I have attended Family Camp since I was just 5 months old, and it truly is my favorite place in the world. Growing up at Camp, I was blessed to have the teen staff as my role models. I knew that when I got older, I wanted to be just like them. I am so grateful I had Family Camp to aid me in becoming the person I am today.
Growing up in public school, I wasn’t educated on my faith, other than religion classes at my church. I didn’t talk about my Catholic faith with friends at school, so camp was a fantastic outlet for learning about Catholicism. The summer I was 13, a passion developed for learning about the Catholic Church and its teachings, so I began to ask the older staff lots and lots of questions. My first year of the high school morning group was truly a turning point in my life. We had very in-depth conversations about several different topics that we were all so interested in that we had to continue into lunch time. I spent one day at camp in conversation with the program staff about all my questions, which lasted from morning group at 10:00 all through free time until mass at 4:00. I never would have developed such a burning passion for my faith if it had not been for these discussions that took place on holy ground.
I have always felt extremely close to God at camp, whether it be due to the removal from the internet or being immersed in nature- I feel a great comfort at camp. As I progressed through high school, my friends from camp were my support system when I was going through challenging times. The friendships I have built at camp are sacred and I truly cherish them. During COVID a group of teens I attended camp with prayed a rosary on Facetime together every Sunday night, and that experience was exactly what I needed to get through the long period of time we went without going to church and receiving the Eucharist.
The teen staff are always working on becoming better people and pushing each other to grow. I’ve brought 4 friends from home who have all staffed and their opinions are synonymous that camp is an amazing place. The motto at camp is “Where love grows” which could not ring truer, but for my own experience, camp is where my faith flourished. I recently gave a testimony at the Rochester Diocese’s Hands of Christ ceremony and owed my faith formation to Camp Koinonia. Going to camp from a young age and building a strong foundation with my family, accompanied by teen staffing for the past 4 years has built me into the young woman I am today. I look forward to camp every year and I am so grateful that God blessed me with this holy place.