Adult volunteers inspired at CAYOCA
By RENEE WEBB Globe editor
Posted March 27, 2002
Year after year third through eighth grade students who attend the Diocese of
Sioux City's Catholic youth camp, CAYOCA, sing its praises - adults do too.
According to Linda Anderson, director of catechesis for the diocese,
volunteers serve at camp in a variety of ways such as small group leaders and
the leader team - music leaders, workshop presenters, camp coordinators and
"We can't run a camp is we don't have adult volunteers. We must have a
certain number of small group leaders per number of children," she noted.
"They always seem to have a good time at camp and are wonderful role
Tim Bottaro, a parishioner at Cathedral, pointed out that he first
volunteered as a small group leader for CAYOCA four or five years ago. His wife
told him he better volunteer for camp otherwise his son would not attend.
That same son enjoyed the experience so much that he attended every year and
this year he will serve as a program assistant. His daughter has also attended
camp for a number of years.
"We have all enjoyed it and have kept going back," noted Bottaro,
who acknowledged that he is not big on camping. "My idea of roughing it was
a motel with no cable TV. When I went, I had one of the best times of my
He said he never expected it to be such a wonderful experience.
Marie Washburn, DRE at St. Michael Church in Kingsley, pointed out that this
summer will be her fifth year at camp. She became involved in the camp soon
after moving to the diocese. She has volunteered as a small group leader, a
workshop presenter and now will attend as a head group leader.
"Other dioceses that we had lived in did not offer this opportunity for
the youth. I was so excited when I heard Catholic kids could go to camp, because
we had two children who were old enough to attend," she said.
Camp fired her up for Jesus.
"I use this time as a retreat, though it's exhausting, to strengthen my
faith and my relationship with God. This is a great way for ending my religious
ed school year and it helps get me fired up for the coming fall classes,"
said Washburn, who added that it gives her a chance to connect with other adults
from the diocese.
She likes it that the children leave camp "on fire" as they are
inspired through campfires, liturgies, music, new friends, activities, and
Beth Kisch, a parishioner at Christ the King in Dayton, has volunteered at
the camp for 13 years. Unlike many of the other volunteers, she has no children.
She became involved initially as a group leader and then progressed to leader
team and now serves as a coordinator for one of the sessions.
"I had never been to camp as a child and thought I would love it,"
said Kisch. And she does. "It is an incredible experience. It is hard to
understand until you actually do it."
At first, she noted, new adult volunteers question what they have gotten
themselves into but by the end of the camp they are usually hooked and can't
wait to come back.
"The camp helps the students realize that it can be a fun experience to
learn about God," said Kisch. "They can make lifelong friends. I have
Karen Schwaller, DRE at St. Joseph Church in Milford, has volunteered for
"I started out because my daughter went. I work at the church and help
coordinate getting the volunteers, so I thought I should go once myself just to
know what it was like. I ended up liking it so much that I make it a part of my
summer," she said.
CAYOCA is a way to enhance her own life through friendships, noted Schwaller,
as well as a means to impact the lives of children in the diocese.
Anderson pointed out that many of the adult volunteers attend camp year after
year. If adults are interested in volunteering at camp, they can contact the
diocesan office at (712) 233-7520 or (712) 233-7517.