July 24, 2016

TFP - Chivalry Camp 2016

Frodo participated in an awesome Chivalry Camp put on by "TFP" (Tradition, Family & Property). Every day they sent us (parents) detailed descriptions of the days activities as well as  photos and videos. Every day you can imagine that we were eager to see/read the updates.

DAY 1
Day 1 was arrival day. So they spent the afternoon getting settled in their rooms and playing some games outside as the boys and fathers who were staying arrived.  
One TFP member "gave a talk on the meaning of true happiness. He demonstrated with historical examples that true happiness, like true glory, only comes from a life of self-sacrifice and service, not egotistical pleasure-seeking (the spirit of our modern world)."  [ok... wow...]

Day 2
Day 2 is when things start moving.  They were expected to be orderly and timely or earn some push-ups. They were very blessed to have a chapel to pray in.
Introductory fencing class.
Field Games/ Medieval Games, including Steal the Bacon, British Bulldog, Blind Chariot Races, Shield ball
Music & singing
"In the afternoon the boys attended a talk about the cultural revolution and the ways that the bad customs, bad fashions, ugly architecture and many other fields of culture transmit the evil philosophies of our times which, after a long process lasting generations, can lead souls to reject the Faith. The talk was based on the thought of the TFP founder, Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira, demonstrating how the origins of the modern crisis go back much further than the 1960s. It began with the decay of the Catholic Middle Ages more than five centuries ago and continues to this day. "[my thought exactly]
They begin the day with the singing of the Nicene Creed, raising of the flag and pray 2 rosaries a day (members say 3)
Daily Rosary Procession
The Rosary and dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important part of the TFP camp (and life in general), in the spirit of St. Louis de Montfort's "True Devotion to Mary".  

The "evening talk was about the importance of good friendships and avoiding bad ones. Based on the teachings of St. Augustine, he emphasized that good friendships must be morally helpful for both parties, there must be genuine basis for agreement, and mutual love based on self-sacrifice. " [beautiful!]

Day 3
They started the day with the Traditional Latin Mass.The boys wore suits with their camp scapulars.

A member "gave a talk on Don Juan of Austria and the Battle of Lepanto. Don Juan of Austria, the half brother to King Philip II of Spain and son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, was one of the greatest men of history and the leader of the Catholic League organized by Pope St. Pius V to repulse the Turkish threat to Christendom. The Ottoman Turks had been on the march for centuries, aggressively and steadily conquering the squabbling Catholic kingdoms of central and eastern Europe, and were even pushing into Austria, Venice, Bohemia, and Hungary.Unfortunately, Europeans of that time were often more interested in seeking their own power and material benefit than fighting the enemy at the gates. In many ways, it was a mentality not very different from that of most people today. But Don Juan of Austria exuded a youthful charisma and rekindled the spirit of chivalry—a spirit that had been dying with the decline of the Middle Ages. Young men from all over Europe flooded en masse to his armies. He accomplished the superhuman feat of holding together an alliance of otherwise bickering European kingdoms including Spain, Venice, Genoa, the Knights Hospitaller, Savoy, the Papal States and others, leading the united Catholic naval force to the greatest victory over Islam in history, the Battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for the victory, instituted on that day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary."

Sword fighting
"Following the talk was a two hour fencing class. The boys were divided into two groups, older and younger, to learn classical foil. After learning basic cuts and thrusts, the boys faced off in pairs and waged some mock battles. One battle was a simulation of one army needing to cross a bridge and attack to opposing army, with ropes on the grass outlining the bridge and river. It was very entertaining, both to watch and participate!"
Field Games
Presentations



After the rosary procession and dinner was the evening story by a member  on factors that lead souls to Hell. [ouch]
A favorite game, Prison Break, is played after dark.

Day 4
"The talk after breakfast was about this very subject. Since its founding, the TFP has used street activism to reach public opinion and promote the perennial principles of tradition, family, and property. Mr. Joseph Jordan gave a talk with pictures and video of recent TFP street campaigns, particularly on college campuses across America. For some videos on TFP campaigns, please see our YouTube channel here:


More fencing

Chess
More field games plus archery


The members and fathers get together for a drink and a chat about all those topics men like to talk about.

A member "gave a talk on how to debate and defend our Faith in the public square. In our times, we are increasingly confronted by those who hate the Catholic Faith, and we must know how to counter them, peacefully and legally, and with tact and logic. For those who have seen the videos of our debates on street campaigns, we have certain norms that we follow, such as never making an argument personal, always be courteous and respectful, and constantly having recourse to Our Lady and St. Michael."

