St Thomas Camp 10St Thomas Camp 3St Thomas Camp 2St Thomas Camp 4

Father Garrett Nelson, Director of Vocations

With all the bad news that is out there, it is always refreshing to hear good news every once in a while. August 11, 2017, marked the end of this year’s St. Thomas Catholic Camp season, and by all accounts it was a tremendous success! This year we saw a 62% increase in enrollment from last year, going from 72 registered campers to 116! Youth from throughout the diocese and beyond (some coming from Wyoming, Texas, and even Alaska), were able to experience the beauty of Montana, forge friendships, and most importantly encounter Jesus Christ.

Camp this year underwent a complete overhaul. Campers enjoyed the outdoors, climbing, swimming, hiking, fishing, and even honing their archery skills. But even more importantly they were given exposure to the mysteries of our faith—learning the most fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith, and receiving many opportunities to deepen their relationship with Christ and His Church.

The campers went to daily Mass and were taught about its meaning. They were taught about the Rosary and the importance of Marian Devotion, were challenged to open their hearts to what God is asking them to do with their lives, and even given an opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession. Some campers were even so open as to speak about their desire to potentially become a priest or religious sister!

We are so grateful to all those who helped make St. Thomas Catholic Camp a great success this year! Thank you to all the parishes and donors who were able to fund scholarships. We gave 19 full tuition scholarships, and 10 half scholarships totaling $8,400. We received $3423.50 in donations directly to the scholarship fund, and almost $15,000 in donations for the greatest needs of the camp—$5,000 of which went to supplement the scholarship fund, and the rest to assist to pay the salaries of the camp counselors and the cook.

It is such a blessing to have so many generous donors to help our young people have such an amazing religious experience.

It was difficult to say goodbye to the campers every week, and it has been such a blessing to get to know them! It gives me great hope for the future of the Church to see they way they were attentive at Mass, and how deeply they prayed during Eucharistic Adoration. Parents are the primary educators in the Faith, and whenever a child is baptized, it is the parents who take on the responsibility of raising them in the Faith.

Please continue to encourage your children and grandchildren to make their Faith their own, and St. Thomas Catholic Camp will continue to strive to supplement your efforts and give your children a profound experience of God’s love for them. I am looking forward to next year, and again, on behalf of the entire St. Thomas Camp Staff, thank you for sending your children to spend the summer with us!