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Summer Youth Program 2017
Summer 2017

With God's grace, this year's Summer Youth Program has been the most successful yet, having grown to accommodate 20 pious Orthodox high schoolers. For three weeks, these young men participated in the rigorous Church life of the monastery, attended daily lectures and spiritual reflections, and engaged in recreational activities around the monastery and in the nearby communities. After this intensive regimen, everyone inevitably comes out transformed.

With God's grace, this year's Summer Youth Program has been the most successful yet, having grown to accommodate 20 pious Orthodox high schoolers. For three weeks, these young men participated in the rigorous Church life of the monastery, attended daily lectures and spiritual reflections, and engaged in recreational activities around the monastery and in the nearby communities. After this intensive regimen, everyone inevitably comes out transformed.

In their three weeks, the campers were integrated into rhythm of monastic life. They woke up for morning liturgy five days of the week, opening their day with a celebration to God. Other than the aesthetic and symbolic power of participating in liturgy as the sun rises to parallel Christ's light rising out of the darkness, this experience frames the rest of the day as consecrated to God. On Wednesdays, these morning liturgies were celebrated in English at our lake-side chapel. Similarly, the day was closed with either Compline or communal Evening Prayer. Within this cycle of services, the young men experienced three feast days and helped serve two hierarchal liturgies, meeting Bishop George (Schaefer) of Australia and Bishop Nicholas.

Between Church services, the day was filled with edifying activities. Every day, lectures were scheduled featuring Archimandrite Luke, priests, scholars, and others addressing issues relevant to the lives of young adults. Topics included Orthodox spirituality, repentance, how to create a Christian home, the mystery of incorrupt relics, an Orthodox perspective on dinosaurs and evolution, and the philosophies of the contemporary university system. An interesting addition to these lectures was a talk by the former professional football player, Ilya Jaroschuk, about living an Orthodox life while in the NFL. After the speech, he distributed signed posters commemorating his time with the New England Patriots. These lectures were met with the enthusiastic engagement of the campers, who consistently asked pertinent and penetrating questions to our guests. Thank God!

After the lectures, the young men participated in a variety of activities. They worked alongside the monastics as a chance to fellowship with these spiritual strugglers. This also allowed the campers to witness the work necessary to keep the church thriving, as they participated in candle making, incense making, beekeeping, graveyard tending (an excellent occasion for contemplation!), cross making, and gardening. After these obediences, they had the opportunity to play soccer, football, or ping-pong, to swim/boat/fish in our nearby lakes, or to simply relax and talk to each other. We also provided the boys with day-long activities to hike around a local waterfall, enjoy a classic Americana 4th of July parade with fireworks, engage in friendly competition with laser tag, and eat at a Chinese buffet with Archimandrite Luke.

Thank God for another year of the Holy Trinity Summer Youth Program! We pray that the young men take the depth of Orthodox spirituality and life back with them into the world and into their future college careers.

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Fund for Assistance Thank You - Summer Youth Program 2017
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Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36
Jordanville, N. Y. 13361
Telephone: (315) 858-0945
info@hts.edu