Summer Blog

Byzantine Venture 2013

July 28

Notes from IV…

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sorry that it’s been a few days since I have written. As you can probably tell, we are having a great time over here, and I can barely find the time to put together this note! Our days are filled with prayer, games, amazing food, awesome counselors, and really cool trips. Most days we have free time where we can call home, but don’t stress if I don’t call. No offense…I love you and all, but I want to hang out with my friends! I’m sure you will understand.

Anyway, since I last wrote, we went to the other half of the trip for Kastro and Olympia, and it was so much fun. It’s getting really hot over here, but we are in and out of most of the archeological sites before the real heat sets in, so that is good.

Back at camp, we have been having so much fun. One night we went to Patras to venerate the Skull of St. Andrew and then went to this really cool restaurant in the mountains of Patras that gave us an amazing view of the Rio-Antirion bridge. The next night we had BASILE the comedian cvome to the camp and put on a live show for us…he was hilarious! It was so cool of him and his family to come and do the show for us! Last night was Night with God, and we went into the local town of Glyfa for Vespers and then came back to the camp for Saint Skits.

Today has been the most EPIC day yet. We started with the Divine Liturgy outside and then had the water Olympics in the brand new pool. After that, we had an awesome lunch and siesta, followed by the Pentathalon. Right now, we have prep time and chapel and dinner, and then the 43rd Annual IV Land Olympics. Our cabin has gotten so many kefi points today, I think we have a good chance at winning the whole thing. Ok…that’s it for now. Have to go get dressed for the night and get my war paint on! LET’S GO IV!!!  Talk to you soon, love you!

July 24

Day 4

Dear ‘Rents,

I hope all is well at home. We are having an amazing time over here. Today we had our first trip out of camp. Half of us went to the local village of Kastro and visited the Castle Chlemoutsi and had an opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Mammas at a local church, then we had frappes and juice at a cafenio. The other half of camp went to Ancient Olympia, where we got an opportunity to run on the original Olympic track! We came back to camp, had a full afternoon of sessions, and then had the most amazing White Party last night. We all dressed in white and…it was just amazing. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. Make sure to check out the pictures! Much love!


July 23

Day 3

Dear Mom and Dad…

Oh man! It’s getting so awesome over here! Today we had another in-camp day, getting to know each other better. I can’t wait to tell you about all of the new friends that I have made from all over the country. The people in my cabin are so awesome, and we are really coming together!

Tonight’s evening activity was GREEK INVASION, where we got to go around to all these different stations and learn the Greek National Anthem, taste traditional Greek foods, play family fued Greek Style and of course learn how to Greek dance. After, we all converged on the Basketball courts for an EPIC Greek Dance party. Fr. Evagoras closed out the night telling us about his friend the owl and confession.

Mom, Dad… I really am having a great time at camp. I know you miss me, that’s ok. I miss you too, AND I am loving every moment here at camp! Fr. Told us today that the internet has been really slow, so pics and blogs updates might be a little late, and for some weird reason, they are having a lot of trouble with the phone lines, but have no fear: I’m loving life, loving camp, loving IV. Thanks so much for sending me here!


Your Camper

July 22

Day 1 and 2

Dear Mom and Dad…

Don’t worry! I got here safe and sound! Camp is absolutely amazing. After a pretty long day of travel from New York all the way to Athens, we finally landed and were me by some of the most outrageous and excited camp Staff members I have ever met. Then we got on the busses and headed to camp, with a quick stop at Corinth for lunch and then a rest stop in Aegina for some snacks and a bathroom break. When we got to camp, everyone was so excited and happy to see us, I couldn’t help but have a fun time! Even though I was tired, I powered through and we had a great afternoon together, then an awesome dinner, cooked by the camp chef, Kyria Sophia. After that, the Staff put on a hilarious Welcome Skit and we headed to our cabins for the first night.

