With almost sixty campers and staff members, St Peter's Monastery Youth Camp 2019 nearly doubled in size this year. Campers came from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio, and Portland almost matched the numbers coming from Colorado Springs. We made great progress with the work on the monastery and are in a position to begin work on the cloisters next summer. In addition to this work, campers joined Brother Donald to pick several loads of rock from a meadow near Pony and make riparian repairs at the bridge, beautifully refinished the massive doors given to the Monastery by Holy Trinity in Butte, pruned the olive trees, and planted sixteen rose bushes and twenty-four Ponderosa Pines (Montana's State tree).
Hieromonk Innocent established as the week's theme the study of the saints, and everyone received a binder containing the lives and wisdom of many prominent saints. This prompted much good discussion about how these exemplary lives might inform our own lives in an often virulently secular world. And besides study and discussion, there was regular worship and afternoon excursions and evening softball games before Vespers at the cross.
One of our evenings was spent in discussion with Archbishop Benjamin who flew in to "inspect the work."
While the Archbishop was here, the Foundation board met to reflect on this year's work and to plan for the coming year when we hope to host another youth camp during the last week in June 21-27, 2020. Applications will be available on the web site this fall.
My great thanks to Hieromonk Innocent and Brother Donald, Fathers David and Moses, Mary Matthews our extraordinary chef (as Bishop Benjamin pointed out, we "fasted sumptuously'), Josh Hicks and James Latimer for their icon and choir workshops, and all the staff members from Portland and Colorado Springs who made this year's camp so enjoyable, productive, and inspiring.