For those of you who want to learn more about the camp facilities and what happens at camp, check out this family camp overview. Also, take a look at the Family Camp Q & A. If you would like to view the 2023 Family Camp Schedule, click on this link: 2023 Family Camp Schedule
Camp Courage, our location
Originally selected because of its ability to accommodate families with private sleeping areas with bathrooms, we have found Camp Courage to be welcoming and a breath of fresh air, literally! The dorms are set up with 4-5 sleeping areas surrounding a common living room space. The areas have kitchenettes with coffee pots (you are welcome to bring coffee if you are an early riser), microwaves and refrigerators for your use; however, you will find out there is no reason to bring food. The meals are plentiful and delicious and will now be served in a newly remodeled dining area! Since Camp courage is a camp for handicapped children, there is no carpet in the dorms, thus the reason slippers may be packed! The beds are twin sized in case you want to bring sheets, but sleeping bags are often the easiest. While the rooms and bathrooms are private, the doors in many of the cabins are thin pocket doors so quiet voices matter at night. The camp is large, spread out, and beautiful. Don’t forget to pack a flashlight: you will need it!
After many years of serving dinner, we have realized that it makes more sense to begin after dinner due to the steady stream of arrivals. Please come fed. Our program begins at 7:00, but you are welcome any time after 5pm. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get there on time due to the many things life throws at us. Just know you won’t be alone! Getting there safe is more important. Once you arrive, use the signs or the map attached and head to the Lakeside Dining and Recreation Building. It will be at this building that most of our activities take place and will be considered our home base. We will be waiting for you in the upper dining room to help you check in and get your rooming assignments. Don’t unpack as we will send you off to your cabin. If at all possible, aim to get there before 7 so you can check out the camp with natural light and get settled before Vespers at 7:30.
While this may not be the last revision, it is close enough to help you get a glimpse of what the weekend will look like. The following definitions will be helpful as you get to know the schedule.
- Vespers: Why not begin praising God together?! It is what we do best! We will meet in the lower level of the Lakeside Dining and Rec Building for all church services. For those families staying on the Woodland side of the camp (you will get your room assignment when you arrive), give yourself 5-10 minutes to walk there. It is “camp-casual” dress. You do not have to bring dressy clothes for this or any of our services. Following Vespers we will hear from our speaker. We will then share some social time to get to know one another and have a light snack.
- Saint Stories: This is a sweet evening option for people of all ages, but especially for little ones! On Saturday night we will do some around the campfire for the real little ones. A later session on Saturday will be offered, too. This session will be held in the chapel area.
- Night Games: This is a family camp tradition is designed for the older children and will be weather dependent. It is a hide and seek game where kids search for other kids. Flashlights are necessary as it is very dark. (If you are interested in having your grade school children play, we request that you play with them.)
- Adult games and hang time: Each night we will have card games and board games available in the Lakeside dining area. You are not required to be there. Feel free to go to bed! However, if you would like to get to know more people or like to play games, join us! Family Camp was the place where the Orthodox Game League began!!
- Middle School and High School hang times: We have learned that the kids love to be together! Also, we want to keep the area where little ones are sleeping, quiet! Providing the teens with a space to hang together away from sleeping little ones is our goal. We have a fantastic gym that is at the center of the camp where the kids can hang and visit after night games. They are also welcome to gather to play games in the Lakeside Dining and Rec building, too. Middle school kids and high school kids are allowed to be there until 11:00pm. Our very kind and sacrificing staff will be there to supervise. We count on you to be sure the kids respect the time frame and have a plan. Please be aware that this and night games are optional activities and you are welcome to say no.
Saturday…a very busy day!
- Morning: After we have breakfast together in the upper level of Lakeside Dining and Rec, we will go downstairs for morning prayers and welcome. Our speaker will then speak to our entire group for a short time. The children will then be moved by our staff to the areas where their programs will be held. We have prepared sessions for five different age groups, ages 4 and above. The adults will remain to hear the first session. Those parents with kids younger than four years old are welcome to bring the kids into the area where the speaker will address the adults, and sit off to the side. You can bring a small blanket and a few toys and are welcome to stay as long as the kids are reasonably quiet. Following the sessions, we will all gather for lunch in the upper level of Lakeside Dining and Rec.
- Family/Adult Free Time: It is hard to have a session right after lunch, so this is where we have free time! This is your time to explore the camp. The pool will be open during this period so if you are interested in swimming, bring your suits as kids must be accompanied by adults. There are many open fields, basketball courts, a volleyball court, miniature golf, walking trails, and a gym. Enjoy! If you are interested in singing in the choir for the weekend we will have a short choir practice during this time.
- Session two: We have three options during this time. The majority of the adults will have a second session with our speaker. The kids will be divided into teams and will have a fun supervised activity such as a scavenger hunt to do while the parents are meeting. On the years when small group sessions are planned for the adults, we will provide a quiet play area for those parents with little ones under 4, so they can meet and have a small discussion around the kids playing.
- Vespers, Dinner: At 5:00 pm, we will pray together and then head upstairs for dinner.
- 9th Grade-College gathering with our speaker: We have a special treat for them only…time alone with our speaker. Year after year we have found this to be a camp highlight. While this group is gathering with our speaker, younger families and parents will have an early campfire and Saint stories for little ears.
- Bonfire and singing: What is camp without a campfire and singing? Weather permitting, we will meet at the beachside firepit to do just that! We will have a bonfire for little ones that will begin while the older kids are meeting with our speaker. There will be some saint stories that will be shared during this time. Once the older kids join us, enjoy the show as you will see what happens at camp! It is an amazing time of joy and song! We will have fixing for s’mores, too!
- Liturgy and Brunch: Since we start our weekend praising God together, we will also end our weekend praising God together. We will have liturgy at 9:00 am. If your little ones don’t fast on Sunday morning, you may bring them to the Lakeside Dining and Rec building for a quick bowl of cereal as we won’t eat until 10:30 am. We are finished as a group after brunch. However, you are free to stay and enjoy the camp until 3 pm. Please do a quick cabin pick-up before leaving.
“Getting to know you…”
Family Camp is a great chance to get to know some new families. Even though many of our families have come before, they are from many different Orthodox churches, so they may be new to you. Try to get to know a few new people. We are all trying to do the same thing…getting to know our faith better and making sure our kids know God. Some of the best tips you may find will come from those in attendance! You will have chances to get to know people in sessions, in your cabins, at dinner, etc. Your folder will include a list of all families with children’s ages and churches attended to make it easier to find families with kids, similarly aged.
Fabulous Volunteer Staff:
Where to begin? So many people offer their help in putting this camp together. Thank you to all! We have a fabulous children’s curriculum written by Rebekah Moll from St. Mary’s OCA and wonderful college students and adults who have shared their time to teach your kids.
We hope you’ll join us!!!
Fr. Tim and the Family Camp Task Force