Camp Franciscan 2015 was greatly anticipated by all the girls and Sisters who helped out. The girls I brought from Sierra Vista were counting down the days. I believe they surprised their parents at how excited they were for Camp.
We began our trip by staying overnight in Mesa since we had a 5:30am flight out of Phoenix. The girls took advantage of the 113 degree heat in Mesa to swim in the pool. And of course, they were up all night laughing and talking. They turned their light off at 2:50am as they knew I was to wake them up at 3:00am. When I knocked on their door, of course, they jumped out of bed.
We flew from Phoenix to Las Vegas and onto Milwaukee. Sister Theresa,from our Motherhouse, graciously picked us up. A stop at Culver's was a much needed lunch then onto the Motherhouse.
Once at the Motherhouse, the girls quickly found their rooms at Marian Hall-a house on Silver Lake. We then walked the property so the two new campers could see everything and those returning relived old memories and told stories of last year's Camp as we came to certain parts of the Motherhouse.
In the evening, we walked over to St. Francis Convent where our retired Sisters live.The girls played Yahtzee with the Sisters and both the girls and the Sisters loved it. The girls also loved winning prizes. The next day, the girls asked if they could play Yahtzee again with the "Seniors". They had such a great time!
Wednesday morning we were free to travel as Camp right now was just for the leaders-girls who are in high school. We took advantage of the time by traveling to my hometown area. The first stop was in Ellsville at Krohn's Cheese Factory. My nephew, Zach, who is an electrician at the plant, gave us a tour. We had to wear white lab coats, ear plugs, safety glasses and hair nets. We weren't allowed to take any pictures. I was amazed at how the making of cheese has changed so much from when I was kid. As a child, my mom would give me a pint jar and tell me to walk a quarter of a mile to our local cheese factory in Luxemburg. The workers there would take my jar and fill it with cream so my mom could whip it up into whipping cream. My brothers and sister and I loved going to the cheese factory. We loved the smell and could actually see the cheese in the big vats being stirred and made into cheese.
When Zach gave us a tour we saw lots of stainless steel containers where cheese was being processed by machines and computers. We did see the cheese when it was being automatically lifted up and down in the brine. Again, we saw blocks of cheese as robots placed them on the assembly line where the cheese was cut into smaller blocks and wrapped and labeled in saran wrap. The cheese was then taken by a robot and placed on the line where a robot put a box together and the cheese was then dropped into the box. Automation galore!!!
The girls enjoyed shopping for cheese at their cheese store. Cheese curds were the hit. They were eating them all the time.
From the cheese factory we went on to Robinsonville where we visited the Chapel where the Blessed Mother appeared to a farm girl named Adele. We visited the crypt,which houses the spot where the Blessed Mother appeared to Adele in a tree.
After praying for our special intentions, we left and made a quick stop at Subway in Luxemburg. We would eat our subs in the car as we drove back to the Motherhouse as time was getting short and we still had to visit the Seidl farm.
My brother, Gene, runs the Seidl farm. He is the 3rd generation of Seidls to run the farm and live in the farmhouse on the property. The girls got to pet the kitties which they loved.
We then moved on into the barn where the Holstein cows were swinging their tails. Girls got to pet a cow, look them in the eye and even some of them had the cows licking their shorts. One cow starting to eat my skirt which the girls were surprised to see and brought laughter.
My brother, Gene, gave a quick tour and answered their questions. The girls said they definitely want to come back to the farm next year.
We made it back to the Motherhouse at about 12:45pm - just in time for the girls to register and to meet all the other campers. There were 50 campers this year.
Throughout camp, the girls did a variety of activities. They had a chance to paint a silk scarf with many colors. They could wear it as a scarf, vest or belt. A true treasured remembrance of camp.
They also spent a session making a necklace out of paperclips and then they chose different designs of duct tape to cover each paperclip-a lot of work but the girls loved their creation.
They also had a session on prayer and what is a Sister. Girls had a chance to ask their questions about being a Sister.
In the evening, we had a make do camp fire in our gym since the fire pit was flooded with all the rain they have been having. You can't have a camp fire without s'mores. Since marshmallows could not be roasted over the fire, some of the Sisters ahead of time, melted marshmallows and chocolate in a round cake pan in the oven. A sheet was spread out on the gym floor for each group to sit on and a pan of chocolate and marshmallow was given to each group and they used their graham crackers to scoop out the best part of smores. All the girls loved it and even got a 2nd pan to enjoy.
Evening prayer by our grotto of Mary concluded each evening.
The annual skit and chorus program for the Sisters was on Thursday night. The girls had three practices with their choir director, Sr. Carol Ann or with Sr. Kathleen who wrote and directed the skit. The results were outstanding.
Not often do you get to dress up in a religious habit when you are in 8th grade. A lifetiime memory here.
The Camp concluded with a very festive Mass.
The girls shared phone numbers and emails with each other and said, "I will for sure see you next year at Camp Franciscan."