One of the highlights for Camp Breakaway is the final day when Bishop Edward B Scharfenberger has a day of reconciliation with the campers.
(Photo by Jason Husch)
One of the highlights for Camp Breakaway is the final day when Bishop Edward B Scharfenberger has a day of reconciliation with the campers. (Photo by Jason Husch)

It’s almost time to Breakaway!

If you are looking for your son or daughter to experience their faith along with all the fun associated with a week of summer camp, your destination is called Camp Breakaway and the camp is nestled in the Adirondacks.

“I think our goal and our vision has been to give them an opportunity to get away from the normal, grind of your day and just come away and experience community with other people who are open to exploring their faith, looking to have a week of bonding together,” said Brian Evers director of Break¬≠away, which is run out of the Pyramid Life Center in Paradox. 

“Our real goal as adults, because most of my staff is all youth ministers from parishes, is to help them become more aware of the person that God has called them to be. That’s really what we spend a lot of our day doing. And that could be in a workshop or that could be just them hanging out and talking to other people.”

Beth Thayer, program director for the middle school, echoes Evers’ sentiment.

“The biggest thing it offers the kids is the idea that they are with a community of other Catholics,” Thayer said. "It’s a communal feeling for the kids, something that a lot of them don’t experience in their day-to-day life. One of the kids said she likes coming to Breakaway because I get to be Catholic and nobody criticizes her."

This year’s Breakaway camp — which runs from June 26-30 — will feature programs for music, middle school and high school. Each group has its own dedicated director and staff.

Evers said the day is structured similarly to any summer camp but this one is infused with faith.

A typical day would include: breakfast, an opening prayer (created and initiated by the older high-schoolers), then workshop based on a theme. 
For middle school the theme is “You are a Gift” and for high school it’s called “Encounter.” Then there is free time to kayak, canoe, swim, hike and play games, lunch, and an afternoon activity that could be prayer stations where five or six youth ministers from around the Diocese lead groups in a different prayer experiences. 

Then there is dinner, which could be outdoors and a social activity such as Wacky Olympics. The last night is a dance, and there is Mass each night.
One of the highlights of the week is on the last day when Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger leads campers in a day of reconciliation.

Between the three programs, Evers said there are 35 adults on site, a staff of 20 high-school age kids who do a lot of the cooking and cleaning and 150 kids split among the programs.

For some kids, it’s a life-changing experience.

“The last night we do a big campfire and the kids get to get up and say whatever they want, and they will talk about this week is the one week, where I feel I have friends,” Evers said. “I had one kid come up to me and say ‘You do whatever you have to do to keep this thing going because this week is so important in my life.’

“What we are trying to do is give them that experience that it is okay to be Catholic, it’s okay to learn about your faith, and we also try to equip them with the tools that they might need, how to pray, what are different experiences of prayer.” 

Adds Thayer: “They actually get to breakaway.”