St. Therese’s Camp, an independent Catholic summer camp in Wasilla, spans 57 acres of forest, lake and campground facilities. The first summer camp began in 2014 and has been growing steadily ever since. Now in his third year operating the camp, Director Rudy Poglitsh expects attendance this summer to exceed 200 children.
Campers (girls and boys ages 8-14) spend one week with college-age counselors and staff. Sunday through Friday, they engage faith, outdoor activities and the building of friendships. St. Theresa’s Camp offers the traditional components of classic summer camps, such as water games, swimming, kayaking, archery, camp-wide games, food and arts and crafts.
The weeklong camp also provides a moral and spiritual framework.
“Our spiritual programming is particularly Catholic, including Mass and eucharistic adoration during each camp week,” Poglitsh explained. “Our counselors are selected for their love of children, God and the Catholic Church. Between the specifically Catholic programming and counselors who are vibrantly Catholic, campers will experience the Catholic Church as a living, breathing and enjoyable community.”
While St. Therese’s is unmistakably Catholic in its origin and practice, it invites children from all faith traditions to participate.
“In the spirit of Saint Pope John Paul II, we propose the Catholic faith without imposing it,” Poglitsh observed. “During our first year, we had a camper tell the entire camp of about 50 people, that this was her first encounter with Catholicism, and that it was a positive one.”
For Poglitsh, those kinds of experiences are highlights.
“The most interesting part of camp is seeing how God reaches young people — both campers and counselors — in a week of fun, friend-filled, faithful community,” he said.
Poglitsh pointed to the following testimony from a parent last summer: “I wanted to take this time to tell you all how grateful we are for you. Thank you for spending an awesome two weeks with our son. You led him and inspired him by your example. He had such a wonderful time. He cried tears the entire way home because he didn’t want to leave you all. It’s truly impressive to me that in a week full of fun activities, when asked what his favorite parts were, Grant told his dad and I that it was confession and adoration. It makes my heart so happy that he was able to grow in his Catholic faith. Keep up the great work.”
“A week at Catholic camp can bring spiritual renewal to a child,” Poglitsh said, noting that the counselors are “faithful Catholic role models.”
“The campers can ask their spiritual questions and receive sound answers,” he added. “The children grow in their understanding and appreciation of the faith, and they return to their homes and their parishes more connected to the Lord.”
The camp runs from June 26 through July 29. Each session costs $315 and financial aid is available.