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Camp Veritas to Expand its Summer Program for Teens
Maria R. Bastone
OUTDOORS-Girls huddle before starting on a treasure hunt.

Talk about a success story!

Camp Veritas, a weeklong summer program that combines traditional sleep-way camp activities with an immersion in the Catholic faith, began three years ago with 50 girls and boys.

This year, the camp finished its Aug. 14-20 season with an enrollment of 260 seventh- through 12th-graders.

“It’s the Holy Spirit gone nuts,” quipped camp director Ryan Young.

“The kids have a great time,” he said. “They’re spreading the word, their parents are spreading the word. And we have a very high retention rate.”

Since it started in 2008, Camp Veritas has operated for a week in late August at the Camp Lakota campgrounds in Wurtsboro after the Lakota season has ended.

Now, said Young, Camp Veritas is ready to expand.

Starting next July 8, Camp Veritas will also offer its program throughout the summer in Thornwood on a Legionaries of Christ campus to accommodate additional campers, including those from other states, and also to accommodate those who can’t make it at the end of August.

“A lot of schools start earlier than they do in New York,” Young said, “and a lot of high school sports programs start early. So we wanted to have more options for them.”

He said that Archbishop Dolan, who visited Camp Veritas last year, was very helpful in securing the Thornwood site. “We’ve been working together on this for the past year,” Young said.

He added that the program will continue its August week at the Camp Lakota site as well.

“We have a recipe here that works,” said Young, who said the Veritas program revolves around the Eucharist, Mass, the Rosary and spiritual talks and testimonies—along with swimming, volleyball, basketball and other physical activities.

Staffers include Father Luke Sweeney, the archdiocesan director of vocations, who’s one of the camp priests; members of the Sisters of Life and the Franciscans of the Renewal; and some 80 counselors, known as mentors.

“We follow the recipe of Don Bosco,” said Young, referring to the Salesians’ founder who organized youth ministries.

“It’s play and pray here,” Young said.


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