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Archives YCV:The Guggy Generation

June 13, 2012

By Amanda Conklin
Contributing Writer

I have a bigger extended family than most people I know.  I have never met some of these “family members.” I may never meet some of them. Regardless of this, I am incredibly blessed to be part of the Camp Guggenheim family.

Guggenheim has truly been part of every stage in my life. My parents met at Camp Guggenheim as staff members from 1983-1985. Close to a year after they were married, my little red head was blessed with the waters of baptism and I was welcomed into our Catholic family at Camp Guggenheim.

I was then a summer camper at Guggenheim from the time I was 12 until I was 17 and I attended most of the leadership weekends throughout the year that were offered at camp.

A lot of the firm foundations of my faith were laid at Camp Guggenheim during my years as a camper. Finally, I served on staff at Camp for four additional summers, including one summer as the Program Director.

I consider Camp Guggenheim to be my home on the water. I honestly wouldn’t be the person I am today without Camp. Some of my closest friendships were formed at Camp. Camp Guggenheim confirmed my desire to study Theology with the hopes of someday coming back to serve my diocese, specifically the youth. I pray with hope for the day when I am given that wonderful opportunity.

Many people in our diocese might not realize how lucky we are to have a place like Camp Guggenheim. Several vocations come out of those summers on Lower Saranac Lake. We have had many priestly vocations solidify, including Father Thomas Higman and Deacon Scott Belina, and several marriages grow out of the profound love and faith that reside at Camp each summer. I am incredibly blessed to have worked with such vibrant, intelligent, faith-filled young adults.

The caliber of Catholic theology that is passed on to the campers astounds me. I can even remember one summer when a certain staff member announced that he was going to teach salvation history to the campers all in one day! I was amazed when I witnessed this being done in a fun way and the campers truly grasped everything he was teaching.

There is a reason many tears are shed at camp’s final mass each week. There is a reason that campers post countdowns on their Facebook pages. There is a reason that there were numerous, joyful, deliriously tired staff members cheering at ordinationpalooza. That reason is Christ.

Camp Guggenheim shows us a glimpse of the authentic body of Christ at work in the world. From the beautiful Adirondack scenery, to the faith-filled prayer services and daily Mass, Camp Guggenheim is a sampling of the reality of heaven on earth.

This summer marks the 40th Anniversary of Camp Guggenheim. Even though it’s been three years since I’ve been on staff, I think about camp everyday and will always hold the past, present and future staff and campers of Camp Guggenheim in my prayers.

Let us pray and support Camp Guggenheim and all those who make it possible and hope for another 40 years to come!

photo by colleen miner
Newly ordained Father Thomas Higman and Deacon Scott Belina are shown with members of their “Guggenheim Family” after Father Higman’s May 26 ordination. Many expect to see each other again at the camp’s 40th anniversary party at the end of June.

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