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Camp Cathedral gears up for another summer

Program creates connections between school, participants

STEM+teacher+Ms.+Ria+Periera+works+with+students+on+a+project+during+last+summer%27s+Camp+Cathedral.+
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Camp Cathedral gears up for another summer

STEM teacher Ms. Ria Periera works with students on a project during last summer's Camp Cathedral.

STEM teacher Ms. Ria Periera works with students on a project during last summer's Camp Cathedral.

Cathedran file photo

STEM teacher Ms. Ria Periera works with students on a project during last summer's Camp Cathedral.

Cathedran file photo

Cathedran file photo

STEM teacher Ms. Ria Periera works with students on a project during last summer's Camp Cathedral.

Andrew de las Alas, Reporter

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Summertime is a great opportunity to take some personal time. Reading, going to the pool or just plain sleeping are all definite favorites. And for some elementary and middle schoolers, the place to spend time for a week or two is on the Hill in the form of Camp Cathedral. 

Ms. Grace Rodecap said via email that the school offers more than 50 enrichment camps, as well as various sport camps.

Camp Director Mr. Anthony Ernst said that the “main purpose is to bring in families who are unfamiliar and introduce them to Cathedral.” He also said the annual summer camps helped to “build relationships and get them interested in what Cathedral has to offer.”

Since its inception in 2007, Camp Cathedral has served as a ground zero for welcoming any potential families to Cathedral. 

Ernst said, “Our summer camps range from Disney dreams and lost world of dinosaurs to robotics and Minecraft-style programming.” 

But Ernst said exposure to the campus, facilities, faculty and coaches are on the main components of a camper’s experience. He said, “I teach freshmen and I see a whole lot of kids that attend the summer camps at the beginning of each new school year.” 

Boosting the number of campers seems to correlate to the number of students. Ernst said, “My goals of management have been to create a more professional experience for our camp families.” 

In the past few years, Ernst said, “We have had a more thorough marketing strategy, through print media, through mailers, radio ads, the billboard at the bottom of the Hill and online content in terms of social media. More so even than that, the quality of the camps has gone up in the last six years; the organization has grown dramatically.”

Expanding not only the quantity but the quality is one of the key aspects to “nurturing relationships” according to Ernst. Customer service as a focus is important to try to build relationships and achieve the end goal of retaining campers He said, “It’s getting people up on the Hill and getting them interested in Cathedral and exposing them to the qualities of a Holy Cross education.”

Kara Williams ‘16, who has worked at Camp Cathedral, said via email that “the fact that the campers wanted to come back again and again showed me that they were embracing Cathedral and the amazing people who make the school and camp what it is.” The evident liveliness imbued into the program has continuously shown that the idea of exposure to a new concept helps people formulate positive perceptions. 

Mr. Duane Emery, vice president for enrollment management, said that Camp Cathedral is “phenomenal” because “it gets young people and their parents on campus.” Emery said Camp Cathedral is important especially to the enrollment department since the school isn’t a Diocesan school. He said, “People are likely to engage (with the school) because they are getting a valuable service along the way.” 

Compared to Open House, the camp is a much more active experience and is expanded to a broader range of age groups along the way.

The camper’s information is collected and their families are provided information about enrollment. Emery said contact information is used to send updates or invites to events such as CYO and theater nights, additional information nights and eventually notifications to take the placement test at school. 

The learning opportunities displayed through Camp Cathedral can help point to the future of the school. 

Emery said he hopes for more STEM oriented camps, which could serve as a preview to the future Innovation Center, where STEM classes will be located.

Compounding all the work by people like Ernst and Rodecap, Camp Cathedral serves as a microcosm for campers. A nurturing environment to kindle improvement made Emery say, “They can take Cathedral for a test drive.”

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