Summer camp superheroes

Jun 30, 2021
It’s a beautiful monring to go canoeing. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

WINTER PARK | Dodging afternoon rains, San Pedro Spiritual Development campers enjoy outdoor activities, discovering their superpower and how it helps them live their faith.

Superheroes in Training, this year’s theme, is a throwback to Summer Camp Manager Lisa Karpinski’s middle school days there. “You can incorporate so many things into superheroes and it fits in with the teachings and Catechism we follow,” she said. “It seemed like a fun theme for the campers after this crazy year they’ve had… a way to embrace their inner superhero.”

Eighth grader Julia practices her newly acquired talents, crochet, during a morning break. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

Of course, every superhero has an origin story, Karpinski noted. “Our origin story is the Book of Genesis – how we were created; how we came about.”

To help campers tap their “superpowers”, counselors explained the difference between gifts and talents. “Gifts are freely given by God and we’re born with them. Talents are what we acquire over time,” Karpinski explained. Campers reflected on “how they make people happy; how they bring joy and love; and how they cultivate life and love in this world.”

Evan’s superpower is clearly his smile, shining broadly beneath his glasses and soft strawberry-colored hair. With his arm in a sling from an elbow injury, the 9-year old stood looking on as his friends played Gaga Ball. It is his second year at camp and said it did not disappoint. His favorite superhero is Ironman. He likes that he makes suits that allow him to do extraordinary things. In a sense, his brain is his superpower – using it to invent something to help protect others. Evan said one of the tools he’ll take home is praying the rosary more often.

Whether music, a smile, or traits of kindness and patience, most first through eighth graders realized gifts and talents they usually take for granted. They discovered something as simple as a sense of humor is a gift that can spread love and share the Gospel message.

Eucharistic Adoration helps bring campers closer to an encounter with Christ. (COURTESY)

This was Julia’s fourth summer camp. The 13-year-old St. Margaret Mary Catholic School student has been going to camp since fourth grade. She said, “San Pedro has really expanded my spiritual life and it’s a great opportunity to keep going.”

She added, “The gift that God gave me is I’m a very kind person and can make people smile. It can help someone if they’re having a bad day.” She said that gift enables her “to make a lot more friends, meet new people, and expand the community around you.” She also appreciates a new optimism, learning and believing “God’s love is endless. He’s always there for you,” motivates her to “express and share His word to everyone.” With a smile that exuded joy she noted, “(Jesus is) just amazing. That’s really helped me at home because it has helped me come closer to my family.”

“My love for God has strengthened. I’ve learned that God is here for me and He’s never going anywhere – no matter what happens; no matter if I make multiple mistakes or a horrible choice,” she said. “I can always turn to Him because He is our Saviour.”

Through Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Penance, each camper had the chance to heal and spend time before the Lord, opening their hearts to Him. Unpacking the “call to sainthood”, Karpinski noted everyone was sent home as “heroes of faith” equipped with the tools- “all the knowledge” – acquired through the week “to spread the Good News and be disciples of Jesus.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, June 15, 2021