Thursday, August 26, 2010

Camp Veritas- Finale

That morning, I was up bright n' early and ready to go out with a bang. I had overslept about 37 minutes the last two mornings, but the second I opened my eyes, I shot them open and jumped into the shower. They had us do most of our packing yesterday afternoon, so I just packed up the last couple things and headed over to morning prayer and breakfast. The last morning is always pretty quiet. Some people sleep a little later, others are packing, others hangin' out and saying goodbyes to friends, and some reunite with Parents. All of me and my buddies kind of hovered around and waited. We had the excitement of our beloved archbishop coming to celebrate Mass for our last hurrah as well, so Ryan was flustered preparing for his arrival as well.

Let me tell ya a little bit about this guy; he is the biggest, funniest ,holiest, huggiest guy you are ever gonna meet. I've gotten to see him on about 5 occasions, and I absolutely adore him.

                                           My biggest surprise, though, came a couple minutes later. I was walking by the snack bar building when I heard a voice shout "Hey Caleb!" This was one of those moments. That voice was so eerily familiar, so unforgettable. But I almost didn't recognize the face I heard it from. The second  I did, though, it was all I could do to keep from crying. "You know me!" he exclaimed. and I certainly did. It was Max Shnicker, a boy all of the way back from '08. When I had first met him, he was a 16-year-old from Maryland with a crew cut and a young personality. Now, he was a long haired, bearded seminarian for my archdiocese. All week his brother said he couldn't remember where it was he was going to college, but He knew it was a male Saint whose name started with J. I should have known it was St. Joseph's, our seminary. I shouted "Of course I do!" The second I recognized him and we embraced. Embraces came still more when my parents arrived with Addisu and Gabby. We were all in tears to see each other, and were so happy to be together again. Mass was amazing with the Archbishop. Ryan even gave him a T-shirt for the camp (the archbishop claimed he fit quite snuggly in a medium and did not need a large)

I even got to talk to him!

Good-byes were hard this year. Lots of great people, so many great times, so much we all have to Praise God for. But in the words of Michael W. Smith, "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the lord of them"

Two of my best buds from this year.  I will never forget them. Ever.

On the ride home though, I had lots of time to think whilst I sipped a Frappe we picked up from a McDonalds's on the road home. I felt like this year, everything was much more strong emotionally, friendships, hardships, worries, good times, all of it. I tried to figure out what had changed from 2008 to 2010. It came to me pretty quickly once I thought good and hard about it. In '08, I went in (as well as all of us), we were young. We loved God to a certain level. We were all ready for a good time. By the end of that first Camp Veritas, all of that had changed. God's glory was on the forefront of our hearts, and we were growing in the Lord. In 2009 we all came back, looking ot take that love and form it into our lives so it changed us radically, and indeed that happened. And by this year, we were all grown up and living it in our own way. Some of us who were campers were now counelors. Some joined the Marines. Some even entered the seminary. While I'll still go back next year and for many more, the change God willed Camp Veritas to activate in kids has happened in the majority to my generation. While there will always be a new camper in my group, Ryan's given us the tools to prepare the next generation for the love of Christ within us through answering the calls Camp Veritas has given us. Thank you to Ryan and all the staff of Veritas for turning us towards God so wholeheartedly. For now, though. I'm happy to be home :)  

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