St. Seraphim Youth Camp Concludes
The 2004 St.
Seraphim's Camp was a tremendous success. For a week, Orthodox youth
gathered in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to attend the largest
Orthodox camp in the Diaspora. Nearly 300 people attended, with
eight priests in attendance to teach the Law of God every morning.
Campers came from America, Canada and France to participate.
August 1, divine liturgy was celebrated for the feast of St. Seraphim,
and campers began arriving after lunch. By evening, everyone had
found their tents and we gathered in the outdoor chapel for a moleben
and akathist to St. Seraphim. Each day began with prayer and religious
instruction. The remainder of each day was filled with tube rafting
on the river, arts and crafts, soccer, games and campfires. Each
camper made their own tee-shirts and perfected glass-bead making
for hemp jewelry.
A large group
of volunteers assisted in the camp kitchen and prepared delicious
food, even on the fasting days. No one left hungry. By day's end,
everyone was tired and sat around campfires telling stories or just
enjoying the cool mountain air. On Tuesday evening, Joseph Kimball
treated the adult counselors and staff to a riverside barbeque at
what has become a camp tradition. Wednesday brought the most popular
activity--flag games. Each campsite was equipped with flags and
the boys and girls groups had as their object the
the other's flag. All was fair at this game. Especially popular
was the ever-present shaving-cream battles. This year the boys won
and the girls' punishment was to serve the boys at the next meal.
evening we gathered for the large campfire where we feasted on roasted
hot dogs, marshmallows, and all the usual campfire food. Skits,
jokes and songs followed, wherein campers played banjos, guitars
and balalaikas. The older campers and junior staff stayed at the
fire until late as the younger children went to their camps.
Canada-America Soccer match was a highlight as well. Each year the
bravado mounts and we gather for two soccer games. Canada and America
are now tied, Canada having won the games 1999-2001 and America
2002-2004. There are some very fine soccer players in our Russian
the last day of usual schedule and things began to concentrate on
the spiritual life even more as we all began to prepare for confession
and communion. A pannikhida was served and all prepared for confession.
Saturday afternoon saw the priests hearing confessions from afternoon
throughout the vigil. Our choir Director, George Gerasomowicz, led
the youth choir for vigil and liturgy. The singing was perhaps the
most beautiful the camp has ever heard. For the Sunday liturgy,
we had four priests serving divine services, since some had to leave
for their own parishes. Once again, the choir sang beautifully as
Priests Mark Burachek, Alexis Duncan, Brendan Crowley, Peter Jackson
and Deacon Michael Soloviev served. With two chalices, it took well
over a half an hour for all the communicants to receive the Holy
Mysteries. Nearly every camper and staff member was able to go to
The camp director,
Fr. Alexis Duncan gave a sermon urging everyone to preserve the
abundant grace God had given us in camp throughout the coming year
until we once again are blessed to be together for all too short
Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church