What could be more exciting than the 4th of July for summer fun? How about the 10th of July reopening of Circle V Ranch Camp…finally?! After last year’s hiatus, the Society’s “Crown Jewel” is all polished up and ready to go. And the staff members are just as excited as the campers to get underway, even with limited attendance and only five weeks of sessions. Kudos goes out to the Camp Committee, Ray Lopez, and his team for setting up extensive and thoughtful protocols that prepare them for seemingly every possible contingency. Keeping everyone safe is, of course, the highest priority.
After nearly a year and a half of remote learning and staring at computer screens every day, the campers will be thrilled to participate in outdoor activities, some of which may never have experienced before. Many of the children come from foster or group homes, and almost all are minorities whom live below the poverty line. It’s no surprise that nature hikes, archery, trips to the beach, or swimming often provide first-time experiences, creating memories that last a lifetime. A week at Circle V Ranch Camp is the highlight of the year for so many youngsters. This summer’s campers have had to forfeit the fun for several years, adding to the anticipation and excitement as reopening draws near.
The real unsung heroes of camp are our well-trained counselors and support staff. They come with open hearts and a loving commitment to the boys and girls temporarily under their wing. They are well aware of the emotional deprivation many of the children have suffered during their short lifetimes. Exposing them to the message of God’s love and demonstrating that love through friendly interaction and genuine concern can provide one of the most positive outcomes of the camping experience. It fills a void and aids the development so crucial in these formative years. We hope and pray for an emotional and spiritual growth spurt during the short encounter with dedicated staff. Reciprocally, the counselors and staff are quick to point out how touched they are by the friendly relationships they develop and the rewards they feel being so personally and intimately involved in the lives of these young people. Their influence can be nothing short of profound. Ask any adult who is a former camper (myself included) for the names of their counselors while at Circle V, and invariably the names effortlessly come to mind. They are “influencers” in the best sense of the word.
So the countdown is on! We wish everyone an enjoyable, safe and sane Fourth of July celebration as well as a most successful Circle V camping season. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all donors whose generosity makes St. Vincent de Paul’s Camp possible for so many who would otherwise be unable to attend. May God bless you one and all.