Day 5
Singing
Repelling - "With harnesses and ropes, the boys learned how to safely descend the bluff. Such activities really help to build confidence and teamwork.

A couple members gave "a second talk on TFP street campaigns, specifically showing videos on debates between TFP members and college students. In general, the utter lack of rational thought shown by the average liberal student and college professor is really indicative of the decline of higher education in America and the general crisis in society."

Treasure Hunt! "Following the talk was one of the camp highlights: the Treasure Hunt. Two teams, St. Anthony and St. Ferdinand, competed to find a series of clues hidden all over Durward’s Glen and decipher the cryptic messages written on them, sometimes in foreign languages, other times in code or even invisible ink. Like the British Commandos in World War II, the boys are forced to think outside the box and figure it out on their own, one way or another. Failure means less treasure and even less esteem."

There were some hilarious videos about the treasure hunt.  Some of the clues were in Spanish or morse code!
"Each team was required to find the clues together as a team, wait for every member of the team to arrive, and have the team captain read the clue for all to hear. Quite often the younger boys had an inspiration for finding the next clue before the older boys."
"Nature itself, it appeared, was out to get the boys. Halfway through the Treasure Hunt a rainstorm rolled in, thoroughly soaking the camp participants. But the boys weren’t about to just roll over and die. The adversity only hardened their resolve. Thoroughly soaked and with time running out, St. Ferdinand’s team finally found the treasure: a cache of candy, doubtless left by some Moorish pirate centuries ago."





"A member gave a talk on the power of the rosary, and distributed a booklet on how to pray it. He explained how and why to pray the Rosary and how to deal with common difficulties and distractions while praying.

"The evening program concluded with a member showing the video about the St. Louis de Montfort Academy. You can view this video on YouTube here:


"A member also showed a “Chinese Shadow” on Don Pelayo of Spain and the Battle of Covadonga. A “Chinese Shadow” is a type of skit where an image or video is projected on a large white sheet and actors perform behind it. The viewers, on the other side, only see the shadow of the actors on the sheet."
"Beginning in the evening at 11:00 pm is another camp highlight called the Vigil of Arms. In the Middle Ages, a young man who wished to become a knight was required to be an upstanding Catholic and thoroughly knowledgeable in the use of weaponry and fighting tactics. The night before the ceremony to induct him as a knight, he spent the whole night in church, with his arms and armor placed on the altar, praying to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to sustain him in his noble vocation. He was allowed to stand and kneel, but not sit down."

"We imitate this beautiful custom at the Call to Chivalry Camp, although each boy only has to pray a half an hour instead of the entire night (and he is allowed to sit). Unlike the knights of the Middle Ages, however, our fight today is one of ideas. This Vigil is not just a curiosity that we resurrected, but a real preparation for spiritual warfare, as tomorrow the camp will participate in a rosary rally in the public square of a nearby city. "


Day 6
One of the priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest said the Traditional Latin Mass for the camp.
With boys present, it is a pretty good expectation that meals are a big part of the day... several times!
"The campaign lasted for more than an hour. The boys held large signs, sang songs, shouted slogans, and prayed the rosary in reparation for the sin of abortion and for the conversion of our country, mindful of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. The signs said “Honk against abortion,” “Purity is the answer,” or “Life is a blessing, not a disease.” A group of TFP members played the bagpipes, bass drum, and fife, adding much life to the event and patriotic spirit. It was a bona fide TFP campaign. A total of about 50 boys, fathers, and TFP members participated."
"Many passers-by honked their horns in support. One lady with a large decal of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on her window (probably a local pro-lifer) honked and waved with great enthusiasm. "
They were on every corner!
"Of course, the presence of a large pro-life contingent in the largest city in Columbia County, Wisconsin could not fail to catch the attention of the local abortion proponents. Some (very bravely) shouted against us from their cars as they sped by. Our Lord received scorn from many during His Sacred Passion, and as no servant is greater than his master, it is to be expected that those who defend God’s Law in the public square would receive their own share of that scorn. It is fitting, in fact, that we were protesting the spilling of the blood of millions of innocent victims on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood (in the traditional calendar), when the Innocent Victim Himself spilled His blood for our sins."
"The effect on the boys was profound. Although some boys come from actively pro-life families and are therefore no strangers to street campaigns, many are not. It gives them an opportunity to fight back – albeit in a small way – in the culture wars. They were visibly invigorated by the experience. We hope it will spark a desire to get more involved in the fight to defend God’s Law in the public square. “Man is war” said the great American general George S. Patton. Every boy dreams of fighting in a battle. It is in our DNA, and no amount of “gender theory” pseudo-science can make it go away. There is something about battle that awakens a yearning that extends deeply into man’s soul. Although battle involves sacrifice, it gives his life meaning and purpose. This is all the more true with spiritual warfare, since we fulfill the promises we made at our Confirmation to be Soldiers of Christ."
We thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they brought their flags and banners!
AND their musical instruments. Who could miss this!!  What courageous souls for LIFE!

