News and announcements from around the Metropolis of San Francisco.
I AM AN ICON: Summer Camp Teaches Youth About Being the Image and Likeness of God
Summer Camp. A time for exploring new horizons, deepening your faith in Christ, and creating lifelong friendships. Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, CA offered all this and more to over 250 youth and teens who participated in the Metropolis of San Francisco Summer Camp. Campers came from Arizona, California, Hawaii and Oregon, and a few from as far away as Pennsylvania and Athens, Greece. Following the theme “I am an Icon”, the program focused on each person being made in the image and likeness of God. Campers were challenged to realize their full spiritual and physical potential by following Christ’s example and living a life following God’s commandments and exemplifying His love in their daily interactions with others. For the second consecutive year, the Metropolis was the grateful recipient of a grant from Leadership 100 to assist campers with defraying the cost to attend camp.
“Providing our youth with a fulfilling Summer Camp experience is of paramount importance to the Metropolis of San Francisco,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “Motivating them to be living icons of Christ reminds them of their obligation as Orthodox Christians to follow His teachings and to maintain a life that will inspire good in others. This year’s program was innovative and uplifting for the campers, and I am grateful to the staff whose care and compassion for youth ministry was evidenced in the success of Summer Camp.”
Each warm summer California morning began with Orthros where the campers not only prayed but chanted the morning hymns. Following a hearty breakfast, the day continued with activities including Arts and Crafts, Swimming, Orthodox Life, Theater, Archery, Sports, Canoeing and more. After a full day of learning and fun, campers settled in for the evening with a Vespers service followed by a variety of activities including campfires, a luau and a more prayerful Night with God in preparation for Divine Liturgy the next morning. Special daytime activities included the ever-popular Camp Olympics and the high-school campers enjoyed a trip to the nearby Kings Canyon Sequoia National Park.
An integral part of Summer Camp was the involvement of several Metropolis Clergy who led the daily worship services and provided spiritual guidance for the staff and campers. The clergy serving at camp this year were: Fr. Joseph Chaffee (St. George, Bakersfield, CA); Fr. Ion Coman (Saint Nicholas, San Jose, CA); Fr. Dimosthenis Paraskevaidis (Holy Trinity Cathedral, Portland, OR), Fr. Panayiotis Sotiras (Holy Cross, Belmont, CA); Fr. Silviu Stanculescu (St. Andrew the Apostle, San Luis Obispo, CA); and Fr. Tom Zaferes (Ascension Cathedral, Oakland, CA).
Leading the Summer Camp program is the Ranch Director, Michael Pappas. He was assisted by Program Coordinator Michelle Hawe who serves at the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director for the Saint Anna Greek Orthodox Church in Roseville, CA. Also assisting was Metropolis of San Francisco Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director Paul Gikas.