If you have teenagers in your life like I do, you have probably heard a lot about their summer plans. For some, this summer will be their first time working or driving a car. For others, camps, swim teams and tennis lessons will quickly fill the hours no longer occupied by school. Still others will enjoy the summer sun, but perhaps have trouble finding much to do after a few weeks have passed.
Today, Bishop Loverde will celebrate Mass in Winchester for the hundreds of teens serving at the first of two sessions of WorkCamp. As Kevin Bohli, Director of the Office of Youth Ministry, wrote in his blog post, “The goal of these camps is to put young people into relationships with adults while working together on a common service project. The adults share their love of Jesus Christ with the teens and together they witness to that love through serving the less-fortunate.”
This week as they work on roofs, paint walls and build wheelchair ramps, these teens will learn something that many of us have yet to really understand: that it truly is in giving that we receive. Many of these young men and women are back for their third or fourth year in a row and are sure to implement the values of service they learned when the week ends and they return to their homes.
Others teens in the diocese will take several days this summer to pray and discern where God is calling them in their lives. The Office of Vocations is not only offering a discernment camp for high school men (Quo Vadis Days), as in previous years, but also a new camp for young women (FIAT Days).
A couple of years ago, in order to find out more about some of our summer initiatives, I visited Quo Vadis Days and listened to a talk on the meaning of authentic manhood. As I looked at these young men (who only minutes before had been playing rigorous sports outdoors), I thought how fortunate they were to be learning and praying about their vocation at their age. So many people I know did not have that opportunity and, while it is never too late for God’s grace, they certainly would have been grateful to be challenged at a younger age to pray about what God was asking of them as they grew older.
Please keep the teenagers at both sessions of WorkCamp (due to popularity, a second week was added this year) and Quo Vadis and FIAT days in your prayers. While there are many wonderful ways that teens can spend their summer, I am convinced that these opportunities will leave lasting impressions on the minds and hearts of those who participate.
What summer moments made a lasting impression on you when you were a teen?