Totus Tuus Summer Camp
Council: 10020 - No. WINDHAM
Totus Tuus is a Catholic youth program for students from 1st through 12th grade dedicated to teaching the Gospel and deepening love for the Church through catechesis, prayer, Christian witness, and the sacraments. The mission of Totus Tuus is to inspire in young people a true longing for holiness, a deep desire for daily conversion, and openness to their vocation by constantly challenging them to give themselves entirely to Christ through Mary and by strengthening their prayer lives in imitation of Her. Totus Tuus draws upon the energy and dedication of faith-filled college students and seminarians from Maine and across the United States to witness to this mission. Teams of four (two men and two women) are hired each year through a rigorous selection process and spend the first two weeks of the summer in training to carry out the program. In collaboration with local pastors and parish coordinators, the Teaching Team spends the remainder of the summer traveling throughout the diocese, conducting the Totus Tuus program at six separate parish locations. The five pillars of Totus Tuus are 1) The Eucharist; 2) Marian Devotion; 3) Catechetical Instruction; 4) Vocational Discernment; and 5) Fun.
Planning activities began in April when, without warning, word was received from the diocese that our parish was designated to hold the Totus Tuus summer camp July 29 thru Aug 2, 2019. It seemed like a mammoth undertaking with so little time to prepare. Brother Knights and women from the parish jumped in the offer help to the parish director of Faith Formation. All who would be directly involved with children needed to be trained in the diocese version of “Protecting God’s Children” if they had not already done so. Volunteers were enlisted to provide daily adult supervision and security, to prepare and provide daily lunches, to assist the college student “counselors” and seminarian where needed, and provide general help with setting up and cleaning the parish hall. One brother Knight volunteered to document the week taking pictures. The younger children attended the morning to mid-afternoon session each day, and the high school youth attended weekend and evening sessions. To encourage the full family participation, our Council put on a parish cook out on Wednesday evening for seminarian, counselors, parish priests, youth, and parents. Eleven Brother Knights set up the outdoor tents, brought grills and propane, grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken with all the “fixens”, and served over 70 during the fun filled evening. The biggest hit of the evening was the ice cream bar staffed by Knight spouses.
A few words cannot capture the joy and excitement of the full week. Personally, I will never forget the constant smiles of the staff and youth. One faith formation moment came when the seminarian, educating youth about what takes place at baptism, performed a baptism on a soccer ball that the youth proudly gave a baptismal name of “Shaquille Ball”. The daily Eucharist certainly brought the parish family together – parish priests, seminarian, counselors, youth, and volunteers. Other vivid memories include the songs of the youth as they sat in class circles. Perhaps the highlight of the week supporting the fifth pillar “FUN”, was the presence of a local fire truck in the church parking lot on a hot summer afternoon, hosing down gleeful children running in their spray. In one exciting week, all the Knight pillars – faith, community, family, life – were on full display. All the Brother Knights and parish sisters look forward to a second annual “Totus Tuus” Camp next summer.