Local Youth & young adult

Registration opens soon for archdiocesan summer camps

Summer camps at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg will return this year. Last year, wearing masks and other safety protocols led to successful camps with no COVID transmissions. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Your kids can camp with confidence and fun at archdiocesan summer camps this year, said Deacon Dana Nearmyer, co-director of the camps.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not shut down Camp Kateri Tekakwitha sessions at Williamsburg last summer because the operators and counselors scrambled to successfully adapt to the situation.

“We learned a lot last summer,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “We had no transmission of COVID and we had a really fun time.”

If you hadn’t already thought about sending your child (or grandchild) to camp, now’s the time. Camp registration online runs March 1-3 by age group.

To register and get information about the camps, go to: archkck.org/camp/tekakwitha. At the top of the page there is a series of words: “Camp Tekakwitha,” “About+,” “Camps+,” “Parents+” and “Register.” Click on these words for drop-down menus leading to information on a number of topics.

Last year, because of the pandemic, the camp offered day camps for younger campers for the first time, and extended stays in tents for high school campers.

A camper works on his archery skills at Camp Tekakwitha last summer. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

This summer, there will be both day camps and overnight camps for fifth- and sixth-grade campers. However,   there will be no extended tent camping for high school campers. Instead, the older campers are going back to the bunkhouses.

“This year, we’re following the American Camping Association field guide for COVID,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “We’re installing screens for the sleeping arrangements and installing ionizers to mitigate airborne transmission of viruses in all our buildings.”

Of course, the usual precautions of wearing masks, washing or sanitizing hands, and keeping social distance apply this year, too.

The camp activities, appropriate for age and grade, have not changed.

“We have ropes activities — high ropes, challenge course and the climbing tower,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “[We have] horse riding, mountain boards, mountain bikes, swimming, water slides and archery. And many powerful faith activities such as prayer and Bible studies alternating during all the other experiences.”

A young woman receives the Eucharist at an outdoor Mass at Camp Tekakwitha last summer. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Financial scholarships are available to campers who are in need and would not be able to go to camp without assistance. A scholarship application must be filled out and signed by the applicant and his or her pastor or youth minister, along with specific financial information.

To apply for a general camp scholarship and for information, go to: archkck.org/camp/safety/scholarships. Camping scholarships for rural youth are available as well. Information is on the same webpage.

“Faith, fun and friends are the three things we really concentrate on, helping people propel their faith in deep and amazing ways while having a blast and making new friends,” said Deacon Nearmyer.

“[Former] campers have told us that camp has been a very stabilizing and enriching part of their faith journey,” he added, “supplementing what the family has already built — a strong connection to the Catholic Church. . . . We feel really good about helping families build a strong Catholic culture.”

Camp session dates and costs

Camp Kateri Tekakwitha
Registration March 1, 2, 3

Senior high camps
Campers entering 9th-12th grades in the fall. Online registration begins March 1 at 9 a.m.

• High School Max (overnight), $440, June 21-26
• High School Xtreme (overnight), $510, July 23-31

Junior high camps
Campers entering 7th and 8th grades in the fall. Online registration begins March 2 at 9 a.m.

• Junior high session 1 (day camp), $360, June 8-10
• Junior high session 2 (overnight), $435, June 11-16
• Junior high session 3 (overnight), $435, July 12-17

Kateri Camps
Campers entering 5th and 6th grade in the fall. Online registration begins March 3, at 9 a.m.

• Kateri session 1 (day camp), $240, June 6-7
• Kateri session 2 (overnight), $280, June 28-30
•Kateri session 3 (overnight), $280, July 19-21

Family Camps
Registration begins March 1, by email to: camptekreg@gmail.com. Include each camper’s name and date of birth. The cost is $140 for each camper two years old and older. No cost to children younger than 2.

• Family Camp: Special Needs, June 18-20
• Family Camp: July 9-11

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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