Catholic Summer Camps Coming for Middle and High School Youth

Catholic Summer Camp for High School Youth, June 3-5  
A.J. Graham, 28, attended Youthleader, a Catholic leadership program for high school students, over 10 years ago. And yet A.J., now a middle school teacher living in Odessa, TX, said that he clearly recalls the profound impact the program made in shaping his Catholic identity.

“I remember being so overwhelmed with the realization that God gives us our strengths and talents, and He wants us to learn to use those gifts through our active participation in His Church,” said A.J. “I learned so many important skills, had a great time, and I became good friends with Catholic teenagers from other parishes. Everything I learned during that week at YouthLeader prepared me to go back and to become extremely involved in my own parish and also in diocesan, regional and national Catholic youth events.”

YouthLeader, which is offered through the Center for Ministry Development (CMD), will be held June 3-5 at the Gospel, Inc. retreat facility in Ruston. The nationally-acclaimed program is sponsored by the Diocese of Shreveport’s Campus, Youth and Young Adult Ministry office.

Angela Behrens, a longtime youth ministry leader at St. Frances Cabrini parish in Granbury, TX, said that she has brought teens to YouthLeader for approximately 10 years, and is grateful for the ways in which the program helps participants to deepen their personal relationship with Christ while equipping them to serve in leadership roles in church and in student government, clubs, music programs, sports teams and service organizations.

“YouthLeader helped me to develop a core group of excellent leaders in my youth ministry program,” said Angela. “It is a week filled with the Holy Spirit, where young people can learn, pray, laugh, play and grow together. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Teens entering their sophomore, junior and senior years of high school and their adult leaders may register through their parish or school. The cost for the program is $150 per person. For more information, visit or contact Kevin Prevou at 318-219-7258 or at

Catholic Summer Camp for Middle School Youth, June 27 – July 1

Julie Caldwell, a parishioner at St. Paschal in West Monroe, is looking forward to this summer thanks to an exciting new opportunity that will be offered for the first time to all middle school-aged youth of our diocese.

“Catholic kids here in the ‘Bible Belt’ are used to seeing their Protestant friends go off to camp. It’s great to think that we will be bringing in something for our Catholic youth, especially for this age group,” she said.  “We’re really excited to be a part of this effort.”

Julie is one of a large team of St. Paschal parishioners who are working together to coordinate “Just5Days” June 27 through July 1 at St. Frederick High School in Monroe. The program, consisting of daily service experiences, prayer, hands-on learning activities, community building and plenty of fun, will be led by staff members from the Center for Ministry Development (CMD), a Catholic non-profit organization that promotes the development of ministry and catechesis with youth and families through leadership formation, service learning and resources rooted in Catholic tradition and Scripture.

Middle-school youth who are entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade are eligible to attend. Participants may register as part of a parish or school team, and will be chaperoned by adult leaders and CMD staff throughout the week as the students take part in community service at nursing homes, food pantries, shelters and other agencies in the Monroe area.

Evenings will include time for meals, games, small group time, music, prayer and faith sharing. Genni Sayers, a youth ministry leader at Holy Family parish in Fort Worth, TX, said “It’s a fun and engaging way for young adolescents to learn about this important aspect of our shared Catholic identity, our commitment to service and ministry.”

Kevin Prevou, director of the diocesan Campus, Youth and Young Adult Ministry office, encourages pastors, parents, Catholic educators and ministry leaders to consider registering a group of any size to participate in the program. The cost is $285 per person and includes all meals, snacks, lodging and program supplies. For more information about Just5Days, visit or contact Kevin at 318-219-7258 or at

by Nicki Prevou

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