The afternoon was full of tournament games in fencing, archery, ping pong & chess

A member "showed another Chinese shadow presentation on Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old martyr of the Cristero Wars in Mexico during the 1920s. He also showed a Chinese shadow about the life St. Nuno Alvarez Pereira, the Great Constable of Portugal and crusader prince.


"Following the videos was a live skit about the story of the Siege of the Alcazar in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. It was a heroic defense of the citadel of Toledo by Catholic Spaniards against the forces of the Communist Republican government that was waging an all-out war to eradicate the Catholic religion from Spanish soil."

Evening Rosary Procession


Day 7
This is the final and closing day of the camp full of Medieval Games and Tournaments and closing with a Rosary Procession and Medieval Dinner.





The men preparing the meat for the dinner.
In the kitchen
Sneak peak at the "castle"
Complete with Our Lady in a prominent spot.
Medieval dinner

For dessert they presented a chastity cake (to be explained below)

During the games the boys had a grand obstacle course.




Frodo won the senior fencing tournament!
After prizes were given, each boy was called forward to receive a medallion in memory of the camp. The original was carved by a supporter (or member?) of the TFP and replicas were made.
I was invited to attend with Aragorn and the rest of our boys. So I went over early with the boys. As we waited for the ferry we were entertained by this fellow who was trying to climb this large tree in a tree frog fashion.
Until he fell off. We were laughing our heads off.

Merry & Pippin riding on the ferry.

They boys were allowed to play the games. It was apparent to me that it takes a week at camp to learn the necessary skills to play these games, but the younger boys still had a good time.



Merry Pippin on the obstacle course.




Fencing tournament
Awesome job Frodo.
Kili was delighted with the chance to play with a real (foam) sword.  He was working on a tree-orc.

Prizes!
Frodo received a splendid knight statue for winning the fencing tournament.
Evening Rosary procession was absolutely beautiful. I will admit to having some tears in my eyes to listen to all those boys and men reciting the Rosary with such gusto and prayerfulness.


The Medieval Dinner had real armour on the tables .

Here is the presentation of the Chastity Cake. Some brothers of some of the participants made the cake. No joke!  It was a feast to behold and every part of it had meaning...
Hoping the larger size will be easier to read. However, feel free to click on for even larger size. What a beautiful way to teach chastity.
The cake was absolutely delicious, too.
Pipping tries on the armor....
Please note he did not put on a head sock first....
Trying on helmets.

The tricky part was getting the chain mail off!

We had one of the members over to our house for dinner prior to the camp.  In addition to wanting to have this man over because we had known him for years when we used to travel down to Rockford for Mass but also because we had been "warned" that we should steer clear of this group of people. Our personal experience is VERY contrary to the rumors that we heard.  After we had spent the day talking incessantly with members at the Medieval games and dinner we had formulated a beautiful picture of this lay group of men who work incessantly to bring good to the world and fight against evil. 

When we returned someone told us that a priest we know said, "They are a cult". I'm not someone who can just accept a rumor not to mention something with that kind of connotation. Apparently someone sent out an unsigned letter about the "evils of TFP".  If you have heard this, you need to speak to these men in person and find out what they are really about.  They keep nothing hidden. They are open and above board and solid. I was amazed how like-minded they were.  

Since we had some very hot weather last week, I decided to google about this "cult" rumor.  It seemed to be old information as well as weak.  So pursuing further, I discovered that TFP actually has on their site an entire paper written line by line about this unsigned letter that went around. It was excellent and should be read.  You can read it HERE

I am very happy to have stumbled across the TPF group.  But, I too, am a "problem solver" so their ways are very appealing to me. They are DOERS and we need more people in the world to go out and make things better and fewer people sitting around complaining and negative!

Also the rumor about them pitting children against their parents is very false. They actively involve parents, work with them and teach the boys respect for parents.  Afterall... they are in defense of the family! (no brainer there)

Thanks to the TFP for an awesome summer camp. Frodo told me that he learned more in 1 week than he has learned in a year.  Although he loved the games and fencing and winning the fencing tournament, he said his favorite part were the talks. I think that speaks volumes.  The talks!

If you'd like more information about their summer camps you can fill out the form HERE.

Deus Vult!
(God Wills it!)

We closed this awesome day with fireworks in a local town.