Today, we got up early, and started our first full day of camp. There are so many things at this camp that are different and fun, and they are all hilarious. We had a great day of sessions where we got to know each other and learn about each other, and then tonight we had junkyard wars. I hear that they put some pictures up online for you to check out. Make sure to take a look when they put them up, it was hilarious.

Ok, Mom and Dad, that’s all for now. I’m off to devotional with my cabin and then bed. Tomorrow’s another fun day here at camp. Don’t worry about me, I’m having a blast. I’m going to try to call soon, but sometimes I just get so wrapped up in having fun, I forget to call! Don’t worry though; I’ll be home in just 19 days! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, and for trusting me to be away from home and do this on my own. I know you miss me, but I’m having the time of my life already. It can only get better from here!


Your Camper

Summer Travel Camp 2013

July 11

IV Storms Athens! All 254 of us headed into Athens today for the day. We started at the Acropolis, which was AMAZING and then went to the new Acropolis museum, and then we all had like 5 HOURS of shopping time with our Staff Members in Monastiraki and Plaka! I got some gifts for you, Mom and Dad, and don't worry, I got some stuff for myself too! After all day in the city, we went back to the hotel and had the MOST EPIC farewell dance I have ever been too. Everyone was hot and sweaty and having a blast. It was so cool. Tomorrow, we head out early in the morning. I won't have time to write, but let me just say thanks, Mom and Dad, thank for sending me to the best summer of my life. I'll see you soon at home. Love you!

July 10

Today was spent pretty much on the road all day as we traveled back from Kerkyra to head to Athens for the last few days of our EPIC Ionian Village summer! When we arrived at the InterContinental  Hotel in Athens, we checked in, headed up to our rooms to get settled and then traveled down to Syntagma Square for dinner in Monastiraki with live Greek Music. We ran up to see the Changing of the Guard at 11 p.m., had some ice cream, and then headed to bed to get ready for our last day together!

July 9

Today, we woke up and went to the church of St. Spyridon to venerate the holy relic of St. Spyridon. After venerating the third walking saint, we ventured out of the old town to venerate St. Theodora in her cathedral. Once back ion the busses we headed to the west side of the island to visit the monastery of Panagia Paleokastritsa. After an awesome lunch, we had a couple hours of beach time followed by an amazing dinner at Barba Thomas with live Geek music and kontosouvli! Make sure to check out the Facebook page for pics and vidoes!

July 8

This morning, we woke up soooo early to head on the road to Kerkyra. After we said goodbye to camp last night, it was sad to leave, yet fun to think that we are moving on to the next step as well. We boarded the busses and headed north to Kerkyra. After a few hours and a ferry ride, we arrived on this beautiful island. We headed to the hotel for check-in and lunch, and then headed to the church of Sts. Jason and Sosipatros. After that we went downtown for dinner and shopping time in the old town…so amazing!

July 7

Today, we started the day with the Divine Liturgy at the outdoor Chapel area. Fr. Costa, the Director of IV for 25 years, spoke to us during the sermon about valuing our lives, working hard, and living in the moment. It was so cool to hear from someone who had been here for so long before us. After that, we began our last full day at camp with rotations. In OL we gave gold, in MGC we learned more about icons with our resident iconographer, in Arts and Crafts we finished up our projects and in Athletics we played ultimate Frisbee. It was the perfect last day at the camp. We enjoyed our last Free Swim in the new pool and finished out our day. After the AMAZING Neon Party, we headed in front of the chapel for our last goodbye prayer. In the morning, we head out!

July 6

Today, we had a camp day as we prepare to head for Kerkyra and Athens on Monday! We used these last days to do laundry and pack and finish up all our different projects. After a great Free Swim in the pool, we headed to rotations again. We were so lucky today to have an iconographer, Dimitris Mourlas come and begin the installation of the first phase of iconography that is going in our chapel. We got to see how he makes icons on canvasses and then glues them to the walls and how they make everything match up. It was so cool! Tonight, we began our “Night with God” by welcoming Fr. Costas Sitaras, the Director of Ionian Village for 25 years, back to camp. Following that, we did our candle lighting and headed to bed! Looking forward to an amazing last day tomorrow!

