By Tim Bishop
HUTTONSVILLE—Nestled in the mountains of Huttonsville, Camp Bosco offers Catholic youth from throughout the state a wonderful outdoor experience where they are challenged both physically and spiritually to try new things and leave their comfort zone.
Anne Madden, director of summer programming at the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville, speaks to youth during Camp Bosco’s summer camp.
Operated by the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the camp is one of the programs at the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center and is run by Anne Madden, director of summer programming for the facility. Madden lives at the center year-round with her husband and four daughters. She said the area has completely stolen her heart and enjoys spreading the Kingdom of Heaven spending time with youth and their families.
Madden has been involved in directing summer camps for 10 years. She has a degree in psychology from Benedictine College with an emphasis on childhood development. She has also been a parish director of Religious Education, youth minister and preschool teacher.
“For our summer programs,” she said, “my job is to give all our staff and campers the tools they need to have a great experience of fun and faith. I work to train, support and give direction to our staff so that I can then just allow them space to be the amazing Christian young adult witnesses that they are, and it’s through our collective efforts that amazing things happen. I also work with campers and parents to make sure that all our participants feel comfortable and loved so that they can have a great place to be able to realize just how much God wants to be in relationship with them.”
As director, Madden said she is the voice of the church to the campers. “I see nothing more integral to my job,” she said, “than introducing kids to the person of Jesus Christ and inviting them into a relationship with him. I really enjoy getting to share my passion with them by speaking my heart to the whole camp community several times a week about how beautiful it is to be created in the image and likeness of God, and what that means for each of us and our role in the salvation history story.”
Madden said the summer camp challenges youth to try adventures they have never faced before and opens them to new ideas. She said the experience is the perfect way to invite them to be open to God and discover their unique qualities. “It is so very humbling for me to be commissioned to bring youth and young adults into the heart of Jesus,” she said, “and to know that the Holy Spirit continually leads me through it. I love Catholic summer camping, and while I can’t think of a harder, more time-consuming job, I also can’t think of one I’d want more or anything more important that bringing kids to Christ.”
As the camp celebrates its 50th anniversary, Madden said that she is very excited about the future of the camp and looks forward to its continued growth. “As we look to the good works he’s already done in that time and in each of us,” she said, “we also look forward to many more years of Camp Bosco bringing more souls into an even deeper relationship with Christ. I want campers to come back year after year not because of how great I am, or how great our staff is, but because they find fulfillment here that’s rooted in the love of Christ.”
Bob Perron, executive director of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said, “Anne has been a wonderful addition to our diocesan youth ministry team. She works very hard for the office of Youth Ministry as the director of summer programming at the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center. She directs both Camp Bosco and Manus Christi.”
For more information about Camp Bosco and the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center, visit www.campbosco.com.