REGINA — Everyone in Saskatchewan looks forward to summer, especially young camping enthusiasts who get to spend a week or more at one of four camps within the Regina archdiocese. The archdiocese doesn’t own them, but provides support from the Annual Appeal. Each operates with a volunteer board of directors and all received support from various councils of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s’ League.
Monahan, O’Neill, Kenosee (Kom ’N See) and Lemieux are accepting registrations for youth camps to be 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 website. All speak about summer fun with various programs of swimming, boating, archery, and canoeing, 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 but each has its own character and unique offerings and each touts its picturesque location.
Camp Monahan is the oldest of the four. 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.
Kenosee is on Kenosee Lake within Moose Mountain Provincial Park, the only camp within a provincial park. It’s about a two-hour drive southeast 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 camp in August, offering lessons in fiddle, banjo, keyboard, mandolin, voice and guitar, with tutors from across Canada.
Camp Lemieux began in 1950 from a vision by Rev. 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. Knights of Columbus councils within the diocese help maintain the camp.
Camp O’Neill is located on Round Lake, the most eastern 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’Neill in 1957 but its roots go back to about 1920 when it was called the Valley Beach Resort and was privately owned. It remained in private hands until 1955 when a flood damaged the buildings and grounds and the owners decided to sell. The priests in the Esterhazy deanery asked then Archbishop M.C. O’Neill for a $10,500 loan to get the place up and running and two years later the camp opened its doors. Besides 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 in operating money, the amount depending on the amount of donations to the appeal. Grants for special projects have also been approved in the past. Each operates with a volunteer board.