The week began as I thought it would. Sunday afternoon we greeted all of our lovely new campers as there excited smiles sprinkled the main lodge and the parents long goodbyes did there best to embarrass the prepubescent little faces. Once settled into their new homes for the week we all gathered for dinner and orientation in the cafeteria. After all my campers ate their dinner, and let me say that I make sure that they did, it was time for orientation. Doing their utmost to stay attentive, the campers were introduced to the entirety of the Fanari staff. Father Kosmas began with the sparkling smile that he always does and the rest of the staff followed suit introducing themselves and their various roles from program director to counselors and everything in between. The campers were then given a small sampling of the different station that they would be diving into throughout the course of the week. All of this leading up to the best part of Sunday night, the ice cream social. The ice cream social gives all of our campers a chance to not only make a fabulously delicious ice cream Sunday but also to interact with each other, make new friends, and get to know their counselors. A fantastic first day concluded with chapel with all of the cabins praying together and devotional time where each cabin talks amongst themselves and reflects on the day.
Day 2 began as a regular day but as I would soon find out would turn into something truly special. On Monday we were graced with a visit from Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is a bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and since 22 June 2019, he is the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He became the first citizen of Turkey to hold the post and it was such a blessing for not only all of the campers but everyone involved with Fanari to get a chance to receive a blessing from his Eminence. It is not everyday that someone so loved and elevated comes to visit our campers and although some may not have known at the time, hopefully they will realize in the future how great a blessing it was to receive a blessing and a prayer book from Archbishop Elpidophorors. I know that looking back I will always remember his Eminence talking about his own camping experience and how although you may not remember every bible study lesson, through camp we not only create relationships that can last a lifetime but that Fanari can and will be for many of us the foundation for our Orthodox Faith.
I am looking forward to the rest of the week and we apologize for the delay in the uploading of pictures. There have been some technical difficulties that are being sorted out. Please continue to check the Flickr page as well as the Fanari Facebook for pictures and updates.