On Monday, July 25, the "Summer Boys" program, held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, concluded its annual session. For three weeks, a group of 31 young men lived at the monastery, frequenting 6:00 AM Divine Liturgy, sharing obediences with the monks, partaking in meals and, of course, getting some well-deserved time for recreation every afternoon.
Attendees had an opportunity to create memories that will last them the rest of their lives – not many 15-year-olds can say that they sang on kliros with monks, or fasted alongside them; not many can recall with fondness what genuine happiness one experiences as the church bells ring at the end of a service, or the bishop answering every single burning question these young men had; not many can return to school in the fall while carrying this spiritual treasure within their souls…
The "Summer Boys" program is designed to balance every day and get the most out of it – each attendee comes to early morning services and then performs morning obediences ‒ ranging from trail-clearing to baking to candle factory assistance, while others help clean the church or even assisted in renovating classrooms for the seminarians.
In the mid-afternoon, as the sun blazes its fiercest, work ends and the summer boys are free to run to the lake and take a dip in the cool lake. In addition, trips were held to local waterfalls, the ice cream shop, a Chinese restaurant (both of these were gifts from Bishop Luke of Syracuse, abbot of the monastery), and a trip to the famed Herkimer Diamond Mines, just to name a few.
At 5:45 PM, an evening talk is held. Some of notable guests this year included Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, Bishop Luke, Bishop James of Sonora, and Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT).
Other speakers were professionals in their respective fields, such as Dr. Ana Radovic and others. Some amazing stories were told – Reader Ilya Jarostchuk shared his story about being an NFL player and holding onto his Orthodox Faith, while Andrey Doohovskoy related his experience being a captain in the U.S. Army Rangers.
Organizers of the "Summer Boys" program thank everyone for their prayers, and ARA "Otrada" and the ROCOR Fund for Assistance for their generous donations!