LIVONIA – When asked to describe the place he spends his summer each year, Camp Stella Maris Camp Director Adam Bell responded with a quick, one-word answer.
Stella Maris, a summer camp on the shores of Conesus Lake in Livonia, is a local gem. The place where Bell was both a camper, and now director, is a place where magical moments can happen, whether you are a seven-year-old camper, or counselor three times that age.
“Camp provides an experience for kids that they don’t get anymore,” Executive Director John Quinlivan said. “It provides a place for kids to be kids, to be outside. I think it’s really important for the development of children to have that time just running around and doing all those things that kids do.”
Former camper and current Ball Field Director, Pat Roberts added they work hard to make sure kids are having interactions with each other face to face, something he thinks can be lost these days outside of camp in the “real world.”
“We pride ourselves on making sure that kids are kind of secluded from the rest of the world,” he said.
The summer camp, which runs eight weeks each summer, is full of activities that are both planned and organized, as well as spontaneous and carefree.
From the rotational morning areas to the night programs, with activities that can be anything from a campfire to a mudslide or anything crazy in-between, something fun is always happening.
Those morning areas consist of the ball field, arts and nature, adventure, waterfront, and spiritual, with campers getting time to spend at each.
Although each area has its strong positives, one of the most important to the camp’s foundation is the spiritual portion.
While it is not a requirement to be of a religious affiliation to spend time at Stella Maris, it is a part of the camp’s history. Seminarians founded it in 1926, and it is still affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
“I think it’s a really good part of camp because it gives good morals and education to the campers,” Spiritual Director Molly Tette said.
Quinlivan echoed Tette’s sentiments on Stella Maris’ spiritual importance.
“Camp Stella Maris has its tradition of being a Christian community and a Catholic camp, and the spiritual part of that is really important to us,” said Quinlivan. “The fact that we teach kids that being kind to one another and respectful to one another is part of life, and can be cool, goes a long ways,” he added.
One of the best ways that Stella Maris teaches those lessons is through the dedicated staff. With many of the group being former campers, they know just how special camp can be.
“It’s amazing to me that there’s a group of 17,18,19, and 20 year olds who are willing to spend their whole summer here,” Quinlivan said. “They choose to be here and be role models for kids. I think that says a lot about them, and I think it says a lot about what camp did for them when they were here.”
Anyone interested in attending camp next summer or learning more about Stella Maris, can visit www.campstellamaris.org.