July 5

Today, we travelled again to Kefallonia and Kalavryta. After a long day on the road, we came back to camp and had our Annual Music Fest, with every cabin putting their own creative and fun skit. The Dog days are over!

July 4

We started the morning by celebrating Independence Day and wearing our red, white and blue throughout the day. We had rotations throughout the day and the weather has been amazing! Tonight, we had the Greek Patrino Carnivale, a recreation of the Apokreas celebration in Greece before Lent. Our carnivale was complete with a cotton candy station, a dunk tank station, fish for your fortune, a tavli tournament, and so on. We ended the night with a Live Greek band playing music on the field with Greek dancing!

July 3

Today, we travelled to Kefallonia and Kalavryta. Half the camp went to Kef and half went to Kal. Both of these trips are really amazing, and allow us, as campers, to see beautiful churches and venerate some of the most amazing relics. While they are both long days, they are days where we learn about our faith and our culture, both being very important to us! When we got back to camp, we had an awesome bonfire on the beach, with real AMERICAN smores!

July 2

Today was RepowerGreece Day at Ionian Village. An Athenian non-profit called RepowerGreece came to the camp to participate in a day at camp dedicated to refocusing our viewpoint of modern Greece. We did various activities like made our own homemade Pintrest boards, made theme t-shirts, and participated in constructive discussions. In the afternoon, we headed to the beach for the Annual Sandcastle Competition and then had our traditional Greek Panigiri at night! Great day!

July 1

Today, we headed to the island of Zakynthos to vene rate the relic and body of St. Dionysios, the patron saint of the camp! It was so moving for the entire camp to travel to Zakynthos all together and be as one family as we visited our patron saint. After a moving experience in the church, we boarded the busses and headed to lunch and most importantly…the beach! We ended with a bit of shopping time downtown and took the late ferry back to camp. A long, but great day! Can’t wait until tomorrow!!

June 30

Sunday is always a special day at Ionian Village! We started the day by having the Divine Liturgy under the pines and then headed to the Trap for Kyria Sophia’s loukoumades! Following that, we had camp-wide pictures by Kyrios Andonios and then headed to the new pool for the IV Water Olympics! We had a ton of fun relays back and forth and even a synchronized swimming event! After a brief siesta, we headed back out in the sun for the IV Pentathalon and then over to the brand new field for the IV Land Olympics! It was a great, active day, and we all had a really fun time!

June 29

Today was a quick day here at camp as we went through our rotations in the morning and into the afternoon. Around mid-day, we got dressed up and boarded the busses to the City of Patras, home of St. Andrew. When we arrived in Patras, we went directly to the Cathedral of St. Andrew where we had the opportunity to venerate the relic and X of St. Andrew, as well as see 2 traditional Greek Weddings in process! After the church we headed up the mountain to Ifigenia for a sunset dinner! What a great night was had by all!

June 28

Off to Bartholomeo we go! Today, the camp joined together for our first trip as a whole camp. We headed to the local town of Bartholomeo to visit the church of Koimisis tis Theotokou and do a little light shopping. When we walked up to the church, many of us were wondering why were stopping at the small village and going to the church. When we walked in, it was pretty obvious. The church was covered top to bottom in iconography, mostly the sotry of Christ’s life and ministry. Father pointed out many things to us, and most especially the large icon of the Panagia that was donated to the church by a construction worker after a miraculous occurrence in the church. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad… I’ll tell you the whole story when I get home. After the church, we headed into the main square of the town where some of us shopped, some of us chilled, some of us got coffee or juice and just enjoyed the local environment. After a nice “volta” in Bartholomeo, we headed back to camp for another amazing day of rotations and bonding with our cabins and other friends at camp! Saint Skits were tonight, and they were hilarious! The priests were the Master’s of Ceremonies, and even they had so much fun. I’m having a blast here, Mom and Dad…I’ll call if I have some free time, but don’t worry about me! I’m making new friends and seeing things I never thought I would see, I’ll be home soon enough! Keep us here at camp in your prayers and don’t forget…Check out the pictures!!!!

