August 3, 2015

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

Family traditions are important. They create times of bonding, memories, and often laughter. One tradition I had with my children took place sometime during the week before Church camp. My three children and I were to go to the store “for bug spray.” After all Papa couldn’t let his little darlings get eaten alive by the big bad mosquitos! In buying the bug spray I ended up buying new flashlights. I would ask, “What happened to last year’s flashlights?” The children would respond, “They got lost. The batteries corroded. The bulb burned out.” Next came the candy and snack rows. The cry would come out. “We have to have our stash!” By the time this buying binge had run its course, Papa and his wallet were separated to the tune of $100! As I would groan, the children would comfort me by saying, “Papa it’s all for a good cause!”

The fact is, my children were right. Camp was and remains to serve a good cause. This is a time of renewing friendships with other campers and counselors. It is unpredictable and fun. It involved being silly and serious. Most importantly Church camp is a time when kids experience Jesus and the Good News with depth and intensity. Sunday school and worship in the parish last only a few hours. Camp provides a week of undivided attention. Counselors aren’t viewed by the children as adults. They are seen as older sisters or brothers. They also are worthy role models who express and live the faith in ways that are applicable to a young person’s circumstances.

Today, my children are in their 20’s and 30’s. They look back at camp as the very best part of growing up in the Church. When their camp was sold because of insufficient support my kids grieved. They felt holy ground had been taken from them. The Diocese of Eau Claire continues to have a vibrant camping ministry. Our summer camp begins this Sunday afternoon (August 9) and runs through Friday morning. It still isn’t too late to register. Scholarships are still available. Start your own family tradition and enjoy the pleasure of having your son or daughter separating you from your wallet! Remember, it’s for a good cause! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,