Whew. What a hectic day! I’ve been busy since Friday with a friend’s wedding, and today I lectored at my parish’s 11AM Mass. Then I scrambled to get errands done and finish packing for Camp Fort Worth.
I should preface these CFW blog posts in saying that this is my first time going to a Camp Fort Worth. Ever since I got involved with high school youth ministry two years ago, it seemed that all the youth who went to CFW were just absolutely on fire and spoke so, so highly of it. I wanted to find out for myself, but me being the young professional engineer that I am, didn’t quite have vacation time earned just yet until this year. So, yes, I’m using a week’s worth of vacation time just to go see what CFW is all about! Thankfully, the opportunity has come and today’s the first day! And not only that, I’m chaperoning our youth from our parish for the week as well. W00t!
Met up 5PM at our parish since our youth minister wanted to gather us all and have a little powwow before heading out to Arlington for Camp Fort Worth. This camp, we’re taking 9 from our parish.
Our home site for the first-ever August Camp Fort Worth is St. Vincent De Paul, a Catholic church in south Arlington. From the looks of it, it seems like a pretty good venue.
First, some definitions:
- A-Team = Alumni Team, a group of high schoolers or just graduated individuals who have come back to help out at Camp Fort Worth
- A-dult = an adult who is 21+
- B-dult = an adult who is 18-20
- Camper = high schooler attending Camp Fort Worth
- SVDP = St. Vincent De Paul
- SEAS = St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, my home parish
- Hedg = CFW director
After our powwow at SEAS, I left a little later than my youth and thus got to St. Vincent De Paul later than they did. And when I arrived, it was a lot of awkward getting things set and in place to fulfill my chaperone responsibilities. It took me a little while to get all my stuff from my car to the classroom where I would be sleeping for the rest of the week. But after all that, I finally met up with all the other campers.
I guess I wasn’t prepared to handle the A-Team. They were so helpful and enthusiasm. The enthusiasm gushing from the A-Team reminded me a lot of my Aggie Fish Camp counselor days. A lot of energy. A lot of awkward. But so helpful and nice!
I sat down with the other SEAS youth in the gym, our main room, and started working on my name button. A few A-Teamers sat with us to play a few games and to just get to know us.
We spent a long while socializing, playing games, and eating dinner. I’m pretty sure that my youth have already absorbed one or two youth from other parishes. That’s just how we roll. Also, I learned how to play Pterodactyl. Wow. So, to play Pterodactyl, you cover your teeth with your lips and say the word, “pterodactyl,” to the person next to you. You go around in the circle. You can either say “pterodactyl” or squawk to reverse the direction. You lose if you laugh or show teeth. THIS GAME IS RIDICULOUSLY HILARIOUS. I didn’t last long. One of my youth gets really into it. I have a feeling that this’ll be a common thing at camp this week.
After dinner, we played ice breakers for a while. Learned that there are quite a few Aggies here thanks to Do You Love Your Neighbor. +2 in my Aggie Network. I find that always tends to be the case…where there are a lot of Catholics…there’s a decent group of Aggie Catholics…
Also, I met two people here in real life that I met on Twitter. One of my youth, who was an A-Teamer at an earlier camp this summer, introduced us all on Twitter, lol. In addition, I quickly made a new friend with another adult guy who goes to the church close to my work, St. Peter’s in Lindsay, TX.
During the a-dult and b-dult meeting, I got excited when Hedg described the different sites: Mission Arlington, Boys & Girls Club, SVDP, and Arborbrook nursing home. It’s been a while since I’ve done any service work outside of youth ministry and since college, so I’m really looking forward to going to these different sites throughout the week to help out.
Later in the evening, we broke up into small groups. I have one of the smaller groups with 4 campers and two A-team members to help me. Apparently one of the guys who got absorbed by my youth ended up being in my small group. Cool. Thankfully, my four campers aren’t shy. They’re willing to share and be open. Which is awesome. Makes it easier! One of the other campers in my small group was an MC at DCYC a month ago! We came up with our group name–Prayola. Inspired by the box of markers used to make our poster. Spent quality time together making our poster and getting to know each other.
To conclude the night, Hedg said there was optional Night Prayer. Granted, it’s the normal Night Prayer using readings more related to service. I loved the title of the booklet: Even Shorter Book of Christian Prayer. I had heard from my youth minister that at the July CFW, they started singing the Salve Regina after Night Prayer. So this was something that he and I wanted to implement for this week’s camp. And after we finished Night Prayer, I and a small group of others from SEAS started singing the Salve Regina. I was impressed by the participation of people in the song because I thought people wouldn’t know it. Glad SEAS led the way!
Looking back at the day, I liked what Hedg said earlier. What does God want to say to me this week? Am I open and receptive enough to listen to what He has to say as He speaks through the various experiences that I’ll go through this week? I’ll have be like a watchman at daybreak to find out.
Lastly, I did take vacation off of work just to be here. And I realized that lately I’ve been mostly thinking about myself and only myself. Perhaps then, this is a week vacation from me looking inwards. Awesome. Refreshing. Now, there are opportunities for me to look and act outwards. Can’t wait!
So I should mention that…my experiences this week would be similar to what anyone doing Camp Fort Worth would do, but a future camper can still have a very unique and awesome experience. As I’m blogging throughout the week, I’ll try not to ruin some of the cool experiences that are part of CFW.
Also, I’ve given up Twitter and Facebook for the week. Lately, I’ve been so absorbed in Catholic news and the interwebs isn’t a friendly Catholic place to be…I need a vacation from Facebook and Twitter too, haha.
And for tomorrow…my small group is going to help out at the Boys & Girls Club. I’m stoked! Let’s get this going!
Offering it up. Excitement. Do work.