Defining Moments - St Gertrude Football Father-Son Campout

I was blessed to be a part of a Father-Son Campout this past weekend with 70 Dads and their boys from the St Gertrude football program. Dads and their Boys in grades K-8 made the 90 minute trek to Camp River Ridge for some fun, food, football, faith, fishing ... and other things that begin with F (smile).

We started things off by having a competition to see which team could collect the most wood for the bonfire. The creativity and drive was contagious.

Each Father then built a cross with his son and we prayed the Stations of the Cross so the boys could have a first hand experience of what carrying a cross is really like. 

Then it was time to light the bonfire and get those smores going. It took a lot longer than normal to get it raging but with a little perseverance ... We took some pictures and enjoyed the moment.

After we had our fill with the smores, we were graced with a clear sky that was chock full of stars. Looking up and taking it in! Then Coach Sal Fucito introduced our guest speaker - Jeff Gaier, the head wrestling coach at Moeller High School, who has been a part of SportsLeader for 6 years now. He gave a moving testimony of what his family means to him and some recent experiences he has had coaching-fathering-admiring his son Dean ...

Jeff then encouraged the Dads present to share a story of a defining moment in their own lives. It was awesome to see how man after man talked about something personal and important to them ...

We finished the night with a mystery of the rosary and a priestly blessing from Father Matthew.

The following morning the brave left their tents while it was still dark to see if they could catch the big one. Tim Gronotte did just that. Tim has caught a number of sizable catfish over the years generously helping out at these virtue camps. The sun coming up, the mist rising off the lake ...

And then the shouts of a 5 year old reeling in his first fish. It is amazing to see and hear the innocence, the excitement ...

Father Andre Joseph and Father Matthew heard confessions and celebrated Mass as we continued to focus on the 3 core virtues of SportsLeader - Charity, Humility and Courage.

There's nothing quite like leaving Mass and then throwing something at someone else - so off we went for some Father-Son dodgeball. The Dads were restrained a bit by having to throw with their opposite hand - this also provides a good deal of humor. We followed this up with a piggy-back relay race with the Dads carrying their boys ... then the call for breakfast.

Football agility drills, father-son football game, swimming, more fishing ... burgers and dogs for lunch.

We finished things off with a virtue talk about how to build a family crest.