What would the Shrine Mont Camp blog be without the perspective of Shrine Mont campers? It wouldn’t be a Shrine Mont blog! It has taken me several weeks after leaving the mountain to get back to you. My excuse? The life of a parish priest –back to school, back to church planning, restarting programs, creating new projects, Sunday school meeting, committees forming, and ensuring that things start flow smoothly – mine is not an excuse, just a reality! I am sure our campers and many Shrine Mont staffers are back to their regular routines too! Hopefully, the taste and feel of the mountain is still with them as it is with me.
I saved the best for last though! I spoke with more than twenty campers individually and in groups to see and hear how a few days at Shrine Mont can change a life or at least make a difference in their lives for those precious days at camp.
My questions to the campers for this final blog post was what they liked most and least of their camp week. These are the camper’s insights:
“This is a tight knit community, and everyone belongs.”
“Camp is like family away form home. I love hiking and camping.”
“This is a place to get away from other problems and just have fun. I camped out, and played cards. The upper pavilion dance? It rocked!”
“I wish it hadn’t rained so much.”
“Camp is too short”. I asked, “How long was your camp?” Answer: “Ten days, I wish it were a full two weeks.”
“Food is really good here. My favorite is the happy meal. I love the meat loaf and mac!”
“The counselors.” Different kids named their favorite counselors: “Alice”, “Grace”, “Cole”, “Conor”, “Ted”, “Luke”, “Aryan”
“My counselor is fun and smart.”
Grace walks with James and James gave a big smile when I asked him how much he liked Gracie!
“Food! The BBQ is awesome! My next favorite thing is walkie talkie tag.”
“We do sports, and everyone can play.”
“I definitely don’t like to jog when it rains.”
“Food: all the bacon and eggs I want to eat and the taco salad – oh my God!”
You may or may not know that some Shrine Mont campers are non-verbal. When I asked them how much they liked camp, how much they liked their counselors, and what about the food – wow! I wish I had taken pictures! The joy, the light, the love. I am transformed.
Why is Shrine Mont special? You’ve heard it from the campers! You’ve heard it from the staff, you’ve heard it from the counselors. You are hearing it from me. The mountain changes lives. Life on the mountain is about the love of Christ radiating from so many people every which way you turn. We live in a world that is, well, not always that way. Love abounds on the mountain. Jesus is on that mountain. Yes, it could get intense and loud at times for someone who is not a teenager 😊, but that is what is expected from a teen on a hot (or rainy) summer day at camp! Our mountain, Shrine Mont, is a sacred mountain, like the ones in the Bible. God bless the ministry of Shrine Mont and all the lives that are touched by the mountain and the people on it!
Even on a muggy, rainy summer day, a day at Shrine Mont is better than any other place you can be! Have a great year everyone, God bless you! See you at Camp!
The Rev. Daniel Vélez Rivera blogged during the Saint Elizabeth´s Camp, Saint George´s III Camp, and the Explorer´s II Camp. He is the Vicar of Saint Gabriel´s ~ San Gabriel Episcopal Church in Leesburg, VA.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.