BOSTON – Excavation has begun for the construction work of the gymnasium which will be added to the building complex of the Camp Center of the Metropolis of Boston, where children participate in the Camp programs will engage in sports activities.
Work crews are already preparing the building’s floor, access road, and vehicle parking areas. Around September 15, the concrete will be poured, and construction of the structural supports for the walls will commence.
Speaking to The National Herald, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston said regarding the new project, “it is a large college-sized gymnasium with professional specifications, where not only the children who attend the Camp will play, but also the entire Greek community will be able to use it.” He added, “it is something that the children had requested, and so we started it, and I hope it will be completed by May, as the overseers in charge of the construction have told me.”
Metropolitan Methodios had this project in mind for a long time. He said, “if we don’t do something for our children, we will lose them, and what the Metropolis does is particularly for the youth. Every year, children come to the Camp and leave satisfied because they are embraced by those in charge there and receive a very good program. Now that they will have a gymnasium, it will help a lot.”
Regarding the question of how much the construction of the gymnasium will cost, he said, “I am very thrifty with contractors, and I pressure them not to charge too much – I think around two and a half to three million dollars. There are people from the New England Greek community who have already told me that they will contribute substantial amounts.”
When asked if the parishes will contribute, he said, “If they want to. But I don’t impose on the communities to give money for this project because they are pressured by the Archdiocese for their financial support, and also from here and there. I didn’t want the communities to have an additional burden.” He emphasized, “I hope and am optimistic that the funds will be found, and the project will be completed. We will create a beautiful gymnasium that the Greek community will be proud of. Look at how beautiful the guesthouse building is, and the gymnasium will be equally good.”
Metropolitan Methodios also mentioned that “the facilities of the Camp Center are used by Roman Catholics – the Archdiocese of Boston, the New Hampshire Diocese – and universities like Boston College and Boston University. They come for 3 or 4 days, do their programs, and leave; it is a very good project, the Camp Center.”
It should be noted that the Camp Center of the Metropolis of Boston is located in the town of Contoocook in the state of New Hampshire, about a two-hour drive from Boston and approximately half an hour from the capital of New Hampshire, Concord. It is an idyllic location with a large lake, a chapel dedicated in honor of Saint George, the Hospitality House, a dining hall, and more than thirty cabins for campers, resembling the scenery of a small village.
The Hospitality House consists of thirty-five double rooms, each with a private bathroom, conference spaces, a dining hall, recreational areas, and entertainment facilities.
There is also a special program for children with special needs, who have their own dedicated facility, donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This facility was built from the ground up with all the necessary accessibility and specifications to provide the most comfortable camping experience for these children. Special counselors and advisors are available to assist children with special communication needs and their overall stay at the Camp.
The day for all the children at the Camp begins with a prayer at the chapel of Saint George, followed by breakfast and the day’s program, which includes activities such as swimming in the large lake on the campgrounds, as well as learning Greek dances and traditions.
The establishment of the Camp Center was made possible through donations from members of the Greek-American Community, the largest of which came from the family of George Behrakis.
Campers engage in various activities throughout the daily schedule, including sports, swimming, as well as discussions of religious and spiritual content – the study of Holy Scriptures, Orthodox teachings, and the Orthodox way of life. Priests from the Metropolis teach at the camp, and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston visits the camp two or three times a week. He oversees the entire operational structure, provides guidance to the staff, interacts with and dines with the children, and often officiates in the Holy Services.
Children are also taught to chant hymns of the Church and to dance Greek traditional dances, and within the program, there is also a Greek celebration night. They contribute a symbolic amount to cover their expenses, and if there are children who cannot afford even this amount, Metropolitan Methodios ensures and finds scholarship opportunities so that no Greek child is denied participation in the Camp due to financial reasons.
It is worth noting that the Camp Center operates throughout the year. During the winter months, it offers programs suitable for the winter season, including skiing, mountaineering, and related activities. Additionally, meetings of the philanthropic brotherhoods of the communities, community councils, the Association of Priests, as well as spiritual reflection programs before Christmas and Easter, are held at the Camp Center.
Theodore Kalmoukos Θεόδωρος Καλμούκος
Religion Editor Εκκλησιαστικός συντάκτης
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