Adventure camp needs teen leaders

Lunchtime at Camp Lajas, 2019 (file photo)

Young people looking to get out of the house this summer, make new friends and grow in their faith have an exciting new opportunity—a week away at a Catholic adventure camp.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Adventure Camp & Retreat Center in Volant, Lawrence County is still accepting applications in their teen leadership program in July, and for Camp Lajas, a wilderness adventure program based at the site.

A group of Pittsburgh priests bought the 101-acre camp along Neshannock Creek to help youth seek Jesus in nature, the sacraments, and in one another.

A day camp program for children entering first through seventh grades is filled for next month, according to Erin Stuvek, executive director of Dry Bones Ministries, the nonprofit that runs the camp. But there are openings for the teen programs, with boys in particular encouraged to sign up.

Camp staff will be following updated COVID-19 health guidelines.

“Our three goals are for youth to understand the depth of God’s love for them, instill practical tools for daily prayer, and spark a desire to do His will—in the Church, and in the world around them,” she said.

Stuvek made the comments on Catholic Education Plus, airing Sunday, June 20 at 6:30 a.m. on KDKA Radio and available later online:

Creative director Julie Amatangelo, a former youth minister, helped develop the Frassati Leadership program for teens. It was named after Blessed Pier Frassati, a young Italian mountaineer who served the poor in the early 20th century.

“We want young people to be confident in their identity as sons and daughters of God, and win others for Christ,” she said. “Sometimes that means standing up for their faith, just being a friend, or inviting them to their youth group.”

Amatangelo said many parish youth groups were deeply impacted by the pandemic, unable to meet in person for fellowship, prayer or service projects. She hopes camp participants will return home ready to help revitalize youth ministry.

Camp Lajas will offer day trips for whitewater rafting, rock climbing, rappelling and hiking, and campers will return to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Camp at night for teepee camping along the creek. There are two weeks scheduled for young women, and two weeks for young men.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Camp & Retreat Center has three lodges, 14 tent platforms, two pavilions, hiking trails and a basketball court. A master site plan is being developed to add lodging and adventure features, and volunteers experienced in landscaping, trail maintenance and construction are needed.

The camp will be open year-round, hosting confirmation retreats and outside groups.

For more information, visit

Connecting with Christ and one another at Camp Lajas in 2019.