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Archives Faith, fun combine at Guggenheim

Aug. 15, 2018

By Darcy Fargo

SARANAC LAKE – More than 300 youth from around the Diocese of Ogdensburg and beyond gathered for one ofGuggenheim six sessions of hiking, swimming and praising and Camp Guggenheim this year.

“This year, we had 320 campers,” said Camp Director Kelly Donnelly. “The vast majority are from here in the diocese, but we have campers from as far away as Texas and Colorado.”

Camp Guggenheim welcomes around 60 campers per week. Youth ages 12 to 15 attend weeks one through five, while youth ages 16 to 18 attend week six. In all six weeks, the youth participate in a variety of activities encouraged to help them connect to one another, their faith and Jesus Christ.

“Camp is a community,” Donnelly said. “It’s a place where people can more fully come to appreciate their Catholic faith and witness the vibrancy and joy of a life centered on Christ.”

Campers arrive at the Saranac Lake facility on Sunday afternoon and stay until Friday afternoon.
According to Donnelly, a typical day starts with morning prayer and breakfast. Campers then divide into pre-determined groups for morning programs.

“There are four programs – project adventure, waterfront, arts and crafts, and liturgy,” she said. “By the end of the week, campers will have done all four programs.”

In project adventure, campers participate in team-based games, as well as a ropes course. Waterfront includes games and activities on the beach and in the lake. In liturgy, campers plan the evening Mass or reconciliation service. In arts and crafts, each camper makes a piece of a camp-wide project, and there’s generally time to work on independent art and craft projects.

After morning programs, the youth gather for song practice, in which they practice the music for that evening’s Mass or reconciliation service before having time for lunch, a break and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
“With the exception of Friday, when the campers are getting ready to leave, we have adoration every day,” Donnelly said.

Later in the afternoon, campers break up into smaller groups to participate in afternoon programs.
“The campers sign up based on interests,” Donnelly said. “We offer rappelling, hiking, touch football, volleyball, Rosary making, dancing, kayaking, nature walks, card games… a pretty wide variety of activities.”

The campers then get time at the camp’s private beach before participating in the evening Mass.
“We have Mass every night but Wednesday,” Donnelly said. “On Wednesday, we have a reconciliation service. The campers help plan the liturgy and they take active roles in it.”

The night ends with evening programs.

“We have a different evening program every night,” Donnelly said. “We do camp-wide games, a movie night, a variety show, and a formal dinner and dance.”

Camp staff, all but two of whom attended Guggenheim as campers in their younger years, plan the programming in the 10 days prior to the start of the first session.

“We get just over a week together to plan out the programming, complete all our training and learn any needed skills,” Donnelly said.

On Friday, the last day of each camp week, parents and guests join their campers for a closing Mass at 1:30 p.m.



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