When Michelle Kuhar’s nephew was two, a new tradition started in their family. They would take an annual camping trip which always included a stop at Camp Sancta Maria to visit Michelle’s brother, John David, at his summer job. 

Michelle Kuhar on a camping trip.

Setting up their tent, swimming in the lake, making s’mores and foil meals over the campfire, kayaking, and memory-making have been part of their lives for years now. For Michelle’s nephew, the highlight of the trip was always their side-trip to the open house at Camp Sancta Maria. There, her nephew could tramp in his uncle’s footsteps and pretend for a few hours that he was one of the campers. For years, he talked of nothing else but the day when he would be old enough to attend camp. 

Camp Sancta Maria is a Catholic camp for youth, ages 8-16, located in Gaylord, Mich., on nearly 100 wooded acres with a lake. Founded in 1933, countless generations of boys and girls have discovered God in nature and within themselves, and have made enduring friendships.

Campers enjoying Camp Sancta Maria.

Swimming, horseback riding, a ropes course, sports, arts and crafts, adventure games, and a trip to Mackinac Island are some of the activities available to campers, in the midst of an atmosphere of faith. Campers live their Catholic faith through daily Mass, Reconciliation, the Angelus, grace before and after meals, and night prayer in the Chapel.

“My nephew is now old enough to attend camp, but he doesn’t need my assistance to do so. His excitement over camp and his bi-racial heritage inspired me to create this scholarship which will provide financial assistance to Black/African American youth to attend a week-long boys camp each summer,” Michelle shares. “My hope is that other young men can enjoy the rock wall, archery courses, swimming and kayaking, campfire stories, and daily mass in the rustic chapel as they conquer new heights and learn to incorporate Christ into their daily lives.”

This scholarship will provide financial assistance to Black/African American youth to attend a week-long boys camp each summer.

Michelle created a donor-directed fund with the Catholic Foundation. A designated fund is an advised fund whose beneficiary organization is specified by the donor(s) at the time of the gift. Income from the fund is distributed in accordance with the instructions provided at the time of the gift, in this case, as a scholarship for Black/African American youth with financial need to attend Camp Sancta Maria.

Bl. Frassati mountain climbing.

The scholarship is named in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a mountain-climbing, fun-loving outdoorsman. “Bl. Frassati’s influence on my life and his tremendous example as a lay saint with a love of nature, the Eucharist, and practical jokes, makes him the perfect patron for young campers,” Michelle reflects. 

Michelle has provided the initial funds for the Frassati Camp Scholarship but hopes that others will join her in growing the fund to $10,000, at which point it would be endowed, to provide support for more would-be campers. She invites you to join her in giving a gift of any size to allow more youth to experience the transformational impact of a week at Camp Sancta Maria.

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