Friday, Oct. 4 – Sunday, Oct. 6, 2024
Grow, learn, and have fun with your family and friends.
St. Mary’s Family Camp Program began in 1994 and is held the second weekend in October at Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN. Families drive themselves to the camp approximately 75 minutes northwest of Minneapolis. Although this weekend is called Family Camp, we welcome everyone to attend: singles*, married couples, and grandparents. 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 campsite than our Summer Camp, kids get an idea of what it is like to be at a camp with their church friends.
*Minors must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or an “adopted” parent for the weekend.
Unfortunately, camps around the country, including ours, are experiencing significant price increases to meet the highly increased overhead costs: lodging, meals, and necessary materials. While we are doing everything, we can to maintain an affordable Family Camp experience for all, we must be sustainable.
Please consider asking your parish priest for assistance in creating and maintaining a Camp Scholarship Fund to help subsidize your parish’s camp fees. We have found that many people love to donate and support these experiences. Thank you so much for your interest and support of Family Camp!
Meet Fr. George Dokos!
We are thrilled to announce our 2024 Family Camp speaker, Fr. George Dokos! The 2024 theme in which Fr. George will speak on is: The Fathers on the Family. Fr. George was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. He graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in 1995 (B.S. Pharmacy). In 1999, he received an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. In 2010, Fr. Dokos received a Th.D. from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has served parishes in Texas, South Dakota, Colorado, and Minnesota. He is married to Presvytera Christa, and they have four children.
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION
August 1 – 15
REGULAR RATE REGISTRATION
August 16 – 31
Registration is Closed
2023 Family Camp Article: Learning about Christian Family through the Orthodox Camping Experience
Over the years families around Twin Cites gather together on first weekend of October at the Family Camp.
So, what is it about the camp experience that makes our families love it so much?
Certainly, there are many things that contribute to it: friends, activities, the speaker and services, and being in the outdoors, to name a few. The thing that makes camp so special, however, is the camp environment, which presents a living experience of the Orthodox faith.
Family Camp transforms the lives of families and nurtures their faith in Jesus Christ through Orthodox Christian community living, worship, education, fellowship, and love.
Why people come here?
To learn Christian living by doing it. It’s the best way to learn. The best way to learn is by doing things. When you come to the Family Camp, you get to do everything in a Christian fashion. You get to pray together, to learn new things, to listen each other, and that means that you get to share with each other your life experiences.… We learn and sing church hymns, we have a good time at our meals, and we play games in the evening. The campers learn Who we worship and why we worship. Campers also learn how to pray and are encouraged to make it part of their morning and evening routine. It’s great to be at camp. It’s one of the greatest experiences that a family can have together.
Our camping programs have become a vital part of the spiritual growth of the families in the Midwest. Camp provides not only a place for them to learn about our faith, but also to learn how to live our faith. Without the support from the Orthodox Church, many of our families would not have this experience.
The spiritual education at camp is always centered around a different curriculum each year; allowing adults campers to explore different theological concepts and lessons. It also provides well-rounded knowledge to help equip the young campers to live a richer spiritual life.
Orthodox Christian Family camps offer a chance to have a great weekend together with your family members and other Orthodox Church members and for children is very important to meet other orthodox kids to make new friends. The friends you make at camp are essential to developing a full and healthy spiritual life.
But the best part of this camp is the FUN! Camp is for the camper! Activities and programs are designed to provide entertainment, excitement, and joyful memories for each camper, especially the campfire and the songs that we sing.
These are the memories that they carry through their entire lives.
We are blessed to have this program for our families in Twin Cities.
On behalf of each of our camps organizers, spiritual advisors and staff, and all the families who attend camp, we thank God for this blessed opportunity that we have.
If you are in need of scholarship assistance, please contact your parish priest FIRST, PRIOR to the end of the Early Bird Registration period (August 15, 2024). After checking with your home parish priest, if you still need assistance from St. Mary’s GOC, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will offer a full refund (minus the processing fee) until TBD. Beginning TBD, registrations will be non-refundable. Registrations are not transferable.
Beginning TBD, registrations will be non-refundable. Registrations are not transferable.
Family Camp FAQs
What is the weather like?
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! Beside having dorm rooms for each family, most 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. Visit Camp Courage’s website for more details!
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?
Swimming, hiking, sporting games, carpet ball, ping pong, indoor cards and game room. 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.
While many of the buildings are different, rooms are centered around a common sitting room. These common areas have a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. Don’t worry about packing food for the weekend…the food is great and plentiful.
Do we have to share a bathroom?
In most 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 4 different age-based workshops at one time for kids 4 years and older. During the second parent session, fun activities with our young adult counselors are planned for the children. 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 or stay later?
While our program begins at 7:00 pm, check-in begins at 5:00 pm in the Lakeside Dining and Rec center, so come to the check-in desk to get your room assignment. There will be no dinner on Friday night, so feed your family before you come. You and your family are invited to spend time after brunch on Sunday, too! The camp has graciously allowed families time to enjoy nature once our time together has ended.
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.