Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Tracking Mary: Mysteries & Messages Catholic Kidz Camp

At the end of June our parish had another faith-filled, fun and successful Catholic Kidz Camp (CKC) using another one of the Growing with the Saints excellent authentically Catholic programs!  Many may be more familiar with the term "VBS"(Vacation Bible School).  CKC is very similar to VBS, but CKC got it...Catholic and CKC is the new VBS!   Growing with the Saints was written by Catholics for Catholics! Same concept as VBS, which is to teach our youth (and adults too) the Good News of Jesus Christ, but CKC also highlights the many specific, beautiful teachings of our Catholic Church through skits, arts and crafts, games, Bible stories, snacks and music!! 

This was our parish's 6th year using the Growing with the Saints CKC programs and they have all been excellent!  Here is a list of the programs we have used the past five years and the links take you to my blog posts about each themed CKC:

June 2012: Vatican Express featuring St. Jerome
June 2013: Assorted Saints and the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love
June 2014: Parade Around the Our Father featuring St. Joseph of Cupertino
June 2015: Set Sail with the Holy Trinity featuring St. Patrick
June 2016: Parachute with the Angels and St. Catherine Laboure

This year's theme was Growing with the Saints newest CKC, Tracking Mary: Mysteries & Messages.

 photo credit:  Growing with the Saints

For an overview of the week be sure to visit the Camp Overview page to check out all the fun and learning that the campers did during the week!  

Ms. Anne, our wonderfully organized and hard-working children's youth ministry director, prints out a schedule for each grade level to follow through the week.  The schedule is broken into time slots where volunteer adult and youth leaders lead their age group around to each themed station.

With another adult volunteer and two wonderful teen volunteers, I lead a group of rising first graders throughout the week and we were "Bernadette's Brakemen"(to go along with the train theme) Ms. MJ and I even wore "conductor" hats and had our train whistles throughout the week.  :)

Here are just a few highlights of our week.

Ms. Anne and her hard working team do a wonderful job with the decorations each year!

Each morning began with the sign of the cross and prayers as a group and then the youth acted out skits to go with each day's topic.  The youth worked hard and did a fantastic job!

Here are our rising 1st graders walking to their next station.

I brought in my personal Shining Light Dolls and the line leaders held the doll with our group's sign when we learned about the apparition for the day that went with the doll. Our group loved holding the Our Lady of Lourdes doll, Our Lady of Fatima doll and Our Lady of Guadalupe doll

Our Lady of Lourdes Collectible Vinyl Doll by Shining Light Dolls LLC 

Lots of fun music, crafts, Bible stories and learning more about the apparitions of Mary and the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

In the Bible Story room the leader, Ms. N., read passages from the Bible about each Joyful Mystery of the Rosary and then we prayed one decade of the rosary.  It was great to watch the campers learn more about the rosary and how to pray the decades. 

On the day that we learned more about Our Lady of Knock in Ireland, a camper's parents brought in an actual photo of the Church where Our Lady of Knock appeared to 15 people on August 21, 1879.  It was a great addition to an already wonderful faith-filled and educational camp!

Like in years' past at CKC, each age group had the opportunity to visit the chapel in our church and spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament adoring our Lord.  After the leaders spoke to our first grade group about how to show reverence and talk to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, our class went into the chapel a few minutes to listen to our Lord speak to our hearts in the silence.

This week's CKC was so fun and the children, teens and adults learned so much about our Catholic faith!  Many adults weren't aware of all the details of the Marian apparition stories so it was a blessing to learn more along with the campers!

I look forward to CKC each year as a parent and a regular volunteer and I love to learn from all the children that attend!  I'm also grateful that my older children volunteer their time to help during the week and my younger children enjoy being campers!  It's beautiful to see our Catholic faith, which is full of Truth, wonder and treasures, being taught in fun and creative ways!  I am so grateful for the Growing with the Saints programs and all those that work hard to create such great programs!  I thank Ms. Anne for all her hard work and the many helping hands that help bring our Catholic parish an authentically Catholic CKC!   We look forward to next year's CKC!

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