YPC Boy’s Weekend Retreat

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I had a great time at Camp Mason a couple of weeks ago.  It was good to see all my friends in Cantare and the ones that have moved to other divisions.  The bus ride was really fast and we got to camp in no time.  When we arrived, we all went to our cabins and unpacked our stuff.  We went to lunch and started all of the activities.  I really loved the rock climbing. This time, it was a little challenging because I picked the most difficult climb and I had hiking boots on. I wished I had my sneakers.

It took a little longer, but I made it all the way up and felt like the king of the hill! The other activities I liked were in the low ropes course.  It was neat how everyone helped each other out in the course.  The moving net was tricky but really a lot of fun. Felipe from Intermezzo was the fastest one through it.  My friend Raphael from Young Men gave me tips on canoeing and together we were as fast as a speedboat.  Now I am ready to challenge my Papi to a race!

The camp was really a lot of fun.  I got to meet other kids from all over the city.  You can stay up to 11pm and get up early to play basketball.  You have time to talk, play and joke around, and get to know everyone so much better before going back to weekly rehearsals.  I can’t wait till next year again.  Thanks YPC!

–          Howell John, 11, Cantare

The outdoorsy environment of YMCA Camp Mason was very different from the city environment we are all used to but it was also a key part of what made the trip such a good experience. The secluded spacious environment pushed us to be active. It also allowed us to bond with the younger kids, our peers, and the staff of YPC.

We connected over activities like the low ropes course, Capture the Flag, kickball (otherwise known as “Kick it in the Thicket”) and canoeing, which I did for the first time. We also bonded over the campfire as we roasted marshmallows and made our own s’mores, and enjoyed the talent show where we got to showcase our talents from singing to impersonations to card tricks. My personal favorite activity was the Scavenger Hunt. The YPC staff did an amazing job putting together this year’s trip. I am very glad to say that I was there to experience it!

–          Jamil, 16, Young Men

This year’s YPC Boys Retreat, September 29 – 30, was held at Camp Mason in New Jersey. When we arrived we split into teams, each team had a color and a flag. We were given strips of fabric of our color to make crazy costumes and decorations for ourselves.

We played many games and the winner would be awarded points for their team. Archery, the Low Ropes, Kick it in the Thicket (also known as kickball) and a great adventurous Scavenger Hunt… these are just a few of the great games we played.

At mealtime there were plenty of fabulous choices- baked ziti, pizza, salad, soup, Peanut Butter and Jelly and other great choices. We roasted marshmallows during the bonfire and just had a blast.

Overall the YPC Boys Retreat was awesome!  It was a great experience and it gave me a chance to meet many new and old choristers. Next year I hope that we can have another one just as fun.

–          Adam, 9, Prelude

Our great and energetic weekend at Camp Mason was full of unity, and good old fashioned American fun. This weekend has brought all the boys in each division closer to their younger and older peers.  We were divided into four teams: the blue team, the green team, the yellow team, and the red team. During our talent show, we were treated to a variety of performances by some of our fellow choristers. The performances ranged from that of the Chinese yoyo called the Diablo, to songs by Adele sung karaoke style, the sweet tune of “Hotel California” being played on acoustic guitar, the staff of YPC singing “Chili Con Carne”, and the older boys singing “This Little Light of Mine” with Francisco and the audience.

            The activities were things that most of us don’t normally do, such as canoeing, archery, and rock climbing. While canoeing, we worked in pairs to paddle the boat. In the woods, we took part in a low ropes course which included things such as swinging from one platform to another using a rope. Rock climbing was an all-around YPC team effort, in which teammates, chaperones, and camp’s staff cheered climbing choristers on, with camp staff holding the rope on the ground as we climbed away to get to the top. Two activities that we all really enjoyed were kickball and capture the flag because it took the whole team to make a strategy and carry it out. The green team learned Francisco’s secret techniques and strategies to win, while the blue team had Johnny to help them with his skill and speed. One of the best events was the campfire, where we bonded around the fire while making and eating s’mores.

                The Scavenger Hunt was a main event where the teams ran all around the camp to find clues and answer questions on what we have learned during YPC rehearsals. The part during the scavenger hunt that I really liked was when the older kids ran back for the younger kids since they were getting tired, also when the older kids carried the younger kids on their backs and held them on their shoulders. This trip also taught us responsibility because we had to keep our cabins tidy, clean up after ourselves during meals, and not litter around the camp. Lastly, I would like to give a special thanks to the YPC staff, the parent chaperones, and to the Camp Mason staff.

–  Cameron, 15, Young Men

The camping trip was fun in so many ways. It was great to be with all of the friends I’ve already made from YPC.  One of the best parts about the retreat was to make new friends with the boys and young men in the chorus. It was a congenial atmosphere with all of the age groups.

There were great meals, some fun rehearsals, and lots of activities. My favorite activity was probably archery because I was so good that I got to use the compound bow. Everyone got split into 4 teams – red, green, blue and yellow. I was on the yellow team and we won Kickball, Capture the Flag, and the Scavenger Hunt. The camping trip changed the way I look at coming to rehearsal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Now I know everyone and feel that I can call everyone my friends.

–          Lucas, 13, Amani