‘Darkness is as Bright as Day’: DioCal Summer camps come to a close

Another transformative season of Diocese of California summer camps came to a close last week. Almost 800 campers (including family camps and hospital camps) had the opportunity to play, pray, and know themselves and the goodness of God’s creation in new ways at St. Dorothy’s Rest and The Bishop’s Ranch The summer-long camp theme—for the first time shared by all camps this summer—was “Darkness is as Bright as Day,” from Psalm 139. 

Under the leadership of counselors and chaplains from a broad cross-section of DioCal congregations and youth ministries, campers had the opportunity to explore themes of darkness and light in song, stories, artwork, ritual, games and nighttime stargazing. One cabin-full of pre-teen boys observed, as they tumbled into The Bishop’s Ranch chapel out of a darkened sacristy-turned-camera obscura, “That was so cool!” Chaplain Tom Fregoso of St. John’s, Oakland responded spontaneously, “Sometimes we can see things more clearly in the dark… although God might turn our perspective upside down.”

The Diocese of California annually contributes $48,000 in funding to three camp programs; The Bishop’s Ranch, St. Dorothy’s Rest — each of which run their own six-week season of camps serving different constituencies—and Camp St. Francis, which offers a week of youth camp hosted at St. Dorothy’s Rest in August. However, these generous diocesan contributions cover just a fraction of the overall cost of the 135 camp scholarships given this summer. Generous annual fund donors and DioCal contributions support the remainder. St. Dorothy’s Rest and The Bishop’s Ranch’s own fundraising allows them to underwrite the specialized Hospital Camps (for children living with cancer and transplants) and READ camp (a day camp for underserved children from Healdsburg elementary schools).