Everyone in Saskatchewan looks forward to summer especially young camping enthusiasts who get to spend a week or more at one of four summer camps within the Regina Archdiocese. The Archdiocese doesn’t own them but does provide support from the Annual Appeal. Each operates with a volunteer board of directors and all received funding and support from various councils of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s’ League.
Monahan, O’Neil, Kenosee (Kom ‘N See) and O’Neil are accepting registrations for youth camps held throughout the summer each camp is about a week long but campers can register for more than one week. Times, costs and other information can be obtained by visiting each camp’s web site. All speak about summer fun with various programs of swimming, boating, archery, canoeing, etc. and all speak about the Catholic experience including liturgies and a mass usually at the beginning or end of the week.
All offer core programs such as mentioned earlier but each has its own character and unique offerings and each tout their picturesque location on lake shores.
Camp Monahan is the oldest of the four camps. It began in 1945 with its roots in scouting and has since become a recreation camp for everyone. It’s located on the shores of Lake Katepwa in the Qu’Appelle Valley. It’s about an hour’s drive from Regina and is the closest camp to the city. Its staff are certified according to the Principles of Healthy Child Development as part of the nationally recognized High Five program. Monahan is named after Archbishop Monahan who served the Archdiocese from 1935-1947.
Kom ‘N See (Kenosee) is on Kenosee Lake within Moose Mountain Provincial Park the only camp within a provincial park. It’s about a two-hour drive south east of Regina. It’s the only camp that offers programs throughout the year. It’s a recreational summer camp and is the home of the Mother Teresa Centre which offers public and private retreats in winter. It offers a Family Camp in July followed by a girls only camp for a week then a co-ed two-week camp, all in July. The camp turns into a music tuition camp in August offering lessons in fiddle, banjo, keyboard, mandolin, voice and guitar wit tutors from all across Canada. Reverend David Banga ran the camp for more than 30 years. He died in India in 2012 while helping Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity.
Camp Lemieux began in 1950 from a vision by Reverend Richard Lariviere to provide a summer camp for Catholic youth in what was then the Diocese of Gravelbourg. Bishop Lemieux leased a 21-acre parcel of land on the shore of Lac Pelletier about a half hour drive south of Swift Current where the camp continues to be located. Besides regular summer camps offered May-June and August-September the camp is available for rent. It also offers a weekend Kidz Kamp when the camp opens for children 6-8 years to get a taste of what camp life is like. The Knights of Columbus councils within the diocese built and continue to help maintain the camp.
Camp O’Neil is located on Round Lake, the most eastern lake in the chain of Qu’Appelle lakes in the Qu’Appelle Valley. It’s back in business this year after several years of flooding that damaged buildings and grounds. It became Camp O’Neil in 1957 but it’s roots go back to about 1920 when it was called the Valley Beach Resort and privately owned. It remained in private hands until 1955 when a flood severely damaged the buildings and grounds and the owners decided to sell. The Priests in the Esterhazy deanery asked then Archbishop M.C. O’Neil for a $10,500 loan to get the place up and running and two years later, 1957, the camp opened its doors. Besides the regular summer youth camps, a camp is offered for youth with special needs and the facilities are available for rent.
The Regina Archdiocese Annual Appeal provides each camp with about $3,500.00 in operating money the amount depending on the amount of donations to the annual Appeal. Grants for special projects have also been approved in the past. Each operates with a volunteer board and the start of camping season varies. More information can be obtained by visiting each Camp’s web site.