Ready for summer relaxation?
Retreats, summer camps made possible through Bishop's Appeal
Editor's note: Eighth in a series on the Bishop's Appeal.
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
Bishop's Appeal at a glance
The 2008 Bishop's Appeal campaign provides for 50 percent of the diocese's operating expenses. All gifts are tax-deductible and credit cards are accepted. Pledge gifts allow donors to spread contributions over a 10-month period.
Those who give $500 or more a year to the Bishop's Appeal become members of the Crozier Society. Donors participating in Advancing the Mission stewardship campaign retain membership. Josh Diedrich, director of the Bishop's Appeal, encourages donors to ask their employers if they provide a matching gift program.
For more information about the Bishop's Appeal, contact Diedrich, at (920) 272-8197 or 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8197; e-mail: [email protected] or go online to www.gbdioc.org.
ALLOUEZ -- While winter seems to be giving us an encore, spring will soon take center stage. When summer arrives, the outdoor sections of the Diocese of Green Bay will be in full swing.
On April 1, Camp Tekawitha in Shawano County will begin operations and Holy Name Retreat House on Chambers Island in Door County will open in mid-May.
Both facilities are operated by the diocese and receive part of their operational funds from the annual Bishop's Appeal. Both are part of the Department of Evangelization and Worship, which received 18 percent of last year's Bishop's Appeal. This year's appeal target is $5.25 million, the same as last year's.
Camp Tekawitha, on the shores of Loon Lake, not far from the town of Cecil, has been offering summer camp experiences to children since Helen Van Lanen founded it in 1926. It started as a girls' camp, but expanded to a co-ed facility in the 1960s.
"Camp helped to lay the foundation for my adult life," said a 1992 camp alumnus in a note to staff, "by helping to strengthen my character and self-esteem as well as helping me to mature as a Catholic."
This summer, on Memorial Day weekend, Camp Tekawitha will hold its first Alumni Weekend.
"Anybody who ever went to camp is welcome to come up there and be part of this event," said Deacon Mike Grzeca, diocesan director of evangelization and worship.
When they do, they will notice several new things at the camp, which underwent major renovations over the last six years which included a new lodge, health center, bunkhouses and chapel. This year's updates are smaller, but just as much fun:
- New water toys, including a raft and water log;
- A new teepee in the meadow;
- New picnic tables;
- A new archery range backdrop.
Besides the regular weekly and mini-week camps for children from June to August, camp director Mary Piezker has also added other events including a women's retreat in the fall and a family Halloween event in October. More parishes are also using the facilities for confirmation and youth retreats.
"We want to be of service to the parishes and groups of the diocese, to make it as hospitable as we can to encourage them to use the facilities that are available," said Greg Layton, diocesan manager of Retreat and Shrine Operations. "Camp Tekawitha is certainly a wonderful place to come and commune with nature, located between two lakes - between Loon Lake and Shawano Lake."
The camp also offers "camper-ships" for first-timers to attend the children's summer camps. Each of the 160 parishes in the diocese can apply for two camper-ships each year.
"These camperships (funded by a donation) are designed to help us get more kids to camp," said Deacon Grzeca. "It does not have to be based on financial need. The hope is that we'll get some new people to come and see what a beautiful place this is."
Retreat on the Bay
Holy Name Retreat House has offered summer retreats since 1951. Located on Chambers Island, about seven miles into the waters of Green Bay from Fish Creek in Door County, the retreat house can only be reached by boat. Those who take the 45-minute trip on the retreat house boat will notice a few changes:
- The older section of the retreat house has been repainted white, to repair some deterioration of the wood. The goal is to reside the entire building to match the addition that was added in 2000, once funds are raised.
- A statue of St. Francis outside the conference room;
- A Blessed Virgin grotto that includes a waterfall;
- A cedar split rail fence on the bluff outside the chapel;
- Air-conditioning in the dining hall;
Less apparent, but hugely important, is the new water piping. The water levels of Lake MacKaysee have been dropping and the new pipes (donated material and work) will offer ample supplies this summer.
Also new this year, according to Layton, will be more one-day retreat times open for parish retreats, or retreats for other groups.
Also new this year - it was scheduled last year, but was stormed out - will be a "Moving through Loss Toward Resurrection," a retreat for those who are grieving offered July 1-3 by Fr. Bill Swichtenberg and Pat DeGroot.
Ben and Charlotte Duran are the directors of Holy Name Retreat House.
For more information on either Camp Tekawitha or the diocesan retreat house, or on the annual Bishop's Appeal, visit the diocesan Web site at www.gbdioc.org.