FORT PIERCE | The 2023 summer youth camp at Notre Dame Catholic Mission Church is in full swing. Since 2010, the mission church has provided a joyful and safe oasis for children of working parishioners to play and grow in their faith during the summer, which is a gift to the diverse community.
Fifty campers are enjoying summer at the church’s youth camp. This year’s theme is taken from the Gospel of Matthew, 25:35-36: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me …”
The camp is open to children ages 4 to 18 whose parents are parishioners. It provides Bible and catechism classes, dance and cooking lessons, invited guests such as a police K-9 unit, substance abuse prevention, basketball and field trips.
“We have a doctor who comes in and talks to them about having a healthy life,” said Myrline Alcidor, youth coordinator. “We have the deputy to speak to them about good behavior, even the young kids, and what can happen if they don’t behave.”
Tamara, the assistant youth coordinator, said, “My job is to ensure the safety of the children, making sure the rules and regulations are being followed and that they all are having a good time.”
In addition to playing games and sports, the summer camp teaches Christian values of loving one another, being kind to one another and the importance of helping those in need.
“The reason why we do this is to spread the message of Jesus because Jesus said any time you do this for your brother and sister, you do it for him,” Alcidor said.
“The primary reason we do this is because so many of the parents work and they need care for their children,” said Father Yves Geffrard, administrator of the Notre Dame mission. “That’s why we have the summer camp to get those kids here to where they can be safe and not on the streets, and we really help them to grow spiritually.”
Following Matthew 25:35-36, Alcidor said, “If they need clothes, the church gives them clothes. If they are hungry, we give them food.”
Asked, “Are you enjoying the summer camp?” a 6-year-old camper named Ricknael, who will attend St. Anastasia School, said, “Yes, I like everything. I like to play basketball, and I love Jesus to infinity and beyond, and I want to be like Father Yves.”
Another joyful camper, Gueleah, said, “I like to dance and I want to help people.” Camper Donaelca said, “I like the Bible study to hear about why Jesus died on the cross for us, and I want to help to make this world a better place.”
Seven-year-old Joleen said, “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor to help people be healthy and strong.” Another young camper, Jazara, jubilantly said, “I want to be kind to everyone.”
Mahailey gave advice on loving one another and expressed her love for God. “I love summer camp because we need to love everybody, and I think this world is awesome. I think Jesus is awesome.”
For more information about the Notre Dame Catholic Mission, visit https://notredamecc.com or call 772-466-9617. To speak with Alcidor, call 561-574-6782.