Nestled among the splendorous red and gold leafed hills of the Arkansas Ozarks, and beneath a towering cliff where eagles soar, nearly 30 boys gathered from around America for a camp unlike any other.
The boys weren’t coming to fish, play sports, or enjoy the great outdoors. They came for something far more significant: to discover an ideal that seems completely lost: Chivalry.
The camp’s title proclaimed its purpose: the TFP-Louisiana's Fall 2023 Call to Chivalry Camp. Held from November 16-20 at the White Buffalo Resort in rural Arkansas, the boys learned about crusader role models, played Chivalry-themed games, and enjoyed Catholic camaraderie that is hard to find in today’s world.
“It’s Better to Be an Eagle for a Minute Than a Toad for a Lifetime”
The camp’s first talk was on the Epic Spirit by Joseph Dunlap. The participants were encouraged to embrace a spirit of self-sacrifice and heroism rather than today’s option of sinking into self-centeredness and mediocrity. He concluded with a slogan, which would be repeated throughout the camp: “It’s better to be an eagle for a minute than a toad for a lifetime.”
Discovering Poland’s Crusader Spirit
The theme of the camp was Catholic Poland. Thus, the young men learned about the great monks and knights who stood up against the Swedish Protestant effort to eradicate the Faith from Poland in 1655. During the epic siege of Jasna Gora, a small Catholic force won a resounding victory against a besieging army of Protestants. Our Lady appeared standing on the walls, striking terror and confusion into the hearts of the Protestant enemy.
The sacrificial side of a true crusader was highlighted in the talk about the “Knight of the Immaculata,” the life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe given by Mr. Elias Bartel.
Mr. Bartel held his audience spellbound as he related the cruelties inflicted on Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Nazi guards viciously beat him, seeking to make him give up his Faith. He sacrificed his life by joining ten men in a starvation bunker. In a supreme act of heroism, he provided spiritual help to those who would die and enter eternity.
Crusaders Defend the Defenseless
The vocation of a crusader calls for defending those who cannot protect themselves. This is especially true of the unborn baby in the womb who have no defense. On Sunday, the boys went to Springdale to defend the right to life.
The public street campaign featured banners and signs that read, “Honk Against Abortion” and “Defend the Unborn.” TFP members played the bagpipes and drums, which added an enthusiastic and lively note to the demonstration. The vast majority of passing cars honked, and many people waved in support.
Embracing the Cross
A favorite activity for these fall campers was the hike up the cliff across the river from the campground. After crossing the river in boats, the young men scrambled up the cliff to their destination—a large cross 450 feet above the river. From the summit, the group prayed the rosary and sang hymns and crusader songs, which echoed over the plain below.
The hike reminded camp participants that crusaders are called to embrace the crosses of hardship and suffering. However, those who take up their cross find true peace and joy.
The Future Belongs to Those Who Fight Under Our Lady’s Banner
Thus, the camp was a source of hope for the future. While civilization collapses, young men who love and embrace a culture built on purity, heroism, and true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Catholic Church are still willing to serve God.
Victory belongs to those who confide in Our Lady of Fatima’s promised triumph. All that remains is for her followers to do their part in fighting the spiritual battles raging in today’s culture.