Upon the unexpected death of Father Otto in July, 1987, Mr. Robert Alpers, a member of the Prep School faculty, was appointed Leadership Camp director, and Brother John Kelly assumed Fr. Otto’s other role – overall Director of Summer Camps for Saint John’s. Mr. Alpers had worked with Father Otto on the Summer Sports Camps and was familiar with the Leadership Camps’ philosophy and operation. Over 900 young people participated in Leadership Camp this past summer. With no one member of the monastic community able to take over complete direction, several monks volunteered their time and talent to continue to provide a Benedictine presence to their young “guests.”
In addition to Brother John Kelly, Fathers Allen Tarlton, Paul Schweitz and Ian Dommer celebrated the campers’ weekly “Creation Mass” with them. Brother Isaac Connolly prepared a hearty brunch for the camp staff at the start of each camp week – to give the staff a little extra energy before the arrival of their young charges. In addition, Brother Isaac and Father Tom Andert, Prep School Headmaster, dropped in and visited with campers throughout the day to encourage them and cheer them on in their activities, and would stop by in the evening after “Lights Out” to visit with the counselors. Giving tours of the Abbey Church and the monastic gardens was Brother Michael Bik.
In his weekly talk to the campers Brother Michael got to answer such questions as “Are all monks bald?” and “What do you wear under the black dress?” This past summer the campers joined the monastic community at its Wednesday afternoon celebration of the Eucharist as well.
All in all, The Summer Leadership Camps are a very unique and special way for a young person to enjoy and experience Saint John’s and it Benedictine hospitality. Plans are already underway for the 1989 camp season.
For more information, contact the Prep School.
Saint John’s Summer Leadership Camp
Written by Michael Bik
Abbey Quarterly – October 1988
A NEW TEAM OF LEADERS