By Lesa Tines
McCOOL JUNCTION (SNR) – In 1999 the Diocese of Lincoln, purchased a farm near McCool Junction to be used for a Catholic camp for the youth and families of Nebraska.
Named after Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Camp Kateri is the location of SKY Camp, a Catholic summer camp for children in grades six through nine.
At SKY Camp, children will experience traditional camp activities like swimming, archery, campfires, crafts and outdoor games. But what makes SKY Camp different from others is that the focus is on God.
In fact, the camp runs on “God’s time.” All time-telling devices are turned in at the beginning of camp. This gives campers the freedom to get the most out of their camp experience without worrying about time. Campers use that time to take part in activities that will enrich their spiritual life such as daily Mass, Reconciliation, Adoration, and adventure catechesis activities, all designed to help them grow in their faith.
Russell Koos was appointed director of Camp Kateri in March 2014. Koos has been a camp director for most of his adult life. He was a camp director for kids with asthma as part of the American Lung Association, and he also worked at Camp Kitaki, the Nebraska camp run by the YMCA.
SKY Camp is unique from other summer camps because the staff’s focus is on God. The staff is made up of devoted individuals with extensive experience in youth development and ministry.
“By sending your child to Camp Kateri, your child will be spending time with Catholic role models who take youth development seriously,” Koos said. Campers at Camp Kateri will experience the wonders of God’s creation through unique outdoor activities.
Camp Kateri is made up of six air-conditioned cabins, a rectory, a restaurant-grade kitchen with attached cafeteria, a bathhouse (which also serves as a storm shelter), two buildings for staff quarters, and a recently re-roofed barn that serves as a multipurpose area and indoor chapel. Also on the camp grounds, campers will find an outdoor chapel, campfire pit, basketball court, and areas that inspire prayer and honor the camp’s patron, St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
Making a debut at Camp Kateri this year is a new team-building program, improved archery range and an oversized rosary.
Camp Kateri gives children a chance to “unplug” from the world and spend their day physically active and outdoors. It is also a chance to experience success and gain confidence while making new friends and learning to work with others.
Campers entering grades six and seven are invited to attend the three-day/two-night camp, which costs $110. Those entering grades eight and nine will participate in a four-day/three-night camp, priced at $150. Five dates are available to choose from for those entering grades six and seven and three days for campers entering grades eight and nine.
In order to keep costs low for campers, volunteers are an essential part of Camp Kateri. Volunteers are needed to work as high school counselors and kitchen cooks. Applications can be found on the Diocese of Lincoln website. To register for SKY Camp, log onto the Diocese of Lincoln website at: http://www.lincolndiocese.org/camps/sky-camp.