ORPR Camp holds Jubilee Reunion

    ORPR Camp continued celebrations of its Jubilee with a reunion held September 4-5, 2010 in Chicago and Rock City, IL. Dozens of former campers began arriving in Chicago on September 3, including several campers, who were a part of the first camp in 1960.  

    Saturday morning, a caravan departed to Vladimirovo, the site of the camp which was purchased by the diocese under the leadership of Archbishop Seraphim. Former campers were treated to a narrated tour of the various camp buildings and camp grounds. Everyone reminisced about their personal history with ORPR and saw how the camp has developed over the last fifty years.  Stories, laughter, music, and the crackle of a freshly created bonfire could be heard all over camp. 

    Over fifty people enjoyed a traditional Russian meal prepared by the Sisterhood of St. Vladimir’s parish, the camp church. Lunch included borscht, kotletti, and home-made cucumbers. Immediately following lunch, campers caught up with longtime – and sometimes long-lost – friends, continuing to draw upon the fond memories they had of Camp.  

    The caravan then departed for the St. Innocent of Moscow Russian Orthodox parish in Wheaton, IL. His Grace Bishop Peter, Chairman of the ORPR Board of Directors, served a panikhida for our departed campers; vespers followed. Former ORPR camp Dr. Alik Hantel and his wife Claudia opened their home to the entire group after the services to continue the celebration and fellowship. 

    Sunday brought the camp group together at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines for a festive Divine Liturgy led by Bishop Peter along with the cathedral and visiting clergy. At the end of Liturgy, Bishop Peter presented George Pawlukowsky with the framed Gramota from His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion; the Gramota congratulates the entire camp organization on its jubilee. George Ignatiev was awarded an unprecedented fourth star for his years of service to ORPR. After liturgy, the cathedral sisterhood provided a luncheon during which several campers shared what their experience at ORPR has meant to them and how it has shaped them today.

    The majority of the group then was able to rest and relax for a period of time – with the exception of the 50th Anniversary planning committee, headed by George Pawlukowsky – which was hard at work decorating and setting up the ballroom for the reunion finale. 

    The evening, hosted at the Sheraton O’Hare ballroom, opened with a slideshow and display of pictures from every era of camp, 1960 through to the present. Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow, who participated in the first years of ORPR camp, recounted how camp was started and how it has evolved into what it is today. Former camper and current Head Counselor Nicholas Pawlukowsky then shared a message from the ORPR Camp Board, highlighting recent accomplishments and outlining future plans for camp.

    For the rest of the evening, the more than a hundred former campers and guests enjoyed a delicious dinner, listening and dancing to music from the various generations, and sharing memories. Those present showed their support for the next fifty years of ORPR through a number of fundraising opportunities. Many purchased commemorative items (available here: http://www.orprcamp.org/store), bought tickets for a raffle, and made donations to help rebuild the arch at the entrance to camp (more information here: http://www.orprcamp.org/).

    As the evening came to a close, many former campers shared their enthusiasm for the reunion and for the need to hold another one soon. We thank all the ORPR campers – both past and present – who helped to celebrate the 50th year of ORPR Camp!

 a participant
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