What is Summer Camp?
The Pines offers a traditional overnight summer camp experience that lasts from Sunday afternoon through Saturday morning. We have fun camp games and songs, plenty of activities to try, and lots of opportunities to meet new lifelong friends. Where we differ from other camps is in our genuine Catholic identity. We offer opportunities to grow in faith all through the beauty of the Sacraments.
The crux of our ministry is embodied in our mission: to empower each person through the richness of the Catholic faith, to live joyfully, and to confidently build the Kingdom of God.
Our Lord present in the mystery of the sacraments is at the heart of the week of camp. Mass is the source and summit of our faith. We bookend the week of camp with outdoor Mass under the shade of the trees --- once on Sunday after campers arrive, and again on Friday morning as we begin our final full day of camp. In between those two peak celebrations of our faith come the experiences that draw our community closer together and closer to The Lord.
Reconciliation is available all week during free time. It is also available during our Wednesday night Adoration. The Blessed Sacrament remains on camp 24 hours a day! Campers are encouraged to stop by our chapel and spend time with Jesus over the week.
Prayer and Formation
We know the root of the best relationships is in great communication, and our relationship with God is no different. We desire each camper to go home with a healthy habit of daily prayer. Each day begins with morning prayer, and that continues throughout the day. Campers are given the opportunity to open and close each activity in prayer. Power Club, Winner’s Circle, and spiritual evening programs give the campers and staff opportunities to see the joy in prayer and Scripture and deepen their relationship with Jesus. Choice activities for our oldest age group such as “Chapel Time” provide a chance for campers seeking deeper personal growth to enjoy quiet moments with our Lord.
At night, each age group dives a little deeper into their faith in spiritual programming. While praise and worship and adoration are extended to all ages, our older campers engage in men’s sessions, women’s sessions, testimonies, and more. Our youngest campers experience new ways to pray, learn more about the saints, and discuss where they saw God play a role in their day.
At The Pines, we know the value of having close friends by our side as we go through the journey of life. Our intimate 12-camper cabins are led by 2-3 counselors in community. Some of the greatest experiences and memories created at camp are those of their Small Christian Community of their cabin. Those that may have been apprehensive about the camp experience on Sunday are often hugging and crying at heartfelt goodbyes on Saturday.
Additionally, that type of contagious community is shown clearly in the bond that our summer staff has for each other. Each summer, we hire more than 125 college-age students from all over the country to serve your children. These staff members are not only a lot of fun, they’re on fire with their faith and eager to share that with each child that comes to The Pines. Our staff members go through an extensive onboarding process that includes an interview, reference checks, and extensive training to ensure the safety of campers as well as encourage authentic faith development.
Rounding out this community are a number of special guests that join us in this ministry each week. This includes guest hosts, musicians, clergy, and religious. Apart from spiritual programming, these guests are also building community on the ultimate frisbee field, in jam sessions, and in conversations groups during free time.
One of the biggest draws for a camper is what looks great in pictures in videos: how much fun the camp is! From great activities to all-camp night games to messy wars and more, The Pines has that in spades.
One of the biggest highlights during a day of summer camp is time for activities. Activities are selected for our 2nd-5th graders as they participate both with their cabin and another cabin. 7th-12th graders have the ability to choose their own activities. On Sunday, they choose the activities for their first two days, and on Tuesday they make their selections for the following two days.
It’s in the excitement of our sport activities that campers are able to cooperate and compete with old and new friends. If campers are unfamiliar with the sport, our counselors teach the sport and take time to make sure that everyone is getting a touch on the ball/disc.
Capture the Flag
Our challenge activities give campers the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone as they zip through the trees, push through the climbing wall, and more. Our counselors leading these ropes activities are trained and certified for the fun and safety of your camper. These activities are available for rising 6th graders and older.
Our skill activities give campers the opportunity to try activities to hone their skills in a number of different ways. Whether a camper feels pulled towards arts & crafts, target sports with certified counselors, cooking, or music, we have something just for them.
