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Catholic as A Way of Life: New York Camp Founders Named Family of the Year

In an awards ceremony held today at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in Baltimore, the Young family from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was named the 2018 Family of the Year.

The international family of the year recognition is an annual tradition that helps the Knights of Columbus showcase its belief in the importance of strong and vibrant families as the cornerstone for the stability of society.

Ryan and Elizabeth, along with their seven children Christopher (17), Trinity (15), Grace (12), Mary (9), Justice (8), Faith (2) and Xavier (5 months), are active members at St. Martins de Porres Parish.

Ryan or his daughter Grace are often cantors at the 5 p.m. vigil Mass on Saturdays, while Trinity and Justice often are altar servers. The family participates in various community outreach programs such as Food for Families, Habitat for Humanity, Coats for Kids and the parish’s blood drive. Ryan serves as the director of the Fearless Retreat Program, a weekend youth retreat program hosted by Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

But above all this the Youngs’ main initiative: Camp Veritas, a summer camp organized exclusively inspiring and forming young Catholic teens in grades 7 to 12 about the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Founded in 2008 by Ryan with the help of Elizabeth, Christopher, Trinity and Grace, Camp Veritas has served nearly 10,000 teens, adding an average 134 new campers every year. The camp has expanded throughout the years, starting with one facility at Camp Lakota near Middletown, N.Y., to several in Maryland, Florida and Ireland. All of those who work at the camp are volunteers, dedicating their time to a program that has been approved by the USCCB and has received countless endorsements within the Archdiocese of New York.

Through the Youngs’ enthusiastic and devoted efforts, they have “reinvigorated or ignited the faith of many people,” according to Mother Agnes Mary, superior general of the Sisters of Life, who have worked with Camp Veritas.

Ryan Young is a member of St. Martin de Porres Council 7551. He said his family’s complete immersion in the Catholic Church’s teachings is a way of life.

“What we do as a family for us is normal for us,” he said. “They wouldn’t even know who they are without their Catholic faith being a part of their core. It’s not an aspect of life. It is life.”