The second of the American TFP’s National Call to Chivalry Camp for boys was held at the TFP-staffed St. Louis de Montfort Academy in rural Herndon, Pennsylvania, from August 11-20. The meetings and activities of this year’s camp were largely modeled on the earlier TFP camp in Louisiana. The theme centered on applying the Catholic heroism of the Knights of Malta to the present day Cultural War.
Attended by 43 young men, ages 12-17, this year’s camp inspired many participants who came from all over the nation and even from Poland to attend. After experiencing firsthand the combination of discipline, spirituality and adventure that the TFP offers adolescents, some even expressed a desire to attend the TFP-staffed St. Louis de Montfort boarding school this year.
Two activities of this year’s course merit special mention. One was a Friday morning protest at an abortion clinic in Harrisburg, Penn. The boys had spent the previous day coming up with slogans to put on their protest signs. “It is important to teach boys to stand up for their beliefs,” said camp counselor Cesar Franco. “That is why we brought the boys out to protest. I think it will have a truly beneficent effect on them.” The other was a trip to see the battleship USS New Jersey, currently docked in Camden, New Jersey. The boys had a private tour of the ship and ate lunch in its mess hall.
The camp’s crowning event was the medieval games and banquet, held on the last day. Two teams of “aspirant knights” faced each other throughout the day in games such as steal the bacon, French football and tug-of-war. All that exercise fostered healthy appetites in preparation for the medieval banquet.
Organizers spent the day, transforming the school’s gymnasium into a banquet hall where over 110 parents and participants feasted on barbecued brisket, sausage and a richly decorated platter topped with a 159-pound pig that had been slowly roasted throughout the day. During the meal, awards were given for those participants who won the ping-pong and chess tournaments.
The jovial atmosphere reached a pitch of excitement as a castle-cake, modeled on the Hospitaller fortress of St. Elmo, was brought in, topped with lit sparklers. As the event finished, souvenir-statues portraying a knight, kneeling in prayer were distributed to all the boys.
However, the camp’s higher purpose was well summed up by organizer John Ritchie. “In our volatile and changing world, boys must be formed with a sense of courage and a stability that only the Catholic Faith can give,” Mr. Ritchie said. “Both are fostered at TFP Call to Chivalry Camps by immersing the boys in an atmosphere that encourages pride in the Faith and a willingness to bring that pride into their daily lives.”