Family Camp Program

St. Mary’s Family Camp Program provides an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to have fun with your family and friends! For those who have sent their kids to Summer Camp, it is a great way for your children to share their camp experience with you! For those who have been on the fence about sending your kids, it is a wonderful way for both parents and kids to preview and experience a slice of life at Summer Camp. Even though it is a different camp site than our Summer Camp, kids get an idea of what it is like to be at a camp with their church friends.

Family Camp 2017

Family Camp 2017

Dr. Philip Mamalakis, author of the best-selling Parenting to the Kingdom, will be leading our Family Camp this year! This is a weekend you will not want to miss! Dr. Mamalakis will help us make the connections between the spiritual life as we understand it in the Orthodox Church and the ongoing challenges of raising children. It takes the best child development research and connects it with the timeless truths of our Christian faith to offer real strategies for navigating the challenges of daily life. Who wouldn’t benefit from that?!

Dr. Mamalakis, with his wife Georgia and seven children, lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Dr. Mamalakis directs the field education program and teaches classes on pastoral care, marriage and family, grief, death and dying, and topics related to pastoral counseling. He has a private practice in Newton, Massachusetts, where he works with individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Mamalakis has an M.Div. from Holy Cross and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in child development and family studies, specializing in marriage and family therapy. He has been offering parenting courses and writing on parenting for 21 years. He enjoys leading seminars and retreats on intimacy, relationships, marriage, parenting, and family life as well as Orthodoxy and psychology.

Never been to Family Camp before? It is truly a beautiful weekend where you and your family will spend time with other Orthodox families around the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota learning together, playing together and praying together. It takes the best of summer camp and makes it possible for parents to come, too! Family Camp is held at Camp Courage in Maple Lake, Minnesota, near Annandale, a short hour drive from Minneapolis. Nestled into the woods and on a lake, the camp offers us family-style lodging with all the amenities of summer camp. Each family has their own room with a private bathroom. A dining hall where we eat together, pontoon rides, campfire pits, a pool and gym as well as outdoor sports fields and courts make this location a perfect family getaway in the prettiest time of year!

Activities are planned for children 4 and up so parents can spend time together listening to our amazing speaker and getting to know one another. Just like kids meet life-time friends at camp, parents, too, can spend time with other parents building Orthodox friendships! Check out the question and answer post and the Sample Schedule for camp. Our task force is working hard to make this a memorable weekend for your family! Don’t hesitate to sign up, it will definitely fill up quickly. Tell your friends, too!

Camp Courage requires that all participants complete a Liability Waiver.

Camp Dates

6 – 8

Camp Pricing

Adults: 18 years and older

Youth: 4-17 years

Babes: 0-3 years
Free (no programming)

Maximum Family Rate (6 or more immediate family)

These prices do NOT include taxes.

Family Camp 2017

Registration is open through September 25th.

Register Now!

Family Camp FAQ

Why should we consider going to Family Camp?

To grow, to learn, to have fun with your family and friends! For those who have sent their kids to camp, it is a great way for your children to share camp with you! For those who have been on the fence about sending your kids, it is a wonderful way for both parents and kids to preview and experience a slice of life at camp. Even though it is a different camp site than our Summer Camp, kids get an idea of what it is like to be at a camp with their church friends.

What is Camp Courage like?

It is a beautiful facility on a Minnesota lake, only 1-1.5 hours away from the Twin Cities! Besides having lovely dorm rooms for each family with private bathrooms, the camp has a game room, swimming pool, outdoor sporting facilities, walking trails, fire pits, a dining hall and chapel for families to eat and pray together. Because it is a camp for children with disabilities, everything is accessible!

In fact, if you know someone who would benefit, share the news! Families will be grouped in cabins that have bedrooms and bathrooms for each family. The cabin may have a small kitchenette and sitting area that will be used by all families.

Who goes to family camp?

While most of the participating families come from Orthodox churches in the Twin Cities, we have attendees from Duluth, Rochester…near and far!

How old should your children be?

All are welcome!  However, parents have told us that it is more relaxing once the kids are preschool aged or older.  We listened to that feedback and have planned activities for kids 4 years and older.  The last few years, we have had a great group of elementary, middle and high school kids.

How much time do we spend in workshops?

The kids have one session and the parents have two sessions. The kids are in supervised activities during the parent’s second session. We often have a fun family session in the evening. You are welcome to attend as few or as many as you like.

What types of activities are available to the families?

Arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, sporting games, carpet ball, ping pong, indoor cards and game room, and boating (weather dependent).  You name it, you can probably do it!

Do we eat together?

We eat all meals together as a group.  All meals are held in the camp dining hall.  It is a wonderful relaxed setting to visit with other families.

What are the rooms like?

Most rooms have sleeping spaces for 4-8 people and include a private bathroom with a shower.  You must bring your own bedding (sleeping bags are most common) for twin style beds.  Sometimes, small families choose to share a room with another family they know.

Do we have to share a bathroom?

In almost cases, you will have your own bathroom.  However, some years we have had overflow cabins with bathrooms that are shared…a great reason to get your registration in early!  You would be notified if this is the case.

What do the kids do when parents are in sessions?

We are excited that we have sessions that are divided by age.  We have had up to 5 different age-based workshops at one time for kids 4 years and older.   During the second parent session, the kids are divided by interest to do fun activities such as four square, flag football, carpet ball, arts and crafts, hiking, etc.  The smallest children are kept together.

What do people wear?

This is a casual weekend…jeans, sweatshirts…whatever you feel most comfortable.  With the permission of our priests, even church is casual.  Please see the packing list for more ideas.

Are we allowed to come early?

While our program begins at 7 pm, you are welcome to come early and enjoy the facility.  There will be no dinner on Friday night, so feed your family before you come.  Come to the registration desk in the Lakeside Dining and Rec center to get your room assignment and then enjoy the camp.

What if we cannot get there by 7pm?

No worries!  Get there when you can!  Let us know if your delay may mean a Saturday arrival so we will know not to worry.

Family Camp Packing List

Family Camp Packing List

You should always use your best judgement when packing for Family Camp. Remember that it’s only a weekend, and that it will likely be a few degrees colder than you think because of our proximity to the lake.

Please: no electronic games, boom boxes, personal stereos, handheld games, etc.


  • Rain gear and cap
  • Hiking boots, waterproof shoes, snow boots?
  • Sturdy tennis shoes
  • Warm jacket
  • Sweats or sweaters
  • Shirts or turtlenecks
  • At least 2 pair long pants, 2-4 pair socks (in case they get wet)
  • Underwear
  • Hand towel and wash cloth
  • Bath towel
  • Robe (optional)
  • Pajamas

Personal Gear

  • Flashlight
  • Laundry bag
  • Sleeping bag, bedroll or sheets
  • Pillow
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Alarm clock
  • Fanny pack (very handy)
  • Votive candle and icon for each family’s room
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal cup (optional)


Camp Courage

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