A group of around 250 campers, chaperones and staff gathered at Forest Lakes, Ōtaki, from 16–20 January 2018 for the fourth annual Life Teen Summer Camp Aotearoa. Parish groups travelled from the Archdiocese of Wellington and Diocese of Palmerston North, and others came from Hamilton and Christchurch.
‘I LOVED camp. I’ll definitely come next year. It had a very big impact on my faith journey and made me realise God is the most important thing.’
Life Teen Summer Camp January 2018. Photo: Supplied/Life Teen
The week’s theme was ‘Heart of God’, featured in sessions, Mass and times of prayer.
Dom Quaglia, a Catholic speaker based in Nashville, USA, and his wife Sarah Kroger, a musician, led the week together with 50 young-adult staff from around New Zealand. Priests and sisters visited during the week.
Cardinal John Dew celebrated the opening Mass and Bishop Charles Drennan the closing Mass. Highlights were ‘Messy Games’, an outdoor Mass after hiking to the other side of the lake, the vocations panel, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Dom’s inspirational speaking and Sarah’s music leadership.
‘Opened my heart to God which was previously completely closed off.’
In January this year a group of 15 young people from the Catholic Parish of Napier crammed into two vehicles to be transported to the annual Life Teen Summer Camp at Forrest Lakes, Ōtaki.
As I piled into the cosy van I expected the next five days would be mindless praise and rambling teachings about God. Oh, how I was wrong. To say the camp was an amazing, unforgettable experience is an understatement! Daily Mass was enjoyable and memorable moments were found everywhere, from uplifting adorations, surprise mud attacks on friends, to free time full of laughter.
Bonds strengthened with new friends and, more importantly, with God. Life Teen Summer Camp taught us God’s heart holds an immense love for every one of us. In a modern world where a Christian teenager is not often surrounded by like-minded teens, Life Teen provided a young community of faith for ‘followers of Christ’. The five days were a 10/10 and I would camp again, for sure!
Published in WelCom March 2018