Interactive sports and outdoor recreation are key elements of Extreme Faith Camp. While they will likely not be present in any of the June youth events, diocesan and parish leaders are finding ways to be present with and to youth. (Photo Credit: Mindy Hamilton)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

“Camp is not canceled.”

The message was made very clear by the assistant director of the Office of Catholic Formation, Chris Hurtubise, via video. The video, which can be found at, also features catechetical leaders from around the diocese, priests and Bishop James P. Powers.

The updated plan for summer youth events was rolled out at the end of April.

Hurtubise did indicate that Extreme Faith Camp and Totus Tuus are “not going to be as normal,” in line with Gov. Tony Evers’ three-phased “Badger Bounce Back” plan.

The Office of Catholic Formation, which operates of out the Bishop Hammes Center in Haugen, has developed its own three-tiered program, noting that overnight camps in June will not be possible in either Mason or Rhinelander.

Extreme Faith Camp

“The big takeaway from this message,” Hurtubise said, “is that camp is not cancelled. It’s gonna look different, but it is not canceled.”

If still in quarantine, participants will participate virtually. If small groups are allowed, they’ll meet in small groups. If large groups are permitted by the dates in question, then gatherings will accommodate large groups.

“The last thing that we want to do as the leadership of the diocese is to give you another reason to be bummed,” Hurtubise said, acknowledging the disappointment for youths and adult leaders.

Colette Harrold, New Richmond, appeared in the video dressed in camp clothes, with her camp water bottle, and mentioned she even put on bug spray for the recording.

“Extreme Faith Camp will be different,” she confirmed, but went on to share a recent “moment of overwhelming joy” in prayer. “All this change means we get to let go of God the experience and cling to God the person.”

She encouraged her peers, “No matter what the camp experience is like this year, know that God the person is pursuing your heart and loving you in the same way that he has in past years.”

Her witness echoes the summer’s theme, which Hurtubise revealed as, “RealPresent, which goes so perfectly with what we’re all dealing with right now.”

The youth leader expounded – how is God really and truly present? In the sacraments, Scripture, the priesthood and mystical body of Christ. In personal, unique and powerful ways.

“I can’t wait to dig into what that means with you all,” Hurtubise said.

Normal programming of the evening talks, music and adoration will be livestreamed during the week of June 15-19. If possible, evening programming will be hosted at various locations and a day camp version of Extreme Faith Camp will come later in summer.

Totus Tuus

Hurtubise included Totus Tuus in his announcement. The plan is to do “as much as we are able to do.”

The program, which is for youths in first through 12th grades, will still take place, but will be altered. The intent is to offer as much of the normal program as possible.

The June schedule for Totus Tuus is cancelled. They hope by July, it can be offered at parishes around the diocese with some schedule rearranging.

If quarantine measures are extended, there will be virtual offerings.

Depending on which phase of the reopening plan the State of Wisconsin is in at the end of May, the Office of Catholic Formation hopes to have a clearer picture of what Totus Tuus will look like for July and August.

Contact Grace Geisler with further questions at or 715-234-5044.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training remains scheduled for Aug. 5-7 and 10-12 at St. Joseph in Rice Lake from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Montessori-based Catholic faith formation program for children focuses on engagement with Scripture and liturgy.

For details, contact Hurtubise at or 715-234-5044.

Looking forward to the end of the time of quarantine, Hurtubise feels it important to “reflect on the longing that has arisen in our heart – even in our bodies – for the sacraments.

“There have been so many important lessons to learn through this: the incredible importance of community, of friendship, of simple human interaction; the gift of employment and meaningful work; the blessings of schools, sports, dances, art, and the bevy of other things that we have so naturally come to take for granted.”

The hunger for the Eucharist while public Masses are restricted has been the hardest and yet most fruitful experience for the husband and father of three.

“I am who I am because Jesus feeds and sustains me with the Eucharist,” he said. “I’ve had to learn to know him in other ways and that’s been a gift, but I pray I never again take for granted the opportunity to receive him.”