St. Nicholas Program -
A Place for Differently Abled to Grow Closer to God!
This past Saturday, May 26, 2018, we opened the gates at All Saints Camp to welcome visitors interested in our St. Nicholas Program. What is the St. Nicholas Program (SNP)? SNP is designed for parents and their child with disabilities to spend time together in an Orthodox Family Environment. The campers are introduced to camp life at All Saints Camp and the parents are given the opportunity to meet fellow Orthodox parents who are tackling the same challenges in today’s world. All aspects of the program are designed to give youth with disabilities an optimal experience.
The SNP program includes: Sensory friendly Daily prayer services, modified learning church school lessons, parent workshops, discussions and respite time, parent/child sports, crafts, singing, dancing, bon fires, hayrides, scavenger hunts, and swimming, just to mention a few of the activities.
Due to some unforeseen factors, we were unable to provide the full program this year. As an alternative we offered an Open House event for potential campers and interested supporters to come learn about the program and visit our beautiful All Saints Camp.
The day began in prayer led by ST. Thomas Chapel chaplain, Fr. Paisius McGrath. It was a beautiful service. During his welcoming remarks, Fr. Paisius reminded us that All Saints Camp is meant to be a place for ALL faithful to gather and grow in Christ - a beautiful place that has been gifted to us to care for.
Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry Director, Natalie Kapeluck Nixon, offered a presentation entitled, Walking Alongside our Faithful with Disabilities. In her final remarks, she noted the story of the paralytic. She stated that we should be like the family and friends of that man. He could not walk to Christ due to his “disability”. His friends knew just how important it was for him to meet Jesus and to be touched and possibly healed by Him. His disability should not deny him access to Christ! So what did they do? It would not be easy or possible to carry a man on a pallet through the immense crowds that were surrounding our Lord. They went to the extreme lengths of lifting him onto the roof and lowering him down to meet Christ. What a humbling example of love and sacrifice. Ms. Kapeluck- Nixon urged all of us to be like those friends. Go to any lengths to ensure that our faithful with disabilities are able to meet Christ without any obstacles.
St. Nicholas Program director, Tracy Galla is thrilled to be a part of the program. She says of the future, “ God prepared me with nearly 20 years of experience as a special needs para-professional, so that I may serve Him through this ministry. I am so excited to be a part of a program that provides our young people a place to grow spiritually and physically while creating bonds with one another. Our youth with disabilities and their families need a place like this!”
We are pleased to announce that we will return in 2019 with our full four-day program - June 14-17th under the leadership of Protopresbyter Myron Oryhon and Tracy Galla.
For more information about the program or to see our consultation and planning team of professionals and parents please visit http://www.uocyouth.org/uocstnick.html