Build family, think adventure!

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Luke Hlavin is the Assistant Camp Director for Annunciation Heights.

Adventure. Faith. Fun. These three words are at the core of the Annunciation Heights mission.  And this summer, more than ever, we are excited to invite families into the fullness of these realities here at camp!

Catholic author G.K. Chesterton once said, “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  By all accounts, the tragedy of a global pandemic is far more than a simple inconvenience. Illness and death, lost jobs and strained relationships are all stark consequences of a serious event.  And yet, is there something that Chesterton is pointing us towards, as families and as a society? Is there some way we are being asked to redeem this time, for ourselves and others?

Here at camp, we have been asking ourselves the same question in this form: How can Annunciation Heights serve the Church, and the world at large, in these difficult times?  With the unfortunate cancellation of youth camps this summer, we were truly given a blank canvas to create and serve in a new and exciting way — and we feel called to specifically serve the family!

Family ministry has been central to the mission of Annunciation Heights since the beginning. Amidst the stresses that accompany quarantine and lockdown, families are in need, now more than ever, of a time to get outside and rejuvenate. We see family programming at camp as a direct answer to this need: to unite the family in an experience of faith, fun and adventure in the beauty of the Colorado Rockies.  We are excited to invite families to encounter the gift of the great outdoors in a new and restorative way! And we believe, by God’s grace, we can offer just that in a robust menu of programs for families at camp.

There are three distinct ways that your family can “breakout and escape” to camp this summer!

Family Camps – We will be hosting three Family Camps this summer.  These camps are four-day sessions  with engaging programming, talks, and activities by age group — all presented by dynamic, Catholic, family hosts.

Family Recharge Weekends – Shorter in length than family camps, these Recharge Weekends will provide an opportunity to get away and get back to basics with your family!  You will be able to experience the fun of camp while also receiving helpful times of prayer and formation, all in a few short days!

Build Your Own Adventure – We are so excited to offer, for the first time ever, the ability for families to create your own experience here at camp.  With dates available throughout July, families can book housing and activities on an “a la carte” basis, depending on the length of time they have and the adventures that fit their individual families.  Activities will all be hosted by our personable staff and missionaries, with Mass and adoration as fixtures throughout each day.

Through all of this, we hold your health and safety as our highest priority. By catering to the family, we can manage any social distancing and group gathering size requirements that are set by state and county authorities, while also offering a dynamic and playful experience in the outdoors!

And so the good news is this — summer is not canceled! We invite you, in this unique summer, to come and re-root your family in Christ and in adventure. See you at camp soon!

To learn more and register, visit annunciationheights.org. Space is limited!

COMING UP: Ten Things to do with your Kid(s) during Quarantine from Annunciation Heights 

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Kyle Mills is the CEO and Executive Director of Annunciation Heights Youth and Family Camp in Estes Park.

Our mission at Annunciation Heights is to serve youth and families.  It’s a joy for us to do this!  The family is — more than ever — under attack in our culture which is why in all the programs we offer we attempt to reconnect parents to their kids and kids to their parents.  Health family relationships are the bedrock of society and the basis from which the individual human person can thrive, or not, in life.  Even with our youth programs where parents are at home, we are trying in a variety of ways to get kids to engage their parents anew and help them appreciate all that their parents and guardians do for them.

We have always followed the conviction that the most effective youth ministry is done within the context of the family.  Our mission is the same now during a global pandemic as at any other time and maybe even more important now when the coronavirus crisis has forced us to “stay at home”!  May I encourage you in this time of global uncertainty, with all the real anxieties that accompany that, to truly STAY AT HOME!  I don’t just mean don’t go out, but truly be at home with your family; be present to the needs of your loved ones, look for ways to grow with your spouse and kids.  Seize the moment of being at home, don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

Towards this end we are trying to offer a few things that can help people out.  Maybe you’ll find something helpful in the 10 things to do with your kids during quarantine listed here.  Other resources we offer you can find in our weekly newsletter and video Scripture devotion, or via Facebook and Instagram.  We also have a place on our website where you can confidentially enter a prayer request.  Each day, under the leadership of our Chaplain, Father Donatian Kaigoma, we are praying for these intentions.    

Finally, I want to tell you that we are fully planning on having both our youth and family camps this summer!  We will continue on this course until it becomes absolutely impossible to do so.  Please do not hesitate to register your son or daughter for our youth camps and your family for family camps.  All summer camp fees are refundable if we have to cancel.  

Whether you have been to Annunciation Heights or not, please be assured of our prayers for you and your family.  And please pray for us too! 

 

Tune in to the Annunciation Heights Instagram Story: Join missionaries/staff each week to get a sneak peak of camp life, summer camp preparations, and the like. All found at https://www.instagram.com/annunciationheights/  

Take a Virtual Tour of a National Park, including our own Rocky Mountain National Park: It’s hard not to be able to hike…but you can do it virtually online! Check out this page for all the details: https://www.insider.com/national-parks-america-virtual-tours-3d-visit-2020-3#a-digital-visit-to-wind-cave-national-park-offers-serene-prairie-views-29  

Participate in a Mass via LiveStreamIt is so difficult to feel separated from our faith communities. But many churches are broadcasting their liturgies on LiveStream. Check out the list from the Archdiocese of Denver here: https://archden.org/coronavirus/ locallivestream 

Do a Handicraft: In the tradition of Camp St. Malo, we love doing hands-on crafts that are productive, fun, and old-school. And while you may not have all the supplies to do it in the old-fashioned manner, you can still have fun! Something like building a candle from old unused wax (http://livethefancylife.com/diy-making-new-candles-out-of-leftover-wax-and-oldcandle-jars/)! 

Write a letter: We all know how meaningful it is these days to receive a handwritten letter! And we all have those people that we have wanted to contact for months but haven’t had the time! Take time with your kid to write a letter, draw a card, or simply send something meaningful to those you love! 

FaceTime: While we are all locked away in our homes, we still have access to one of the greatest marvels of modern technology…FaceTime! Take time with your kids to video chat with close family and friends. You can even play games on FaceTime, like Pictionary or even charades! 

Cook with your Kids: You know how they are constantly asking for Pizza?! Why not make a homemade pizza together! You can enjoy a meal together and the fruit of your communal labor!  

Learn about the many wonderful parts of Creation, even from inside: Watch a nature show, or even watch the LiveStream Video of this watering hole in Africa: https://explore.org/livecams/african-wildlife/african-watering-hole-animal-camera  

Catholic Saints Trivia: Learn more about the heritage of our faith by quizzing yourself or your children. There are plenty of websites online, but here are a few: https://www.britannica.com/quiz/saints or https://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz30277522a9ad0.html 

Make a Rosary: Do you happen to have any twine around your house? Or can you get some from Amazon? Follow these directions to make a single strand knotted rosary: https://www.jeffgeerling.com/articles/religion/how-to-make-knot-rosary 

Featured image: Annunciation Heights Facebook