Arts + Crafts
Theme Team Training
Cooking + Tye Dye
Our water activities are perfect for those hot summer days at camp. Our chilled pool comes with a fun water slide, a diving board, and plenty of pool toys. Our lake houses a 100 ft. water slide, our famous Blob, kayaks, and a new inflatable for 2019! All water activities are supervised by Red Cross trained lifeguards.
We also offer relaxing activities are for those campers that want a time to slow down in the middle of the day. Hammocking with a great book in the shade or spending time in the chapel are popular choices that fill up fast!
Night Games and the Dance
At night, before our villages split up for their spiritual programming, the entire camp comes together to play one huge game. This game is kicked off with a skit from the week’s “Theme Team” before campers receive their objective. Whether it’s playing Capture The Flag, trying to get balloons past costumed counselors in “Granny’s Candies”, or avoiding minions and “The Man” at the end of “Animal Game”, campers are always on their toes.
On Wednesday night, everyone comes together for a dance with music that has the entire campground rocking! Dances can be events of apprehension in our culture (“What if I embarrass myself?”), but at The Pines, we create an atmosphere of laughter and welcoming that invites everyone onto the floor. We jam to popular songs, counselors teach fun line dances, and two-stepping chances are aplenty. Just be sure to hydrate — it gets exciting on the dance floor!
The fun of camp hits a fever pitch when Frunday (Fun + Friday) rolls around! After starting the day with Mass, we jump straight into our famous Messy War! Water, shaving cream, slime, and water balloons are your weapons to stop the other teams from stealing your flags! Sure enough, the quickly game changes from flag-stealing to just seeing how many people you can get messy.
Afterwards, the campers take part in various other activities including a lip dub, the carnival, talent show, extended free time, and more until we head up to the summit in the evening for our traditional bonfire. The staff performs skits and everyone sings camp songs as we celebrate the last night we have together. Campers then meet with their villages and then their cabins for the last night where they receive their commemorative camper cross.
Frunday is a wonderful mix between exciting fun and a heartfelt reflection of the time that the week has spent together, and it’s the perfect way to end a camp session!
The friendships that share a relationship with Jesus Christ are the friendships that last. A week at camp forges a bond between campers that just meet, and oftentimes, those campers stay in touch for years afterwards.
Friendships formed at camp start in the cabins. After check-in, campers head straight to their cabin to meet their counselors and other cabinmates. Throughout the week, each cabin shares meals together, prays together, and participates in spiritual programming together. Before they go to bed, campers take part in “Winner’s Circle” where counselors lead a discussion about faith and life with the campers. Stories are shared, and campers pray for each other. This is where the community is strengthened and lifelong friends are made.
During registration, you can request to have a friend placed in your cabin as long as they are within one school grade of each other and they are in the same village.
Camp is split into three separate “villages”:
Water Village (2nd-5th grade)
Branch Village (6th-7th grade)
Fire Village (8th-12th grade)
These villages participate in activities, free time, and spiritual programming together. This allows campers to meet and become friends with more than just the 11 others in their cabin. In the older age groups, when campers choose their activities, they’ll be with others in the same village. This allows them to have a chance to make friends with similar interests, even if they aren’t placed in the same cabin.
A big part of our summer camp experience at The Pines is putting away technology. We’re all so inundated with screen time every day that we sometimes forget how to just “be.” At camp, we encourage real face-to-face interaction…shy and sometimes awkward moments included! It’s through learning how to communicate in person that we are able to reap the true joy that is given to us in a meaningful friendship. Yes, it’s fun to share YouTube videos, text, or post to Instagram. But in putting away phones, we are able to truly be present where we are. And God has big plans for us at The Pines. In being fully invested in the present moment, we’re better able create those intentional friendships and communities.
A Day of Summer at The Pines
Each day at The Pines is full of fun activities, laughs with old and new friends, and an increased love for Jesus. For families, we upload 300+ photos each day as well as a few video updates each week so you can get a small glimpse at what’s happening out at camp! You can see a sample update in this video.
For more videos and lip dubs, check out our YouTube page.
Looking to get an idea of the schedule of a day of summer camp? Follow the link below.