General Daily Schedule
- In the beginning, we woke participants up with a CD of bagpipe music and a strategically-placed stereo. It has since evolved as technology has evolved, and the wake-up call now involves a Pandora playlist--not limited to bagpipe music--on an iPad. Some would wake up earlier than 7:30 to shower and get ready for the day, even as early as 6 AM, leading to the enforcement of a "no showering before 7 (in the house)" policy that sleepier kids are happy to oblige to.
- The mornings always begin with Morning Prayer, usually chanted. Whichever group is scheduled for the Liturgy of the Hours rotation will handle presiding and lectoring. A short presentation is given by leaders regarding how to pray the LOH or how the LOH is used in the Church before each liturgical hour.
- From breads and cold cereal to pancakes and sausage, breakfast is our way of getting the kids excited for the day - it's the only meal we eat indoors besides snack and the occasional dessert, and we try to show cool or inspirational videos to get their creativity going before we jump into work. They're usually related to a media skill, like ADR or time lapse (and they might be funny, touching, dramatic, or cats).
- Our version of "ora et labora" has everyone doing light clean-up in the morning after breakfast. After arrival, people sign up for a task, which may be dumping trash, vacuuming the church, watering plants, or straightening up bathrooms. Every person has a job, one which never takes more than 15 minutes, to keep the space clean and efficient for the week.
- Each group rotates through a set of activities during this time slot. The rotations used to include campfire entertainment and working in the kitchen to set up for meals, but they now only include Mass preparation, Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours preparation, and whatever job may need to be done for the day (such as prep work for the Thursday night talent show, etc).
10:00 GREAT ROOM MEETING
- At this point of the day, we meet back in the main space for a light snack (which ends early enough to meet the hour fast before Mass), and an introduction to the projects and theme for the week. A presentation is usually given by leaders, which comprises videos, Scripture, images, Prezis and Powerpoints, books, and so forth. Here, the main theme for the week is presented as well as the beginning stages of whatever personal project has been chosen to represent the week.
- Group video projects are also introduced. Each group has its own table, and each group leader has a folder of papers and resources so the group can begin working on projects together.
- Break is a good way to stretch and begin channeling energy towards preparing for Mass. Most kids will change into something a little nicer for Mass.
- Nothing much to be said here other than the obvious - Mass is celebrated for the day. Whichever group has the Mass rotation for the day prepares the readings and the Prayer of the Faithful, though a music ministry team almost always handles the music for every day.
- Back in the beginning, when we carpooled to the local parish for 8:30 a.m. Mass or a priest came at 4:30 p.m. to celebrate, the Angelus was said at noon.
12:45 LUNCH and DISHES
- First of the meals to be outside unless the weather is severe. Some group singing typically commences (we leaders enjoy making the kids sing for their meals in order to rally them and wake them up) and occasionally there are "O-grams" or messages from "Mystery Messengers."
- Dishwashing rotates between groups - at each meal, two groups (or one, if the groups are large) will hand wash the dishes outside and take them into the house while the other groups begin their free time.
- 2015 - At lunch, participants sit in their small groups.
13:15 RECREATION (and perhaps ADORATION)
- Free time may have a scheduled game of volleyball, soccer, or the like, or a group of 10 may have the opportunity to go swimming at a nearby farm. The house becomes quieter for those who want to take naps and people with energy are sent outside or continue work on personal projects. There may be Adoration for an hour or more.
- 2015 - Adoration runs from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
15:30 GREAT ROOM MEETING
- Some aspect of the Ecclesial Art Project is usually presented at this time.
- More work on personal and group projects is scheduled for this point. It's a good way to draw participants back into a quieter and more creative mindset after running around or being outside.
- The second hour of the daily liturgy cycle. Again, whichever group is scheduled for this rotation handles everything. Vespers is usually chanted.
18:30 DINNER and DISHES
- This meal works the way lunch works - it may begin with singing or messages, eating is outside, two groups handle dishes. At each meal outside, especially at dinner, there is an activity such as a game, opportunities to witness and share, or quick entertainment to establish a sense of community and to spark conversation.
- 2015 - At dinner, participants can eat with whomever they want.
- The second period of free time, a little more lax than post-lunch Recreation time. Many girls will opt for working on projects at this point.
20:00 or 20:30 EVENING EVENT and ROSARY
- Campfire is outside (around the fire, obviously) unless the weather prevents it. Campfire is scheduled with games or entertainment, perhaps singing or skits or the annual "Initiation Ceremony" which has girls/boys new to the camp being "initiated" by dancing around the fire. When the sun sets, everyone settles and the Rosary is prayed. For each campfire or time the rosary is said, a different group or set of people will lead it. Following the Rosary is dessert or snack (though this is occasionally pushed until after Compline).
- The third time we pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the day. Like Lauds and Vespers, a group handles the presiding and so forth. Compline is not chanted as often as Lauds and Vespers, though it is preferred.
