Christmas came early for home of CYC

December 16, 2021

Child on a zip line

The St. Thomas More Center – home of Catholic Youth Camp – received an early Christmas present.

Thanks to a $30,000 gift, children going to the camp and retreat center will see an old playground be replaced with a new sand volleyball court, a large pergola and a seating area where they can gather for yard games,  enjoy the shade or have small group discussions.

The donor, who wants to remain anonymous, wishes to see the community respond in kind and is challenging STM to see their donation matched dollar for dollar by Dec. 31.

“Christmas came early this year,” said STMC Executive Director Alex Kautzky. “This gift will transform the place where campers encounter adventure at CYC.”

The joy that children will experience from the improvements at the activities center, soon to be called the St. Michael Archangel Wings of God Field, comes from grief suffered by the donor and the solace that the donor says St. Michael brought to their heart.
Several instances made them think St. Michael was at work in their lives.

• A special needs brother named Michael who went to live with the donor during the pandemic prays fervently with a special devotion to St. Michael.
• An adult nephew who died around Thanksgiving two years ago carried the middle name of Michael.
• A 10-year-old nephew died in March 2020 after a three-year battle with cancer.
• A story in The Catholic Mirror and at diocese about a pilgrimage walk from Christ the King Church in Des Moines to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Indianola in honor of St. Michael “deeply moved” the donor.

“In the midst of this, we were so very uplifted by the youth at St. Ambrose Cathedral” who went to Catholic Youth Camp last summer, said the donor. “Many of the youth were from refugee families and their excitement from their experiences was infectious.
“Alex so kindly remembered the tragedy of our nephew’s death at the same time we were looking to fund a project that could help us express the memory of both nephews. They both loved Jesus,” said the donor.

Kautzky invites camp supporters to contribute at st and help it receive the matching funds for other improvements. 

“It inspires us to know that those who enter STM will be covered in a shield of protection with this holy and special field with St. Michael the Archangel the protector,” said the donor. “Our prayer is that it will be a place where many find great solace and joy.”