Since 1994, with the blessings of the ever memorable Metropolitan Lavr, St. Seraphim Camp has served thousands of youth. The camp began earlier as a family outing for the parish of Christ the Savior in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Metropolitan Lavr saw the need for such a camp to serve a wider audience and immediately blessed stseraphim5the foundation of St. Seraphim Camp. An arrangement was made with the Boy Scouts of America to rent a camp in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. The first camp was attended by well over 100 children. Today the camp serves over 200.
A miraculous event occurred which solidified the resolve of the children and staff. One early morning, as is usual, the children had gathered for morning prayers. All the children and staff were present. During the reading of the prayers the camp director, Fr. Alexis, heard church bells being rung, a trezvon. He assumed someone in the kitchen was playing a recording while they worked. Many of the children also heard the bells and wondered where they were coming from. After the prayers there was a lot of conversation about the bells. Upon further investigation, it was determined that there were no radios or players anywhere. The camp is situated far, far from any homes or civilization. It was determined that the bells was something not of this world.
Metropolitan Lavr was contacted and the miraculous bell ringing was explained. Vladika said that it was a sign from God that this endeavor was pleasing to Him and a great blessing. Since that time, every camper has heard the story of “St. Seraphim’s Bells”. The camp endeavors to keep that original spirit alive. Due only to God’s blessing, the camp has prospered for many years and is currently the largest Russian Orthodox camp in the West.
Each day we say our Morning and Evening Prayers. Then, on Saturday evening we serve the Vigil and all the staff and campers go to confession. We had 7 priests in camp during the week this year. On Sunday we had a hierarchal Divine Liturgy with Vladyka Nicholas, our new Bishop. Importance is placed on the liturgical life and spiritual life of the children.
This was the first year I attended camp. I was excited and over-joyed. The staff was wonderful and the campers were exciting and great. We had approximately 150 campers and 80 staff members.
We have a wide variety of activities for the children. We have the usual sports such as soccer, ball games, hiking, swimming and even tubing on the rather lazy Lehigh River. Of course we have a staff of lifeguards and sports counselors. A nurse was always in attendance for all sporting events and throughout the camp during the week. Counselors were with the campers at all times.
During an evening campfire, the campers performed skits they had been working on during the week.
It was a great week, life long friendships are made. I hope to see you all next year at St. Seraphim’s Camp.