Sunday, September 23, 2018

Notes from St. Lazar Camp 2018

Every year in the Southern Kucaj mountains of Serbia, the sisters of Novi Stjenik monastery host the Holy Prince Lazar Orthodox Youth Camp. During these precious ten days, youth from around Serbia and abroad take a break from the pressures of the world to experience the freedom of the mountain wilderness and the joy of community with children of like mind.

Over the past five years, SPOK has grown from one small clearing in the woods with a few tents and a dozen young children to four separate camping areas for campers and volunteers, a large central gathering place for activities, meals and the evening bonfire, and a large playing field. Through the generosity of many donors around the world, the sisters of Novi Stjenik have been able to provide the camp with enough good quality tents and supplies to comfortably feed and house up to 40 campers plus volunteers. 

A month in advance of camp, the Novi Stjenik sisters with the help of the STOC community began the enormous effort of preparing the infrastructure of the camp. After the harsh winter and a stormy spring and summer, the campsite was overgrown and covered with leaves and fallen branches which all had to be cleared away before the main set up was possible. Meanwhile, in the city, the purchase and transportation of food and other supplies had to be arranged. Finally, in the last days before camp begins, the sisters and friends of the monastery drive the caravan of jeeps safely transporting the campers up the mountain roads.

Friday, August 26, 2016

St. Lazar Camp Session 2016

 In the forests of the Kučaj mountains, six kilometers from Mikulj rock and Novi Stjenik Monastery, in the valley of the Demižlok stream, at the entry to Lazar canyon, with the traditional slogan “With Faith in God, for the King and Fatherland,” the fourth session of the St. Lazar’s Youth camp passed very successfully.

This year there were over thirty attendees the camp, more than twice as many as the camp’s original capacity. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

St Lazar Orthodox Youth Camp 2014

This year from the 13th to the 23rd of July our St Lazar Youth Camp (Svetolazarev Omladenski Kamp – SPOK) was held in the trackless Kučaj mountains, beside the Demizhlok stream, within easy reach of a glorious natural wonder, the Lazar canyon, and nearby Novi Stjenik Monastery.  As SPOK is still in its infancy and this is only its second year of existence and second session, we can consider that these were its first steps towards maturity.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Q: Will my child be able to participate in the camp if he/she does not speak Serbian?

A: Most of the leaders of the camp, as well as the children, have a basic, if not better command of English. This first year we had two Russian youths from Germany and two from the USA participate in the camp. They got along wonderfully with our Serbian children, all mainly communicating in English, which is a required subject in Serbian schools. Whatever they could not manage to communicate verbally they succeeded through gestures. It was surprising how much the children bonded; the language barrier did not prove to be a problem in the least. 
When the Russian children left the camp, which they were obliged to do before its conclusion because of previously-set travel plans, all the children gathered to say their goodbyes and see them off.  The parting was truly touching.  After their departure all felt their absence very much, for their joyful spirit and substantial experience in other camps greatly contributed to the overall atmosphere of the camp. 
With this example we would just like to encourage and assure parents that their children who do not speak Serbian should not feel the least embarrassment or discomfort at our camp because of language. Our spiritual and camp leaders, along with the children, are exceptionally open and welcoming to visitors from abroad.  A shared love for Christ and Christian values easily bridges any language barriers, and children coming from abroad will have the opportunity to be exposed to the unique, rich Serbian Orthodox culture and tradition.

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