By Fr. Steve Kim
During the last two weeks, children from St Lucy and St. Julie Parish took part in Camp Thrive and immersed themselves in an amazing experience of learning, playing, and developing God-given talents.
Camp Thrive is a non-profit section 501 (c) project-based learning camp for children entering 1st to 5th grade that combines Catholic spirituality with social entrepreneurship as students learn to help others thrive. Every day, students focus on our core values of teamwork, reflection, imagination, virtue, and empathy. Students attend daily Mass, workshops, field trips, and complete a capstone project to help the community. Each day, students also rotate in stations to focus on improving their reading and writing skills. One parent described Camp Thrive as taking the best parts of Vacation Bible School, Boy/Girl Scouts, catechism, tutoring, and community outreach.
Service to others is indeed a significant component of this program. Through the years, children have created little birdhouse libraries for the community, planter boxes for the elderly, a moveable microwave cart for the safe car park program, and they have auctioned off fish tank aquariums to donate to charity. One student who has been at Camp Thrive for four years said, “I love to learn more about God and myself so that I can help others thrive.”
Camp Thrive started at St. Lucy Parish in Campbell and has now expanded to provide a second site at St. Julie Parish in San Jose. COVID-19 has caused many challenges for Camp Thrive, but we were able to hold an in-person camp following the guidelines by the CDC and County of Santa Clara at both locations from July 6th to July 17th (Monday – Friday from 8 am to 3 pm).
Each year, there is a specific theme for the students to focus on. The theme for this summer was “Battle for good.” Students learned what it meant to put on the armor of God by making good moral decisions by following God. Students battled for good by teaching others how to social distance, make masks, and hand sanitizers. Furthermore, students designed and fought a battle for a good robot and found sponsors to donate to charity.
At Camp Thrive, children have fun and grow in virtue at the same time. Parents are grateful for this opportunity to engage kids in unique ways. Recently, one parent commented, “I’m so glad that we are having a camp for my kids to get out of the house to grow in their faith.”
If you would like to donate, partner with Camp Thrive, or for more information, please visit https://www.campthrive.org.