NEWS

Camp combines faith and fun at the Mount

July 24, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Campers play a rousing game of soccer with members of the Sisters of Life recently at Camp Veritas, hosted on the Mount Saint Mary College campus.

 

The Mount Saint Mary College soccer field buzzed with excitement as the players jockeyed for control of the ball and fans cheered enthusiastically from the sidelines.

It was just like any other athletic tournament on the campus – except this time, the team captains were religious brothers and sisters, and the players were youths from the tristate area and beyond.

The Mount recently hosted Camp Veritas, a weeklong “play and pray” camp for teenagers in grades 7 through 12. Nearly 500 teenagers attended this year’s camp, which featured recreational activities, daily Mass, and talks aimed at strengthening the teens’ faith. Campers stayed in the Mount’s spacious dormitories throughout the week of July 16 and utilized the athletic fields, basketball court, pool, and conference areas.

Veritas is Latin for “truth,” as in the Mount’s motto: Doce Me Veritatem, or “Teach me the Truth.”

The Mount has been hosting the camp each summer since 2013.

Friars and sisters from several religious orders, including the Sisters of Life, the Presentation Sisters, the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, were on-hand to participate in the fellowship and serve as faith role models for the teenagers.

Bryan Mercier, a Catholic speaker, retreat leader, and one of the camp’s presenters this year, talked to the teens about the meaning of life and how to share their faith in the world.

“I love working with the teens of Camp Veritas and helping to form and inspire them in their faith," he said. “The teens of today are the church of tomorrow.”

He added that programs like Camp Veritas view the youths as a resource in improving society.

“We don’t believe that teenagers are the problem in this world – we believe they are the solution to the problems of this world,” he explained.

Grace Bulcher first attended the program as a camper and has returned as a volunteer counselor every year since.

“Camp Veritas has been the highlight of my summer for the past seven years,” she said. “I remember being a camper, looking at the religious sisters and married counselors and saying, ‘I can’t wait to find the vocation God has planned for me.’”

Bulcher, a newlywed, added she enjoys guiding the teen campers on the paths to their own vocations each year.