowing your “incredible” gifts and using them”. We discussed the many ways to seek out our callings and how to respond based on our new found gifts.
The organized schedule made the weekend flow easily. We started off the day in church then continued to breakfast were we could socialize with our fellow campers. After praying and thanking the cooks for yet another wonderful meal, we then headed to Christian Education. The activities and games that were built into the lesson plans made the classes interesting and entertaining, but mainly educating. After the first class, we went to lunch, then onto the second class and finished with Vespers in the Chapel.
The first day of the retreat it snowed. This only helped me remember to thank God for nature and such beautiful weather. As Father David Kruse mentioned, the snow can be thought of as a Baptism for the campsite. In other words the snow was basically a washing of the campground; a rejuvenation.
There is never a sense of nostalgia when at Camp St. Nicholas. It’s a comfortable environment in every way imaginable. I can’t help but enjoy every moment spent there. The best part of camp is creating the memories that will last a lifetime. Many of the camp goers are second generation campers. I most definitely will be returning next summer and look forward to my younger sister and cousins attending the summer session. In the future, maybe even our generation’s children will become long time attendees of Camp St. Nicholas, our home away from home.
By: Jenna Badra of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, San Diego, CA