September 1, 2022 | Local News, Youth
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Campers raise their hands in the air during a summer 2022 camp activity at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center in Bowling Green. COURTESY OF GASPER RIVER CAMP

‘I guess it was the love of Jesus!’

Gasper’s summer 2022 ‘didn’t want to end’

BY BEN WARRELL, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC

Our 15th summer of camp at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center was amazing! Our theme this summer was the Woman at the Well. We talked about how Jesus seeks us always, thirsts for us, desires to encounter us and challenges us to change and go make more. The summer staff did a wonderful job breaking down and teaching about the daily themes of the week and really engaging and challenging the campers about their faith.

We were also very intentional about inviting the Holy Spirit into camp, to meet us, lead us and guide us through the week. I really believe this made all the difference this summer. Each week that we had returning campers, many for several summers, multiple kids came to us and shared this was “The greatest week of camp we’ve ever had!” That has never happened before. It is so comforting to know that when we rely on the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will be there.

Again, Adoration was the highlight of most campers’ week. Several comments from camper evaluations said, “At Adoration, I felt the love of Jesus for the first time in my life.” “I felt like was just sitting in front of Jesus and having a conversation.” “I don’t know what it was, but I felt something wash over me at Adoration. I guess it was the love of Jesus!” “I have to be like the woman at the well and go tell everyone what I learned about Jesus.” “Jesus is just awesome!”

We agree! Jesus is awesome and it’s up to all of us to share about our encounters with Him with others.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support for the ministry here and for all the donations to the camper scholarship fund. There are some summers when you’re ready for camp to be over and others where you wish it could keep on going. This was one of those summers! Always remember, Jesus didn’t come to the well for the water, He came for you!

Campers help each other climb Taylor’s Wall during the 2022 summer camp season at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center in Bowling Green. Taylor Widmer was a faith-filled camper who passed away in 2014. COURTESY OF GASPER RIVER CAMP

Campers explore Gasper River during summer 2022 at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center in Bowling Green. COURTESY OF GASPER RIVER CAMP

Ben Warrell is the director of Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp and Retreat Center in Bowling Green. Learn more at www.gasperriverretreatcenter.org.


Originally printed in the September 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
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