Challenge Camper makes incredible discovery

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News 29“Challenge has been hosting a camp at Potter’s Ranch in Union, KY, for the past seven years,” said Patty Steele, challenge coordinator for St. Margaret of York Catholic Church. “College and high school girls volunteer a week of their summer to be team leaders for the fifth- to eighth-grade campers,” Steele said. “Some team leaders are from as far away as Denver, Atlanta and Mexico!” Potter’s Ranch wilderness retreat facility exists to provide the most beneficial environment to develop our nation’s most valuable resources ? our youth, adults and families. This year’s Challenge theme was “Life is a Constellation of Connections”. “The seventh- and eighth-graders did an array of activities such as a rock climbing wall, archery, zip lining, creeking, along with water games by the creek,” Steele said. “They also had a hayride at dusk in which they were able to see lots of animals!” Although creeking was Abby Paxton’s favorite activity, she enjoyed sitting around the campfire singing as one of the team leaders played the guitar. “Challenge camp gave me a chance to hang out with my friends and meet other girls while getting closer to Jesus and having fun at the same time,” added Annasofia Scheve. The fifth- and sixth-graders went horseback riding, zip lining, creeking as well, in addition to going on scavenger hunts. It was during one of the creeking activities at Big Bone Lick State Park that 10-year-old Loveland resident Alyssa Hoffman lost her shoe. While trying to locate the lost shoe in the creek, she found a bone from the Ice Age. “Alyssa found a Pleistocene bison antiquus bone during the creek walk,” said Todd Young, naturalist at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site. “I have been doing the program with the kids for five years now and while modern bones have been found, this is the first Pleistocene bone ever found. We don’t do the program to find bones, just every once in a great while something is found while we are looking for and talking about other aquatic animals. “The Pleistocene remains date back to the last Ice Age,” Young said. “While I do not have an actual carbon date for the humerus bone, the layer it was in where Alyssa found it, dates back around 15,000-19,000 years ago. That makes the find pretty significant and something that is rarely found even when actual excavations are going on. The bone is currently drying out.” The drying out process should be completed by the first week or two of September. Of course, finding the bone was a highlight in Hoffman’s Challenge experience. However, she said “it was a really fun experience and I enjoyed learning more about my faith and the Eucharistic walk through the woods.” “I like Challenge Camp because it was a great way to learn about God . We started (the day) with prayer and ended with prayer every day, including daily Mass,” said Sarah Heard, a SMOY student. “We made goals at the beginning of camp and worked to accomplish them through teamwork throughout the week. I also learned that you can do good things without people noticing – – even if people don’t notice; it is still worth (doing) it because God notices. I made a lot of new friends and grew stronger with old friends. The activities were lots of fun, too. I enjoyed zip lining, horseback riding, and the water games. I want to become a stronger Catholic (Christian) and I want you to be one too!” “I went to Challenge Camp without knowing what to expect, with it being my first time,” said Emily Glover, also a SMOY student. “We did a lot of activities, including horseback riding, zip lining, and went to a park (Big Bone State Park). The counselors were so much fun to be around and I really looked up to them. I grew in my faith a lot by experiencing the Eucharistic Walk and connecting with new friends. I hope I can go back next year.” Maddie Nagel said: “There is not a part of the day when you are not doing anything. You are always doing something fun! My favorite thing was the zip line. The team leaders were fun and did activities with us. I got to meet a lot of new friends from different places and different schools.” The scavenger hunts served as a means to portray analogies regarding charity and ways to overcome bullying. These were some of SMOY fifth-grade student Nora Meyer’s favorite activities. “we went to each scavenger station and found a person who needed our help. If a person was shy, then we sang a song to make her feel at ease. We also helped others understand how she had gifts too by helping her understand her talents. We also spent time overcoming our fears through zip lining with the theme of ‘the sky’s the limit.'” “Interwoven within all the fun activities and connecting with others, the girls have the opportunity to go to Mass daily, experience a Eucharistic procession through the woods, and daily gospel reflections,” Steele said. Through challenge, indeed – “Life is a constellation of connections.”