The Diocese of Des Moines
New games, schedule shakeup keeps CYC on its toes
July 12, 2017
Written By: Nicholas Smith

Evolution is the name of the game at Catholic Youth Camp this summer. 

A schedule change, a new approach to faith formation, and the addition of two new adventure challenges have added substance and flair to an already popular camp at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora.

In planning for the summer, interim director Joe Connolly and program director Alex Kautzky decided to move Mass from the morning to the mid-afternoon.  While this move holds the practical advantage of avoiding the hottest part of an Iowa summer day, Kautzky said it also intentionally keeps Jesus Christ and the faith aspect of camp in focus. 

“By having Mass in the afternoon, we keep Christ at the center of the day; everything points to the Mass,” she said.

Campers now have faith formation in the morning, followed by various morning activities. (Before, explained Connolly, the campers would be sitting still for around two hours straight in the mornings during the faith program followed by Mass.  The new program allows the kids to stay active with well-placed breaks in between to focus on faith.)

The faith program this year, centered on the theme of the Prodigal Son, is taught in small groups with camp summer staffers teaching the lessons each day.  “The smaller groups allow the staffers to teach every day, helping them to learn the lessons well, and then the kids can feel more able to participate in discussions and ask questions,” said Connolly.

Much buzz has been created surrounding the new “High Adventure Area.” 

The high ropes course and crate stacker game serve to “update the camp” and bring new challenges to campers, said Connolly.

The high ropes curse is for those entering 6th grade and older, and features eight different obstacles placed 30 feet off the ground. Campers are tethered in by a harness and then belayed up to start tackling elements such as “The Pope’s Ropes” and “Disc-iples.”

The crate sacker offers campers of all ages a game that is more about cleverness and wit than athleticism.  “The crate stacker is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S.” said Connolly.  The only equipment being numerous empty milk crates, the goal is to stack as many crates as possible and stand up on the top. Campers are harnessed in so that they do not fall along with their milk crate skyscraper. 

“Both of these new elements offer something that is safe and fun,” explained Connolly.  He added that for both of the new additions, “The response has been phenomenal.”

Spots are still open for a few of the remaining weeks of camp, and the registrations are still rolling in during the summer months. 

“On average, I would say we still get about two registrations a day,” said Connolly.  For your child’s chance to take on new challenges in a strong Catholic environment, go to and register for camp today. Save to


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