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Catholic summer camp mixes faith and fun for teens

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Catholic teenagers will soon be getting together near Los Angeles to enjoy the typical pastimes of summer camp — karaoke nights, volleyball and scavenger hunts — but interspersed between these activities, the young people will also learn how to grow deeper in their faith, become better citizens and learn more about pro-life matters.

“The secular world is cheating our teenagers,” said Catherine Contreras, the founder of Vox Vitae summer camp. The purpose of this camp is to “give them information so that they can make good life choices.”

Vox Vitae summer camp program was launched in 2016 and, after a successful start, Contreras is excited to be hosting two summer camps this year: a day camp based in Alhambra and an overnight camp based in Silverado. The Alhambra camp will run from July 9 to July 15 and adults will be invited to attend a talk each night. The Silverado camp will run from July 30 to August 5.

An important aspect of the camp program is the joint education of adults and teenagers. The teens will learn about their faith during the day, and the parents are invited to attend a lecture each evening while the teens enjoy games and activities. “We want them all to go through this experience together,” Contreras explained.

Faith leaders will address both the teenagers and adults about key life and faith issues. Irene Zamorano from Silent No More will share her experience with abortion. Lindsay Fay from the Culture Project will speak about human trafficking, and Terry Barber from Immaculate Heart Radio will explore the topic of faith.

Contreras wants people to examine the reason for the Catholic Church’s teachings. Each day will focus on a specific issue, beginning with a day devoted to Catholic apologetics. Teens will hear a speaker talk on a specific subject before breaking off into small group discussions. Booklets will also be handed out as guides.

The Vox Vitae camps focus on helping participating teens become more active in their faith. The kids will have the opportunity each day for Mass, the Rosary and confession. Joining in protests outside of abortion clinics will give the campers a chance to take a stand for life. The camp’s focus on good citizenship reminds the teens that they “are called to be actively engaged in our community.”

Contreras said that, in her experience, at lot of people “mean well” when they support a woman’s abortion, but that feeling doesn’t help a post-abortive woman or man. “They are hurting because of the natural bond between mother and child and, for a father, the natural bond between father and child,” she said.

Contreras said she hopes the camps will empower teens to realize, “‘I deserve better than abortion’ … and give them tools so that they can make sound decisions for life.”

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