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Summit reflection video on the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time with Elizabeth Bayardi.
Covecrest is more than a retreat center and summer camp. Covecrest is a community of Catholics committed to transforming teens, transforming parishes, and transforming culture. Will you join us?
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Awaken Hope: Reflections on the Season of Advent gives you a reason to pause and take a step back during this busy time of year, to shift your focus from material to spiritual preparation. With reflections for each day of the Advent season, this companion is the perfect way to prepare for Christmas and get the most out of this wonderful time of year.
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Camp Covecrest is a Catholic summer camp set in the mountains of North Georgia. It’s a place where parish youth groups from all over the country come together to experience summer camp at its best. Teens are given the opportunity to dive deeply into their Catholic faith and strengthen their relationship with Christ while having unforgettable experiences.
Welcome to Life Teen Summer Camp 2017. We’re so excited that your children, and you as well, have joined us for a week of camp, where we dive into our annual theme “Heart of God” and have a blast at the #BestCampEver.
Monday started off with teens arriving from all over the country, and finally stepping foot onto the grounds of Covecrest. We introduced them to their summer missionaries, who will be journeying with their parish all week, had dinner, and got right into the fun.
Monday night’s session was all about the relentlessness of God’s heart – our hearts are often divided and conflicted, but God’s heart is consistent in pursuing us. The teens were reminded that even if they’ve been settling for something less, God is always inviting them to more.
Following the talk by our host Jon Blevins, the teens gathered in small groups to discuss what they took away from the talk, and then embarked on our epic obstacle course, through water, mud and more!
Directly after the obstacle course, the teens closed out the evening with a brief Eucharistic Adoration, where a priest processed out with Jesus, right into the middle of the teen’s mess and muck, to finish the night on a high note.
It was a great first day of camp, and we’ve only just begun! Check back throughout the week for more updates on all the fun we’re having here at Covecrest, and please continue to pray for your children!
Tuesday at Covecrest brought sunny skies and a day filled with faith, fun and adventure.
Our morning session kicked off with a camp-wide hike, with each camper picking up a stone to carry with them for the day. After reaching a clearing not far from camp, our host talked about how God’s heart is trustworthy, and peace in our hearts begins by resting in His.
Following the talk, the teens lived out a modern-day version of Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God” by quieting their hearts and sitting in silence for about 20 minutes in order to meditate on God’s heart and love for them. Following the silence, Mass was celebrated up on the mountain.
After some organized free time in the afternoon featuring frisbee, volleyball, lake time, the art barn, and much more, it was family dinner time, where the teens enjoyed a communal meal sitting around a table with their parish.
Tuesday night’s session broke open the freedom that comes from the Heart of God. Looking into the story of David and Goliath, the teens identified the “giants” in their lives and how the Heart of God is the key to being freed from those giants. Following the talk, teens could choose from a variety of prayer opportunities, such as confession, adoration and praise & worship.
Ultimately, those rocks that were carried on the hike in the morning, were laid before the altar, entrusting the battle against the giant to Christ alone.
It was only our first full day at Covecrest but it was certainly a powerful one! We’ve got lots of ropes courses and white water rafting around the corner, so stay tuned! You can also follow along with the Facebook Photo Album for the week!
Wednesday brought the first of our two ropes and rafting days, with half the camp heading off to go white water rafting on the Chattooga River, with the other half participating in our high and low ropes courses.
For those going rafting, the beautiful Chattooga River is a powerful and scenic river that’s federally protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which protects the gorgeous area from development and ensures a great experience. Featuring a number of Class II, III and IV rapids, campers are guided down the river by trained professionals and have great opportunities to conquer fears, use teamwork and communication, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
For the campers staying at Covecrest to participate in the ropes courses, these teens were treated to a rotation through our sprawling high ropes challenge course, as well as a variety of low ropes elements around camp.
Starting at ground level and finishing in a 150-foot zip line more than 35 feet off the ground, our high ropes koala challenge course combines a number of climbing elements for teens to take to the skies and conquer. Along with the koala course, we also have a number of dynamic elements including a 50-foot rock wall, a cargo net climb and Jacob’s Ladder.
The rest of the ropes rotation consists of low ropes elements focused on building trust and communication. These range from the tricky and strategic (muse crossing and spider web), the exhilarating and challenging (trust fall & 10-foot scaling wall) and much more. At the end of the day, our ropes courses are built for teens to get in the air, trust each other, conquer fears, and have a blast.
After the rafters got back and ropers climbed down, Mass was celebrated in the amphitheater, followed by dinner.
Wednesday night’s session focused on a somewhat unexpected topic – the jealousy of God’s Heart. The teens were reminded that Jesus is focused and determined in His pursuit of them – He doesn’t want to be second place in their life. The talk from our host challenged the teens to rid their hearts of sin and anything else in their lives that is dividing their heart and keeping Jesus from allowing God in.
Following the talk, the teens had a chance to examine the ‘idols’ in their lives, the areas where they have put something else ahead of God. Then, they had a chance to pray together with either a youth minister or summer missionary that God would help remove those idols and seek Him first.
We’re getting deeper and deeper into the Heart of God, and having a great week of camp in the process! Please continue to pray for your son or daughter, and for all of us here at Camp Covecrest!
