Esopus mission trip is meaningful experience

Esopus_Camps_2016_2Four Marist High School students and one teacher traveled to Esopus, NY, in mid-August to volunteer at a summer camp held at the Marist Brothers Center.

The center is home to the Mid-Hudson Valley Camp organization, which operates a series of camps during the summer serving a variety of clients, including those who are hearing impaired or who have special needs. Marist students volunteered during Sacred Heart camp, which brings second through eighth grade students from Sacred Heart School in Bronx, NY, to the center.

Seniors Caelah Borkovec, Claire Kelly, Anna Pellegrini, and 2016 graduate Elizabeth Seip, along with Colleen Pochyly, a Marist campus minister, were tasked with kitchen duty during the six day camp. The assignment did not put a damper on the students. “I had no idea that a week of cleaning dishes in a hot kitchen would be so incredible,” Kelly said. “From the second we pulled up to the camp, to the second we left, I had a smile on my face. There was not one moment in Esopus that I was wishing I was somewhere else.”

The students from Sacred Heart do not often have the opportunity to enjoy a safe and fun summer experience in a much more rural setting like Esopus provides. Marist students also had the chance to play with the kids and meet other people from around the Marist network. Borkovec recalled that saying goodbye to the campers and counselors was emotional, as they had all connected quickly and deeply. “I really hope this trip continues to be a long lasting tradition for Marist Chicago, as the energy at this camp is life changing for everyone. There may be places to serve closer than New York, but nothing replaces the memories made at the Marist Brothers Center at Esopus,” Borkovec said.

Marist students will return to Esopus in October to participate in a working retreat alongside students from other Marist schools across the country. Marist Chicago faculty and staff attend faith formation events at the center, too. Students also have the opportunity to participate in domestic and international mission trips sponsored by the school during the school year.