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Archives Campers get taste of Guggenheim at fun days

Aug. 25, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

SARANAC LAKE – While COVID shuttered teen camp at Camp Guggenheim for the second summer, the camp fun returned for two Guggenheim Summer Fun Days.

Guggenheim campers – returning and new alike – attended the two fun days on July 30 and 31. Youth ages 12 to 15 attended July 30, and ages 16 to 18 attended on July 31.

“The Guggenheim Summer Fun Days presented a wonderful opportunity for youth to visit for the first time or re-visit Guggenheim Summer Camp,” said diocesan Youth Ministry Director Thomas Semeraro. “Even though strict COVID protocols were in place, everyone had a wonderful time. The campers in attendance had the chance to dive into what was really a week of camp squeezed into one day! Kudos to the volunteer staff of counselors for putting together wonderful programming. The (two days) were full of fun and activities, as well as time for the campers to sit in the stillness and beauty of Guggenheim.”

The youth, many of whom were missing their normal camp experiences, were happy to have the opportunity to spend the day at Guggenheim.

“It was a great idea,” said Elizabeth Eggleston, 15, of Theresa. “We were able to at least have a part of camp, even if it wasn’t a whole week. We did everything we would’ve done at camp minus the campfire and cookout. We did a big game, we played on the beach and swam, we had Mass, and we played volleyball.”

Eggleston said this would’ve been her third year at camp had COVID not canceled the season.

“My favorite part of camp is being able to grow in faith and meet people,” she said. “When you go to camp, you make strong friendships that last.”

Seth McDonald, 15, travels to Camp Guggenheim from his family’s home in the Cobleskill area. His father, Scott McDonald, was a camp counselor in the 1990s and 2000s.

Scott McDonald served as a volunteer counselor for the Guggenheim Summer Fun Days, so Seth was able to attend both sessions of the event.

“It was really cool to be able to help set up and see the background of it,” Seth McDonald said. “And it was great to be at camp. It filled my cup, if that makes sense. I really like the community at camp. The community there has always been so accepting. It’s always like seeing old friends.”

“I’ve had a connection to camp since 1985,” added Scott McDonald. “It was great being able to staff those days. It was nice working with former staff and former campers I worked with, and it was great meeting new campers and staff.”

Jacob Fargo, 14, of Moira, said he enjoyed the opportunity to have the camp experience while camp isn’t running.

“It was good,” Fargo said of the fun day. “I wish it had been a little longer, but it was just nice to have some Guggenheim. Meeting new people and having fun was my favorite part.”

All three teens said they hope Camp Guggenheim returns in its regular form next year.

“It’s really important to get everyone back there,” said Seth McDonald. “When we get the chance to go back, I really encourage people to come back or to try it for the first time.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, seeing people I met before and having fun,” added Fargo.

“If someone is debating whether or not to go to camp, I want them to know it’s 100 percent worth it,” said Eggleston. “You make new friends, and everyone is very welcoming. No matter what your background is or who you are, you can be yourself at camp. Even if you’re shy, by the first or second day, someone is bound to help you break out of your shell and help you get comfortable being yourself at camp.”

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