More bright skies and fun times ahead greeted us Thursday at Covecrest, as yesterday’s adventures were switched, as the rafters went roping today and ropers went rafting.
Along with all of the fun activities jam-packed into the week, it’s important to highlight two prayer opportunities that we have implemented into every day here at Covecrest – Hour of Mercy, and Morning Praise.
The Hour of Mercy is a full hour every morning and every night for teens to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. With multiple priests available, it’s a chance for teens to embrace the sacrament whenever they are ready, and be cleansed of their sins.
Morning Praise takes place every morning in the main room for 30 minutes, as a guided prayer reflection by our host. Leccio Divina is a form of prayer focused on meditating on scripture in order to let the word of God speak. By reading the scripture followed by a period of silence, repeated two or three times, certain words or phrases can begin to stick out to the teens, who can then dive deeper in prayer and reflect on why those are sticking out in particular.
Our goal is not for camp to be solely a “mountaintop” experience where teens learn and grow in their faith here at Covecrest alone, but instead they take what they learn and bring it back home with them, continuing to strive to deepen their relationship with Christ.
After the morning Hour of Mercy, Morning Praise, and of course a lot of rafting and roping just like yesterday, Mass was celebrated in the amphitheater, with the rocks from Tuesday still placed at the foot of the altar, followed by dinner.
Thursday night’s session proposed a rather unexpected thought on the Heart of God – it’s unfair. We’ve almost all felt that way at one point or another: why does God choose one person to be king (like David) when there were others more qualified? God’s love for every person is consistent, but His plans are different and this can lead to jealousy and anger with God because it feels unfair when comparing ones path to holiness to another’s.
In reality though, when our heart conforms to the Heart of God, what once seems “unfair” transforms into mercy, and we want to live it out. This was broken open even more after the main talk, as the men and women campers split into separate sessions. The men focused their session on pride, and chopped wood together while discussing brotherhood and humility. Elsewhere, the women focused on envy by discussing and identifying areas of envy or anger in their lives, writing them on a piece of glass, and then shattering the glass. The broken shards were then combined to form a beautiful mosaic of humble surrender.
Both the men’s and women’s sessions were incredible bonding experiences of brotherhood and sisterhood, as accountability and community are essential to keeping the faith. It was a beautiful sight to see the teens united in prayer and humility, desiring to dive deeper into the Heart of God.
Tomorrow is already the last full day of camp for the week! Praise God for all the fun so far, and all the messy fun still to come!
The last full day of camp has finally arrived! We’re going big till we go home, and today was a blast!
After a normal morning of Hour of Mercy, Morning Praise and of course breakfast, the campers got to hear about our mission in Haiti as well as participate in the Haiti Big Board fundraiser.
After that began one of the legendary staples of Life Teen summer camp – MESSY GAMES! With a slip and slide, paint, water, colored powder, mud and more, these games were epic and ended where they always do – in the mud pit!
A short trip to the waterfall afterwards to clean off, and it was time for lunch out on the deck, followed by some more organized free time and lake time.
Mass was celebrated in the amphitheater, followed by the big camp picture with everyone wearing their brand new 2017 Life Teen Summer Camp t-shirt! The day continued to fly by with the second round of family dinner, followed by the Friday night session.
The second-to-last session was focused on the mystery of the Heart of God, and while oftentimes we’re hesitant and wary of mystery, God is not a mystery to be featured, but one that we enter into and are transformed by.
Following the talk, the campers experienced an extended time of Eucharistic Adoration, with a priest processing around the main room with Jesus in a monstrance. It was a powerful time of prayer, that we hope helped your teens dive deeper into their faith and the Heart of God.
Parish pow-wows wrapped up the night, and that was a wrap on a packed and exciting day! Your teens will be headed back home tomorrow, and we’re so excited for them to head down the mountain to share what they’ve experienced!
It feels like the buses were just pulling up to Covecrest to drop these teens off, but here we are, on the final day of the week of camp!
7:30 a.m. was the start of the last Hour of Mercy, with the final Morning Praise coming right after. Also offered Saturday morning was a special session for any graduating seniors, to provide some additional information about keeping their faith alive in college, and how to say connected with Life Teen.
Breakfast and an update on the Haiti Big Board were the first order, with the final session right behind it.
Saturday was all about how the Heart of God is enduring. God’s plan is always long term, even when we are short-sighted. The teens were reminded that God will not forget the plans that He has for each and every one of them, and that they are bigger and more transformative than the plans they could ever envision for themselves.
Camp ended on a great high note, with the Heart of God really broken open throughout the week and the teens realizing the great plan God has for them.
God also has great plans for you and your family as well! While there may not be sessions, daily confession, Leccio divina opportunities or mud pits nearby you, we want the camp experience to spill over into the every day lives of these teens, and touch those around them as well!
We know that this is not truly the end of camp, but just the beginning! We can’t wait for the teens to get home and share what they’ve experienced, as well as invite more people into relationship with Jesus.
From everyone here at Life Teen and Camp Covecrest, thank you so much for deciding to send your teens to summer camp. We’re so grateful that you let us spend this past week journeying with them, and helping lead them closer to Christ.