Maddalena and Carlotta share the beauty they discovered at the GS Summer Vacation
At the beginning of June we drove from Indianapolis to Bergton, VA, for the GS Summer Vacation ('GS' stands for 'Gioventù Studentesca': high school students following the charism of CL), where we stayed with sixty other high school students, from DC, Texas, Minnesota, and Ohio.
We decided to go because we like to be in the company of our friends there. These vacations are always an opportunity to meet someone new or to go deeper in the relationships with people we already know.
Being from Indiana, we do not often see our friends from DC and Texas. But our relationships are not superficial. We all realize that being in that place is a time to grow together. We are all very different, coming from different places and for different reasons, but we are all there together to discover something.
The games were a lot of fun. We played in teams and we saw a different side of each other: everybody’s talent was needed. The game's theme was ‘Spies’. So we used everyone’s strengths to play a series of games that included riddles, decoding, disarming a fake bomb, opening a safe avoiding laser beams, a quidditch match, shooting games, and obstacle courses.
In the morning, we did School of Community with our teams. Instead of having adults leading the readings and the discussion, we worked in small groups among ourselves, with our team captains as group leaders. This was an opportunity to open up more easily and talk about our experience.
Everyone was given a place and a way to contribute to the beauty of the vacation. Every part, from making meals for everybody to setting up for the games, helped us discover the purpose of why we were there. To be invited to contribute made us feel wanted.
During his talks and homilies, Fr. Medina made everything relatable so we were able to clearly understand the points he was making. He did not sugar-coat anything. He did not tell us what to do or what we did wrong, but rather pointed us towards what we were missing and invited us to try a different path, a proposal to live a better life.
What is striking about these vacations is how much we learn about life and about how to be a better person in everyday life. These vacations usually come right at a time when there is a struggle with a friend or a difficulty in seeing God in my everyday life. And being at the GS vacations usually gives me a path to begin answering my problems. For example, the end of the school year was really stressful due to finals, prom, and important lacrosse games, and it was difficult to deal with everything. Going to the vacation, I did not have a clear question in mind, but I discovered something new. Fr. Medina taught us that we need to be present in the moment in order to have the possibility to see God in everything we do. But this is only possible if we realize that our life is in God’s hands (not in our hands) and we do not have to stress about what will happen next, but instead we should focus on the moment in front of us. This was exactly what I needed to hear.
Mostly, there is something striking about all the people at the vacation – they truly feel as though they are living for something, and they realize a greater Good in life. This is something we do not often see in our friends at home and, to us, this is living proof that the Movement and practicing what it teaches allows us to have a greater passion for living.
Maddalena and Carlotta, Indianapolis, IN