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Girls experience Christ-centered week seeing the needs of others and the world

This is the third story in a four-part series featuring different Catholic summer activities for youths.

If you’ve been searching for a fun way to help your daughter grow in her faith, look no further.

Challenge Summer Camp will be held June 23-28 on 320 acres at Buckhorn Camp in the northern Colorado town of Bellvue. The program is directly affiliated with weekly Challenge Club meetings, which empower girls to be leaders in their faith and in the world.

Challenge Club teams focus on a virtue-based curriculum while also implementing service projects. Whether it’s engaging in an experimental activity or Gospel reflection, the girls always have a purpose in the meetings.

“If they go see a movie, they talk about the virtue in it and if it was good or bad,” said Mona Chase, program director. “The teams try to make everything formative.”

Think of Challenge Summer Camp as a weeklong Challenge meeting. For six days and five nights, participants are able to forget about the world and enjoy building their relationship with God in a new way.

“It’s so transforming,” said Chase. “The camp helps them refocus and re-center their lives on Christ. We try to get them to see the needs of others and the world through Christ.”

Chase can attest to the power of the camp not only as program director, but as a parent. Her daughters attended the program when they were younger.

Both are now leaders of Challenge Summer Camp.

“When we were younger, our leaders were so inspiring,” said Chase’s daughter Rebecca. “That’s what encouraged us.”

Mornings at camp typically consist of breakfast, Morning Prayer and some sort of activity. Daily Mass and lunch precede an afternoon of sports and different activities.

Last year, the big hit was “Messy Olympics,” where campers participated in team challenges with paint all over themselves. The program’s talent show, another crowd pleaser, allows everyone to perform some of their God-given talents in front of the whole group.

Evenings are more geared toward reflection. Before dinner together, the leaders and participants say a decade of the rosary. After the rosary, the girls take part in some sort of night activity.

“It’s always one of their favorite parts of camp,” said Chase’s daughter, Anna. “All the girls love it.”

Campers come together once more for night prayers before going to bed.

The final day of the program represents the pinnacle for the girls.

Following a scenic hike in the afternoon, the group takes part in “Masquerade Night.” The girls get their hair and makeup done in addition to decorating special cupcakes.

The night ends in solidarity as participants carry lighted lanterns down a field for a special eucharistic procession.

Those interested in attending Challenge Summer Camp can look forward to the program’s theme, which is unique each year.

Attendees in 2013 were given the message of “connect” by their leaders. During each day of the week, the girls were encouraged to connect to God, themselves and others.

The Chase sisters saw the effectiveness of that.

“Through each other, you find him in a deeper way,” Rebecca Chase said.

Be sure to check the website for testimonials from campers in recent years. Mona Chase remembers how the camp completely changed one girl.

“She came to camp and her mom said she was a sassy teenager who didn’t want to be part of the family,” the program director recalled. “But after camp, she was more dedicated to the family and she was kind and gentle. She was striving so hard to be a better person.”

For more information on Challenge Summer Camp, visit the website challengecolorado.com. Rising fifth through eighth grade girls are welcome to register. Those interested can also sponsor a camper.

Next story in the series focuses on Guppy Fest 2014; the annual summer youth rally that celebrates the Catholic Christian life.      

Roxanne King
Roxanne King is the former editor of the Denver Catholic Register and a freelance writer in the Denver area.
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