Archbishop Smith has announced a review of youth camps ministry in the Archdiocese, and he wants to hear from you.

The Archdiocese currently operates two camps under its Office of Youth Evangelization: Our Lady of Victory Camp at Gull Lake, northwest of Red Deer; and Camp Encounter at Lac La Nonne, northwest of Edmonton.

In a letter issued on January 25, the Archbishop said the 2018 camp season will go ahead as usual, but the operations will then close for a period of consultation with stakeholders. The initial phase of the consultation has begun with an online survey, which he encourages everyone interested in youth camps to fill out.

Here is the text of the Archbishop's letter:

Reverend Fathers; Parish, School and Camp Colleagues; Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write today to advise you of some developments regarding the two youth camps currently operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. 

Over the years, Our Lady of Victory Camp and Camp Encounter have offered young people in the Archdiocese unique Catholic experiences in beautiful natural settings. Both have played important roles in the Church’s ministry to our precious young people.

A recent assessment has revealed that facilities at the camps have so deteriorated over the years that the need for upgrades has become urgent. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that any investment of resources by the Archdiocese in response to this need be done carefully, deliberately, and responsibly.

Therefore, we are beginning an extensive consultation of stakeholders associated with our camps ministry. The summer camping season for 2018 will continue as usual. However, we shall not operate the camps after 5 October 2018, or in 2019 while the consultations take place. I will provide more details on these consultations later this year.

I am grateful to all who support the ministry of our camps in any way. Let us pray together for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide our discernment. 

P.S. We are beginning our consultation with an online survey, which you can find at https://caedm.ca/CampsSurvey. I encourage you to respond and look forward to your input.

✠  Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton