In 2009 CYE established a more permanent summer home in Door County at St. Joseph’s Formation Center in Baileys Harbor. “That year I went on a young adult expedition,” said Sarah. “Seeing other people my age in that community it was really normal, it seemed natural to apply for staff because it was people my age doing something great with their summer and they were finding a way to be involved in an awesome ministry with their time.”
Last summer Sarah joined the CYE staff as a volunteer and she is volunteering again this summer through Aug. 15. Her job is running Base Camp, located at 1000 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Appleton, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
“Base Camp is a meeting place for youth to come and just hang out, to talk about their faith, to meet new people their age or from the area. We have food and coffee, Door County cherry smoothies, pizza, stuff like that for them and movies. It’s an awesome meeting place for youth to come and hang out,” noted Sarah.
The first week of the summer was devoted to the staff members.
“It’s very community-based so the staff builds the community,” she said. “We have a week of getting to know each other and building a routine for community. We start with 7:30 adoration, 8 a.m. morning prayer and then Mass and breakfast.”
She said there is work, prayer and some free time during the day.
“We try to build that routine and get to know each other and then the expeditions (in Baileys Harbor) open up,” said Sarah. “We have high schoolers and young adults; there’s a family expedition and a special needs expedition. People just come and enter into that community for various numbers of days.”
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Sarah Dickhut
Parish: St. Mary, Greenville
Favorite saint: Thomas More
Words to live by: “Do little things with great love. ” — St. Thérèse of Lisieux
The expedition groups follow a similar schedule with the morning prayer, Mass, adoration, formation, work and outdoor adventures like water skiing, wakeboarding and swimming. The expeditions typically run three or four days.
“They’re an opportunity for high schoolers and young adults and families to spend time and to find some adventure outdoors,” said Sarah. “It is also to encounter Christ in a way distinct from a typical retreat.”
Part of it is by the outdoor environment, she explained, but the other part that distinguishes CYE is that the expeditions are “an entering into a community of the staff.”
“It isn’t an event put on for the expeditioners. It is the expeditioners coming into the community of the staff members,” said Sarah. “In that sense there isn’t a lot of praise and worship, there’s just a lot of communal prayer, living as a community, working together, praying together, playing together, all of that for a few days.”
Running Base Camp is a full-time volunteer position for Sarah. “I’m here pretty much the whole summer except sometimes I go on expeditions. Also I’m doing an internship at the county courthouse so I work seven hours a week there.”
No matter what path her life takes, Sarah wants to stay involved with CYE in some way.
“I’ve met some amazing people on the expeditions: high schoolers and young adults,” she said. “I love the amazing faith of the people on staff as well. There’s just so many benefits. I think above all I see the greatest reward in the opportunity to serve. I think it’s really an honor to serve, especially to serve the youth so that’s just been a very rewarding experience for me.”