June 27

Today, the camp switched trips and we again traveled to Castro Chlemoutsi and Ancient Olympia. It’s amazing how quick we are all coming together and getting so close. Already, we have met other campers from all over the country, and it’s really cool to hear about their experiences and lives. When we got back to camp, we had rotations again, meaning that we traveled around to the different sessions. It’s exciting to travel to the sessions, because we get to travel with a different cabin every day, letting us meet as many people as possible! Tonight, we had the White Party, which started around the new pool. There was some chill music playing, then all the sudden, the shut the chill music, and loud music started pumping from the Arts and Crafts area…we went over there and proceeded to dance and have a huge party for the next hour and a half, complete with black lights, great music, and a whole lot of fun! Tomorrow, we travel again in the morning and head back to camp for another amazing day! Make sure to check out the pictures of the White party tonight on Flickr!!!

June 26

Today, the camp traveled for the first time! Half of the camp visited Ancient Olympia and the other half visited the local town of Castro and the Castro Chlemoutsi! At Olympia, we saw the ruins of Ancient Olympia, where the Olympic flame is lit every four years and we had a chance to run on the original Olympic track. After, we visited the museum where we had the chance to see, amongst other things, the most beautiful Statue of Nike. In Castro, we visited the Castro Chlemoutsi which offered us an awesome chance to visit a real castle and had the most breathtaking views. After that, we stopped in the church of Koimisis tis Theotokou, where we heard about and had the opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Mammas. A relaxing stop for frappe and juice followed, with everyone returning to camp. We hopped into sessions and concluded our day with a fun and exciting Evening Activity called “Greek Invasion” which introduced us to everything Greek, and helped us learn about our heritage and culture! Such a fun and exciting day. Tomorrow, we switch trips! Keep us in your prayers, and don’t forget to check out the pictures daily!

June 25

Today we got started! After a long travel day for everyone, the Summer Travel Camp finally began after months of anticipation! All of our campers successfully and safely arrived in Athens and were whisked away to the Isthmus of Corinth, participating in their first of many IV Traditions, Souvlaki at the Isthmus! After a great meal, we headed out to camp and arrived in three different groups, depending on what times our flights landed in Athens. After a hilarious and entertaining Welcome Skit by our awesome IV2013 Staff, Fr. Evagoras, the Director of Ionain Village, welcomed us. He gave us some of the basic rules like how we have to respect the property by not walking on the grass, about how we can't flush the TP, how we are turning in our cell phones and how we all (girls especially) have to abide by the camp dress code. Father wrapped up by encouraging us all to do three things this summer to get the most out of camp: Disconnect, Experience, Rejuvenate!

After being dismissed from the Amphitheater, we headed to our cabins to begin camp! Don't worry Mom and Dad... I'm having fun! I probably won't call for a few days because I'm meeting over 200 other kids my age and having so much fun, so don't worry! I'm having a great time! Make sure to look for me in the pictures that the camp posts every night. Off to bed for the camp now! See you in the morning!

June 26

The first day of Ionian Village was a huge success! Following morning Orthros and the first sessions of Orthodox Life, Athletics, Arts and Crafts and Music & Greek Culture, we headed to the brand new renovated Ionian Village pool. Thanks to an amazing grant from FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, we were able to dedicate and bless the new pool! Make sure to check out the pictures on Facebook! After a delicious lunch of Kyria Sohpia's homemade pastichio, we were off to siesta, followed by the rest of our daily rotation. We had Junkyard Wars tonight, which was a great cabin bonding activity that allowed us all to have a great time and get to know each other so much better! Tomorrow it's off to traveling! Stay tuned for more about our awesome trips tomorrow!