WICHITA — Sixteen high school students from the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City attended the fourth annual Summer Service Camp hosted by Newman University in June. The week-long camp is held to give students from schools in the Dodge City Diocese an opportunity to serve others while growing in faith and experiencing fellowship.
The campers were provided lodging on the Newman campus at the New Hall student residence, which also served as headquarters for the duration of the camp. Father Ted Stoecklein of Spearville served as the Chaplain for the Dodge City Diocese group.
According to Fr. Michael Linnebur, the service camp’s spiritual advisor and chaplain at Newman University, “The camp gives young people from the western rural areas of Kansas a chance to serve in the city of Wichita.”
Throughout the week the campers, who coined the motto “Ready to serve,” offered their services at various agencies and organizations in Wichita, including The Lord’s Diner (which serves free meals to the homeless), Catholic Charities, Adult Day Services, and St. Anthony’s Family Shelter. The daily agenda began with breakfast, followed by spiritual time. The group then broke into small teams for the day of service, which included cleaning, sorting and serving food, painting, and other chores.
Each team had a team leader from Newman guiding them through the week. The team leaders ensured each team got the chance to experience all of the service opportunities.
“Camp changed my life,” said camper Blakelee Cooper from Hoisington. “When I’m there I am on a spiritual high the entire week. I feel a burning passion inside me, that I never feel anywhere else. Every year I learned something about myself and truly felt and learned the meaning of life. I reunited my relationship with God and with myself while serving others along the way. Who wouldn’t want to go back?”
The student participants and adult chaperones from Prince of Peace parish, Great Bend, were Leo Espino, Alex Freund, Jessica Loera, Maggie Loera, Yahaira Martinez, Alejandra Silva and chaperones Cheryl Alexander and Pam Vainer. Attending from St. John the Evangelist parish, Hoisington, were Blakelee Cooper, Mackenzie Kaiser, Shannon Lacey, Nolan McCurry, Abi Rziha, Lexi Sanders, Zach Sanders, Hannah Wilborn, Katy Willis and chaperone Pam Willis. Jessica Lampe and chaperone L’Jean Dixon came from St. John the Baptist parish, Spearville.