We are nearing the end of Session 3 of Fanari Camp and yet it feels like we just got here. Today was another beautiful and warm day. We are enjoying each other’s company and every moment we have left this week at camp.
We are blessed to have two of our Special Needs campers from “Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me” here with us at Fanari Camp this weekend. Maki Limberatos and Nicky Kotsinis have both joined our Fanari Campers in their activities throughout the day. We’re so happy they are both here to experience our Fanari Agape!
Today our campers and staff took part in the sacrament of Holy Confession to prepare us for receiving Holy Communion on Sunday. We thank our visiting Clergy, Fr. Apostolos Georgiafentis from St. Demetrios Chicago, Fr. John Ketchum from Annuncation in Milwaukee and Fr. Nick Georgiou from Holy Apostles in Westchester, for coming up to help out their brother priests.
Our Flex session today was Arts & Crafts, where our campers learned about the meaning behind a prayer rope and how to use it as a tool to stay connected to Christ, through prayer. Everyone made a prayer bracelet for themselves with beads and crosses and then spent a few moments in silence, praying.
The warmer weather brought out a lot of swimmers to the pool during free-time, while others hung out on our beautiful balcony and soaked up the sun. There were plenty of sports activities going on, too, as well as some serious music playing in the Log Lodge with the drums and piano. There’s always something fun happening at Fanari Camp!
Fr. Apostolos Georgiafentis lead our vesper service tonight and spoke about how the priests opens the gates to heaven and leads the people to prayer. Even though he stands before the altar, our prayers go through him to heaven.
We began the night with our annual “Song Game”, where we split the campers into their 4 cabins and they had to compete against each other, singing a song with the word we gave them. Such creative songs and choreography from all the groups! Congratulations goes to the victorious Olympians as the Song Game Champions!
Afterwards, we headed over to the campfire for our sing-a-long. All our voices carried throughout the Retreat Center, singing some of our favorite Fanari songs! Fr. George Lamberis, from St. Haralambos in Niles, came out to lead us in song. Our spirit stick tonight went to the outstanding Olympians! We are so proud of the spirit they have shown all week long.
Staff member, Michael Kallis, spoke at Closing Day and reflected on how we are all a team of Orthodox Christians and when one of us is struggling we have the rest of the team to help us recover. It is a true blessing this week, to be away from the rest of the world in our home at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. The closeness we are experiencing is something we will cherish for years to come.
Our camp is filled with many blessings this week; the campers….the staff….our surroundings….our new facility….our love for Christ and His Church…and each other. Glory be to God for another blessed day at Fanari Camp!