MANVILLE: Church summer camp rides into the West

There takes kids to Wild West City on field trip

   ”Son West” was the theme for summer camp with Sacred Heart and Christ the King Churches.
   Forty children who completed kindergarten through fifth grade participated in the weeklong camp July 8-12 at Sacred Heart Church.
   Mary Ellen Day was the sheriff in charge of the camp. David Rubin helped as the deputy with other parishioners from both parishes as counselors and kitchen crew. There were 58 children involved with the camp, including the aides.
   ”I think the camp went very well this year. We had a smaller turnout than usual, but we had just as much fun,” Mr. Rubin said. “Being a deputy and supervising the counselors was a lot of work, but also fun. I thank Mary Ellen very much for giving me that opportunity. Part of our success is the staff; we all play a huge part in keeping the future of our church intact and involved. Of course, some things do need to be tweaked and improved, but all things considered, it was very well done.”
   Father Stanislaw Slaby, pastor of both churches, was pleased with the camp.
   ”I am very proud of our children, and I believe that all of them would agree that this was a great time,” he said. “I would like to thank all our volunteers who are key players to have our summer camp.”
   Each day camp began with a Mass at the church. Groups were broken down into four smaller groups, according to age, were called the Prairie Dogs, Crazy Cows, Lucky Lizards and Wild Horses and participated in daily activities on a rotating basis.
   The activities included a religion class, music to learn songs for the camp Mass finale, art and sports. A craft was made each day, and the children ran relays and played dodge ball and kickball.
   Every day, a hot lunch was served by volunteers, and the campers dined on prairie hot dogs, golden nuggets, wagon-wheel macaroni and cheese and pizza. Of course, you couldn’t be in the Wild West without having some sarsaparilla floats and s’mores.
   Friday, the group traveled to Wild West City in Netcong. Campers saw up close and personal how the cowboys lived in the Wild West and rode a stagecoach that was held up by bandits.
   To end the week, they attended a celebration Mass on Saturday. After the Mass, the children sang the songs they had practiced all week for the parents and parishioners.
   All of the campers were invited down to the auditorium after Mass for a presentation and a slide show of the week’s activities. Each drew a number for a prize, and everyone received a gift. Four children — John Schilp, Sonia Niecikowski, Isabella Dussias and Christian Mente — had their names drawn to receive a bicycle.
   Campers came from parishes from the area and out of state. Susan Schilp of Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Middlesex signed up her children to attend.
   ”This was our first year at this Bible camp, and we will definitely be returning next year,” she said. “My two younger children had an amazing time, attending Mass, learning songs about Jesus, making crafts and making new friends. My older daughter served as a junior counselor and enjoyed teaching the younger children and assisting the adult volunteers.”
   ”As a working mother, I loved the fact that camp was all day and included a hot lunch each day,” she said. “I knew that my children were enjoying, playing, learning and praying while I was able to get a full day of work accomplished.”
   She said her favorite part was the closing pageant after Mass when all children sang songs for the parents and congregation.
   ”I heard my children practicing during the week, singing songs on the way home from camp, but it was so nice to see them singing and dancing with their classes. The final program was wonderful,” Ms. Schlip said.
   For information about next year’s weeklong summer camp, email shctksummercamp@yahoo.com.