Campers attend the Vesper Service at the St. George chapel at the Camp. (Photo provided by the Metropolis of Boston)
BOSTON – The Camping Center of the Metropolis of Boston is a paradise for many hundreds of children from all over New England, where they spend carefree days and enjoy relaxation and spiritual cultivation, and become acquainted with the Greek cultural heritage. This is accomplished through a plethora of programs, both during the summer and winter, as its facilities are suitable for all seasons.
It is located in the village of Contoocook in the state of New Hampshire, about a two-hour drive from Boston and approximately half an hour from the capital of New Hampshire, the city of Concord. It is an idyllic location with a large lake, a chapel dedicated to Saint George, a Hospitality House, a dining room, and thirty or more cabins for the campers, resembling the scenery of a small village.
The Hospitality House consists of thirty-five double rooms – each with a private bathroom – conference rooms, and a dining area, as well as recreational and entertainment spaces.
There is also a special program for children with special needs. The have their own cabin, donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The cabin was built to make the camping experience for these children as comfortable as possible, and there are specialized supervisors and counselors for them.
The day for all children at the camp begins with a prayer at the chapel of Saint George, followed by breakfast and the announcement of the day’s program, which includes swimming in the large lake on the campgrounds, and learning Greek dances and other traditions.
The acquisition of the Camping Center was made possible by donations from Greek-Americans, the largest of which came from the George Behrakis family.
The campers engage in various activities throughout the day, such as sports, swimming, as well as discussions with religious and spiritual content. They study the Holy Scriptures and Orthodox teachings and ways of living. The campers are taught by priests of the Metropolis, while Metropolitan Methodios of Boston visits the camp two or three times a week. He oversees the entire organizational structure, gives instructions to the staff, converses and dines with the children at the communal table, and often performs Holy Services.
The children are also taught to chant hymns of the Church and to dance Greek traditional dances.
On of the highlights is an evening celebration of Hellenism known as the Greek Glenti. The campers contribute a symbolic amount to cover their expenses, and if there are children who are unable to even afford this amount, Metropolitan Methodios ensures and finds scholarships so that no child is denied participation in the camp due to financial reasons.
It should be noted that the Camping Center operates throughout the year. During the winter months, it offers programs suitable for winter activities such as skiing, mountaineering, and related sports. Additionally, meetings of the Philoptochos chapters of the parishes, parish councils, the Clergy Association, as well as retreat programs related to Christmas and Easter are held at the center.
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