Few would question, at least with any credibility, that our culture is experiencing a crisis of manhood. Author and farmer Jason Craig published an excellent book in 2019 that addresses this problem called Leaving Boyhood Behind. The book lays out a plan for fathers, brothers, uncles, and others to help young men grow to be strong, virtuous leaders with the courage to assume whatever role in society and the Church that God desires of them.
Mr. Craig offers opportunities on his farm in North Carolina to lead boys through an initiation into manly things. With their fathers, he helps boys accept their journey through the challenges of adolescence into adulthood by taking them away from our synthetic and virtual world of video games and social media to connect them with real things. They slaughter a pig, are challenged to take risks, show leadership, and get their hands in the dirt.
Leaving Boyhood Behind provided the inspiration for the first annual Regina Academy Summer Boy’s Camp that took place from July 26 – 31, 2021. For a full week, 37 boys from three of the four Regina Academies had the opportunity to be boys. They shot slingshots and threw tomahawks; they hiked, fished, some whittled, and they all grew in friendship and fraternity under the direction of a few men who dedicated their week to providing our young men with an example of Catholic manhood and the richest experiences possible.
The week began at Ridley Creek State Park where they competed in various competitions, fished, and ended the day with a giant tug-of-war contest. Each day brought new challenges and opportunities. At Valley Forge, we talked about the courage of our founding fathers and prayed the rosary at the sight where the Blessed Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to George Washington during the cold winter of 1777. The boys contended against one another at an indoor theme park, learned about the courage of the Polish people under Communism at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and ended the week with an overnight campout, joined by many of the dads, at Hickory Run State Park. The evening brought fathers and sons around the campfire to pray the rosary for our country and for our families and to share memories of the week and a fabulous meal. As it turned out, one of the dads on the campout is a professional chef. Yes, God ALWAYS provides…
Have a look at our gallery for a few pictures from the week. Photos really are just snapshots of a much larger experience. When asked whether or not we should do this again next year, the YES nearly shook the leaves off of the trees. Clearly the week was a great success.
The Regina Academies are more than students in classrooms. We are a community of families that together follow Jesus Christ as our way, our truth, and our lives. Our mission is to support and serve those families in the formation of their children.
When we got to the 5th Sorrowful Mystery during our rosary Friday evening, the older boys who were leading the rosary dropped to their knees in the rocky dirt. Some of we older men were humbled by their example and praised God for their devotion with confidence that the future is in good hands.
Please continue to pray for all of the Regina Academy families that Our Lady continues to bless them and our schools with continued growth and wisdom through these challenging times. Pray that the young men and women we have in our schools grow in strength, holiness, and confidence in whatever vocation God is calling them so that they continue to be beacons of light, always reflecting the glory of Christ.