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Team Leadership Camp — Portsmouth RI, USA — August 11-17, 2013

Each year since 2007, the Province of the Americas has run a one week, residential camp on the grounds of St. Philomena School for rising 7th and 8th grade girls.  “Teen Leadership Camp” is an action –packed, fun-filled opportunity for girls to learn leadership skills and grow closer to God. The camp receives tremendous support from school principal Donna Glavin-Bettincourt and the teachers and parents at St. Phil’s. Sr. Madeleine Gregg, fcJ serves as the camp director, with the help of Jen Abbate, CiM and grade 3 teacher at St. Phil’s.  The counselors are faith-filled, enthusiastic, capable young women from The University of Alabama, where Madeleine teaches, who volunteer for the week.

The 2013 camp was held from August 11-17th. The 15 campers represented five schools, although most attend St. Phil’s, and three states. New this year were “Junior Counselors”, two young women still in high school who wanted to come and serve at the camp. Another FCJ sister, Lois Anne Bordowitz, and another CiM, Isabel Kovalic, took the lead in the kitchen this year.

We had a wonderful time at camp this year! The weather was perfect, the mosquitos and ticks stayed away, the food was delicious, the leadership games were challenging, and nobody got hurt! The campers managed to knit three scarves to distribute to poor people in South Providence and our visit to the nursing home featured a competitive game of jeopardy. Our patron saint this year was St. Maria Goretti. The leadership “curriculum” focused on the mnemonic LEADER:  a good leader is Loving, Energetic, Active, Devoted, Enthusiastic, and Responsible.  By the end of camp week, all of us had grown in the qualities of a good leader!

Picture of cooks and drivers.Learning to start a fire on the beach.The picture on the left shows Isabel Kovalic, CiM, Sr. Lois Anne Bordowitz, fcJ, and Jen Abbate, CiM in the little upstairs apartment called St. Joseph's at St. Philomena School.  All three supported the Teen Leadership Camp this year by serving as cooks and drivers.

The picture on the right shows the campers down at the beach at St. Philomena school.  They are learning to build campfires. Each girl was given a red drink cup to fill with tinder, the smallest size of wood, which is the key to starting a fire. We learn fire-building on the beach, as there is no danger of fires spreading.  Girls scoop out a hollow, arrange their wood, and block the wind as they light a match and try to get the fire started. Counselors circulate, coaching and encouraging the campers' efforts.

Campers and counselors.Campers and their families.The picture on the right shows campers and counselors in the children's dining room at St. Philomena School working on watercolor painting on Bristol board, a thick kind of paper. The watercolor work was done in silence, as part of evening prayer, in response to the prompt: How is your life emerging like the colors on your paper? After a 45-minute work period, we went to Chapel for Adoration for a short period of time.  Then we returned to the dining room to share about our paintings.  The watercolors were later cut into bookmarks, printed with encouraging sayings, and distributed to the residents at a nearby nursing home. Shown from left to right are:  Alex, Adele, and Christina (campers) and Sr. Madeleine Gregg, fcJ (counselor).

This picture on the right shows campers and their families at the TLC campsite in the woods between St. Philomena School and the beach of Narragansett Bay. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, we build a large campfire and invite the families to come and share it with us.  We sing campfire songs and cook s'mores (Tuesday) and banana boats.

Ang among Kapunungan naningkamot diha
     sa pagdayeg sa kasing-kasing ni Hesus
           inubanan sa Iyang panabang    (Marie Madeleine)