22:30 LIGHTS OUT
- After Compline, a period of silence is assumed. Participants are asked to remain quiet in the house and sleeping areas as they get ready for bed, and to go downstairs to the main meeting space if they want to work on projects or talk quietly. In the past, strict silence was enforced everywhere as soon as Compline was complete, but it has since become a little looser. Leaders will have a quick meeting to discuss the day and the upcoming days while the kids get ready for bed. After the Leader Meeting finishes, lights will be turned off, doors will be locked, and leaders will do a sweep to make sure that everyone is where they should be - in bed. Kids are allowed to be in the Chapel to pray, or bathrooms, or with a leader, though leaders must use prudence in determining who may be up, for what, and at which time they must be sent to bed. A leader may go around at Lights Out to bless the kids with Holy Water and say goodnight.
General Weekly Events
Because of the flexible nature of the daily and weekly schedules, certain activities may be rearranged or cut or added to the week depending on the energy and mood of the girls, the weather, or unavoidable complications. A loose approximation is as follows.
- Participants typically begin arriving between 15:30 and 16:30, to settle in, greet people, and for an introduction to the week. This is the time for leaders to meet the people who will be in their group. Upon arrival, participants will receive a t-shirt with the theme of the week on it, any project materials they will need, a booklet of information, and a box to hold all of their things and projects which is left at the group table. Each person must also sign up for a task, which begins the following morning.
- Dinner is typically picnic fare, something quick and easy. Paper and plastic goods may be used to avoid having to schedule anyone for dishes.
- Projects are introduced, ice breakers or games are played, and the rest of the evening follows the daily schedule.
- Sunday night campfire is perhaps one of the most important ones - leaders provide the entertainment here, and it is important to make new kids feel welcome and to set the mood and energy for the rest of the week. Leaders usually do skits and songs, or games are played among the groups. The "Initiation Ceremony" is always scheduled for Sunday night campfire.
- The schedule for Monday closely follows the general daily schedule, though Campfire may be led by a group or again by leaders. One year, a scavenger hunt was organized, other years have had girls playing "Śrolympics" or another organized type of game for the group.
- Tuesday -- Beach Night
- Tuesday is typically beach day. At the Recreation period of the day, girls are asked to make their own sandwiches for dinner. Carpooled trips to the beach begin at 17:00 (after early Vespers) where the girls will eat dinner and the Rosary will be prayed. Sometimes activities are scheduled if the girls seem to be losing energy, such as a scavenger hunt or sand-building contest. We usually stay at the beach until sundown and return home around 21:00 for snack or dessert, Compline, and lights out.
- Wednesday -- Adoration and Confession
- This day is typically close to the general schedule, like Monday. At this point, project times may be expanded so the groups have more time to work together, cutting time out of meetings, free time, or so forth. The Evening Event is usually Adoration and Confession and, if the group is large, it begins at 19:30.
- Thursday -- Variety Show (formerly known as the Talent Show)
- Thursday is typically Variety Show night. The schedule follows the general daily schedule until the Evening Event, which may begin earlier. A group is selected to lead - an emcee is needed (typically a leader or two), as well as set-up work in rearranging tables and chairs to form a stage, and so forth. A sign-up sheet for the Variety Show is usually posted on the Activity Board by Monday or so, though most girls tend to sign up last minute. The event typically lasts about an hour (or two), and begins a little after dinner, by 20:00. It may end in a dance party (affectionately known as a Śro-down), and dessert is typically served during this part of the night.
- After the Variety Show/Dance Party, the schedule resumes the general format and goes into Compline and Lights Out.
- Friday is the most lax of all the days, and tends to be the most harried and busy. It's crucial at this point that leaders pay attention to the energy and mood of the kids. If they need naps, they nap. If they need to get outside for air and get energy out, games are scheduled for free time. Typically, most groups will be right in the middle of group projects and many girls will be finishing up their personal projects. *Friday night is jokingly called the "Friday Night Scramble," or FNS, amongst leaders who are working to edit and cut projects so they are ready to be presented to the parents Saturday morning. Because the leaders tend to be busier with editing work and helping out with all the participants, Friday night entertainment tends to be an easy campfire - it may be a quick skit competition or just a loose game of soccer. Several years have seen a movie night on Friday, as a way to get girls settled down. Dessert and Compline still follow the scheduled times, though Lights Out may be adjusted to fit the entertainment or the group work.
- Lights Out is not as strictly enforced, though the silence in the sleeping areas still is. Participants are allowed to stay up if they're working on a personal or group project, or if they're with a leader. Leaders should exercise prudence in how many people stay up and how late they stay up. Typically, every participant goes to bed by 24:00, though leaders may stay up to finish projects and straighten up the meeting space for the Saturday Presentation.
- The schedule is very much different on Saturday. Breakfast is usually buffet style from 8:00 to 9:00, depending on what time Mass is so the kids can still make the fast. Everyone washes their own dishes,and then there is a free period where participants should pack up all their belongings and bedding and bring everything outside to be loaded into their parents' cars when the families arrive. Lauds may either follow breakfast or precede Mass. Mass is usually about 10:00 or 10:30, though may be different depending on the availability of the priest. Families are welcome for Lauds and Mass, and are expected to arrive before presentations begin.
- After Mass, presentations begin. Personal projects are blessed by the priest and displayed, and video projects are introduced and presented by each group. Following the presentations, a picnic style lunch is served, which usually lasts several hours. Many families bring side dishes to share, though grilled food or sandwiches are provided. The week officially ends when the last of the participants and their families leave.