We’re mighty proud of Ryan and Elizabeth Young and their children, the Pleasant Valley family named 2018 International Family of the Year by the Knights of Columbus at the order’s Supreme Council meeting Aug. 8.
Here at Catholic New York, we’ve been following the Young family— parishioners of St. Martin de Porres in Poughkeepsie—ever since they came on our radar in 2008 with their then-fledgling summer program for Catholic teenagers in grades 7-12, Camp Veritas.
By the end of its third successful season, the camp was a clear success and the Youngs were planning their first expansion. “It’s the Holy Spirit gone nuts,” Ryan Young told a CNY reporter at the time.
Indeed, from its small beginning in Lake Lakota in Wurtsboro, Camp Veritas has added programs at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh; Summit Lake in Emmitsburg, Md.; Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center in Lake Placid, Fla.; and, most recently, Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare, Ireland.
They’ve hosted some 10,000 teens over the years, adding an average of 134 new campers annually.
When Cardinal Dolan paid a visit to the Lake Lakota camp in the summer of 2012, he was as excited about the experience as the 400 ebullient campers who greeted him. “Ryan has made Camp Veritas a hit,” the cardinal wrote later. “His genius is that he makes faith fun!”
The cardinal hit the nail on the head.
Ryan and Elizabeth Young, both physicians’ assistants, have a natural joy and ease in the practice of their faith, which they’ve passed on to their seven children, ranging in age from 17 years to 5 months. The three older children worked alongside their parents in getting Camp Veritas up and running, and the children old enough to do so are involved in their parish as altar servers and, in one case, a cantor.
The Young family also is active in community outreach initiatives such as Food for Families, Habitat for Humanity and Coats for Kids, and Ryan Young is a member of the Knights of Columbus St. Martin de Porres Council 7551.
That Ryan and Elizabeth Young and their children are models of what a Catholic family could be almost goes without saying. But we’re glad that the honor they received by the Knights of Columbus is saying it anyway.
The international family of the year recognition is an annual tradition that helps the Knights showcase its belief in the importance of strong and vibrant families as the cornerstone for the stability of society.
The way Ryan Young sees it, his family’s immersion in the Catholic Church is a way of life. What they do as a family, he says, “is normal for us.”
“They wouldn’t even know who they are without their Catholic faith being a part of their core,” he said of his children. “It’s not an aspect of life. It is life.”
We congratulate the Young family on their honor, and we hope they’ll continue their service in the archdiocese for many more years.