A Message from the CYC Board President

 Dear Friends of Catholic Youth Camp:

Over the past few months you may have heard rumors about Catholic Youth Camp (CYC) closing or you may have read about our struggles and revitalization in the Catholic Spirit article about executive director Natalie King’s wedding which took place at CYC this fall <http://thecatholicspirit.com/news/local-news/destination-wedding-catholic-youth-camp/>.

It is true that the board of directors which oversees CYC has spent several months reflecting on what to do about the difficult financial position that the camp has been in for many years now. As a result of these pressures the board did consider several purchase offers on the property at Big Sandy Lake. After much discussion and prayer the board discerned that the mission of CYC to build a future church and invest in our youth by providing a quality Catholic camping experience based on friendship community and prayer would be best served by undertaking a revitalization and restructuring while continuing to operate camp. Registration for Summer 2015 is now open and we look forward to seeing you there!

We have begun to undertake the process of restructuring and revitalizing Catholic Youth Camp to address the needs of our contemporary Catholic community in Minnesota. Some of our areas of effort are to try and build on our success with exposing underprivileged youth to a camp experience and to bring more schools and youth groups to camp and offer customized experiences.
Some of our board members who have worked tirelessly to advance the mission of CYC for many years have taken advantage of this transition to embrace new opportunities to serve while others are looking forward to continuing to serve in leadership capacity. As a former camper (‘97/’98) and staff volunteer (’00-’02 and ’13-‘14) I have maintained a connection to camp for many years and as part of the restructuring and revitalization of the camp have accepted the position of board president.

There are many aspects of operating a successful camp program. It is critical that we better engage our Minnesota Catholic community in understanding and supporting the vision of Fr. Jack Sweeney who founded CYC in 1947 to help youth achieve a respect and love of Catholic values while providing a unique opportunity to reflect on life through encounters with God’s gift of nature and community.

In an effort to better engage our Catholic community we are completely revamping our advisory committee structure and are looking for volunteers willing to assist us in this important work. If you have ideas about what a Catholic camp should look like and a willingness to consider joining us in this effort I would like to invite you to an exploratory session in the afternoon of January 31. We’re especially looking for people willing to assist in areas of financial planning marketing outreach events facilities planning and leadership but welcome anyone with ideas or interest. It is our goal to expand on existing relationships to bring more groups schools and especially under-privileged youth a Catholic community camp experience. There is no commitment to participate beyond this meeting though we hope you’ll be as excited as we are and stick around for a while.

Pope Francis has said “Our generation will show that it can rise to the promise found in each young person when we know how to give them space. This means that we have to create the material and spiritual conditions for their full development; to give them a solid basis on which to build their lives; to guarantee their safety and their education to be everything they can be; to pass on to them lasting values that make life worth living; to give them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity for the good; to give them the legacy of a world worthy of human life; and to awaken in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny sharing responsibility for the future of everyone. If we can do all this we anticipate today the future that enters the world through the window of the young.”

It is these “material and spiritual conditions” that we strive to create at Catholic Youth Camp. I ask that you prayerfully consider assisting us in this mission for our youth the future of our church and join us onJanuary 31.

If you have questions or would like to RSVP for this event please contact ben@franske.com or natalie@cycamp.org. Your prayers for our success are always appreciated as well!

Pax Christi
Ben Franske
President Catholic Youth Camp

"To me, CYC is a place where I can really be myself and make new friends. At CYC, I feel safe and happy. The counselors at camp have inspired me. I feel closer to God since my experience at CYC." - Anna

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