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Archives YCV: Six years of faith-filled summers

Aug. 15, 2012

By Gabriella Haycock
Parishioner, St. Mary’s, Clayton

When most people think of summer camp they probably think of spending time outdoors, going swimming and meeting new people. For me, summer camp has become this and so much more.

I began going to Camp Guggenheim when I was twelve years old. I knew no one going there and I really did not know what to expect as I had only gone to the family camp there before. When I got there, a little before check-in which was at 3 p.m., there was a line almost all the way up the camp road.  I could not believe it and this made me a little bit nervous for the week ahead.

That was six years ago and that first year at Camp Guggenheim changed my life just as much as each of the years to follow. My last three years at camp I got to go to the 16-18 year old week. This week was so much different than what I had experienced my first three years going to camp. In this week most of the campers were a lot more developed in their faith and believed just as much as I did. There were longer periods of adoration, more in-depth conversations and thought-provoking activities. The skit done at reconciliation always made you cry, and service day was probably one of the best parts of the week.

This year was my last year going to camp, but I will be applying for staff next year and I hope to be able to share the faith that I have learned with those that come to camp looking to grow in their faith or find their faith.

As I look back on my time at Camp Guggenheim, I just want to say thank you. Thank you, of course, to all the counselors who were at camp, listened, and helped to guide everyone there on a path to grow in their faith.

Another thank you goes to the priests. I know this year we had the honor of having the newly ordained Father Tom Higman at sixth week, but over the years I have met many priests who are willing to sit down and talk and answer any questions you have.

A final thank you to my parents, for paying for me to go to camp and for driving me the three hours up, being there for every final Mass, and just sitting there  in the silence of the car while I cried on the way home because I did not want to leave.

For anyone out there reading this with children and teens between the ages of 12-18, I highly recommend that you send them to Camp Guggenheim. The time that I spent there changed my life. I am so much stronger in my faith than I ever thought possible and I know it’s okay to be this way.

Staff member Zack Leader probably said it best at the final Mass this year when he said, “Everyone says that you are the future of the church, but I think that is wrong. You are the church right now.” We are the church right now, we are living God’s message in our communities, and I thank Camp Guggenheim for helping me to live that message.

Photo by Dayna Leader
Newly ordained Father Thomas Higman served as chaplain for the sixth and final week of the 2012 season of Camp Guggenheim. Here., he blesses the campers during the closing liturgy. One of those campers, Gabriella Haycock  of Clayton, shares reflections on her Guggenheim experiences in the column below.


The final week of Camp Guggenheim was filled with 16-18 year olds from across the diocese. The campers are shown in front of the “In” before the week’s formal dance.



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