Our journey began flying to the United States on the 18th of July. Our first days in Florida were spent with Brian Shields and a group of young people taking part in the Lumen Film Camp. We had a good time for two days helping film their short movie. He invited us to give talks or testimonies about our conversion and art, especially popular media.
On July 21st we set out in a caravan with 24 boys from Jacksonville and drove all the way to the Appalachian Mountains in the north of Georgia. We camped at Lake Winfield Scott. We camped in tents and used a Cabin as our headquarters. The lake was great for swimming and we had some beautiful moments praying the Rosary or even celebrating Mass on the shore of the Lake. On the trip there were boys from Florida, Colorado, Mississippi and New Hampshire.
We made two excursions from our campsite. On the first one we visited a great swimming hole with a waterfall. On the second excursion we traveled to the Tallulah Gorge. In Tallulah Gorge we hiked down and through the Gorge until we arrived at the sliding rock falls, a huge natural waterslide. We had a great time sliding down and swimming in the pool below, enjoying God´s creation. We also did two hikes along the Appalachian Trail. On the last hike we climbed to the top of Blood Mountain and overnighted there in a stone refuge built on the peak. We cooked hot dogs over the fire and prayed the rosary as the sun set on the Appalachian Mountains.
The next morning we celebrated Mass and had adoration on top of the mountain with a great view of the mountains as our altarpiece. As we prayed in adoration a thick fog like incense covered the whole mountain. We all had a great experience enjoying the mountains, one another's company, and exploring the spiritual mountains of holiness through adoration, Mass, talks, etc.
From the 31st of July to the 7th of August we were in Camp Kateri with the younger boys. We divided the boys up in teams and each team worked together during the whole week of camp. Each team made a processional cross that they carried with them or held at the beginning of their line when it was time to form up.
We had Mass and Adoration everyday with different meditations given by the different brothers and priests with stories and good reflections. The times of prayer were a great opportunity for the boys to get to know the Lord and Our Blessed Mother better. At the end of the camp several boys said that they wanted to pray the rosary with their families when they returned to their homes.
We had a great time swimming in the lakes, fishing, and playing other games. One of the famous events at the end of camp is the Iron Man competition. We did an Iron Team competition with running, pushing a wheelbarrow, swimming, army crawling through sand, etc. During the camp we also found some interesting lizards, turtles and other critters. A big part of the camp is also the songs, night games, and much more.
The theme of both camps was the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” We are in the 100 year anniversary of her apparitions in Fatima. In one of the secrets of Fatima she said, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will Triumph.” Hopefully, her heart has triumphed already in each one of our hearts, especially all the boys who participated in the camps. Her triumph is also our triumph. May we never stray from her side.