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St. Nicholas Academy Day Camp

By Norma Struemph, SSND associate
Brenda and Norma are posing for a picture with masks on at St. Nicholas Academy in Jefferson City, Missouri, during a summer 2020 program.

When a School Sister of Notre Dame (SSND) associate and an SSND partner with others to meet a need, amazing things can happen! That was the experience we had at St. Nicholas Academy in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The mission of St. Nicholas Academy (SNA) is to break the cycle of poverty by providing a quality education for at-risk boys. It dedicates its resources to helping boys reach their fullest potential by providing a safe and nurturing boarding and learning experience; a quality education at St. Peter’s Interparish School; and a year-round program with summer activities. These services are offered free of charge to under-resourced families.

Aware of the many needs of the children of families greatly impacted by the pandemic, Sister Susan Renner, the director of SNA along with the SNA House Parents decided to offer two weeks of day camp at St. Nicholas last summer.

As an SSND associate, I was the first person invited to join the team, and I immediately said “YES” to the huge challenge of planning and preparing a nourishing breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack each day for the campers, volunteers and staff. My thought was that this is something Blessed Theresa and Mother Caroline would do.

A photo of the summer school campers at St. Nicolas Academy in Jefferson City, Missouri.

This generous response had a ripple effect when I reached out to my daughter, Brenda, who readily agreed to help with the grocery shopping and food preparation. Sister Susan’s two siblings came to help as well. Their role was to sanitize everything after every activity and to help with guiding activities. Over the course of the two weeks, eight Junior/Senior students from Helias High School, Jefferson City, Missouri, also volunteered their time to help.

It was a challenge following the CDC and local health regulations for COVID-19. We made every effort to take extra precautions to keep the children and everyone involved healthy and safe. We were able to welcome 17 campers between the ages of 5 and 7, who thoroughly enjoyed various activities including swimming, indoor and outdoor games, music, arts and crafts and story time. Their personalities were each so different, their energy boundless and their excitement tangible. They relished the warm, nourishing meals they received and clapped while affectionately chanting “Miss Norma” as a way of thanking me. If asked, I would answer the call to do this camp again with a “YES!”

We feel we were truly blessed with the Holy Spirit watching over us along with Blessed Theresa and Mother Caroline and the many who were praying for us. All stayed healthy and well. The children were well-fed and happy. Camp was a success! Now that’s what we call amazing and we hope to be able to continue this success this coming summer.

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School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



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