COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) AND IONIAN VILLAGE 2020 PROGRAMMING
We are disappointed to announce that Ionian Village 2020 has been cancelled. There is a real prospect that the COVID-19 virus will continue to be a reality in our world even as we move into the summer months. Ongoing conversations with medical experts, whose expertise has been shaping the national and international response to COVID-19, led us to this decision. Arriving at this heartbreaking conclusion demonstrates our love for the physical and spiritual welfare of the youth of our Archdiocese and those prepared to serve them. The health and well-being of all participants is the core of who we are as a Church and as a camping Ministry.
IV2020- Cancellation Letter to Parents
March 31, 2020
There are circumstances in life that are out of our control. When His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros honored me with the blessing of serving as the new Director of Ionian Village, I knew that there would be decisions that would have to be made following an abundance of prayers. I never imagined making such a decision under these circumstances.
We are disappointed to announce that Ionian Village 2020 is cancelled. There is a real prospect that the COVID-19 virus will continue to be a reality in our world even as we move into the summer months. Ongoing conversations with medical experts, whose expertise has been shaping the national and international response to COVID-19, led us to this decision. Arriving at this heartbreaking conclusion demonstrates our love for the physical and spiritual welfare of the youth of our Archdiocese and those prepared to serve them. The health and well-being of all participants is the core of who we are as a Church and as a camping Ministry.
Believe me, we know this hurts. Working with our youth and helping them develop their faith is a passion and a calling. Our team was fully prepared to provide the most amazing summer for your child. Presenting them with an understanding of Christ, in the presence of miraculous Saints and other Holy sites, is the substance of Ionian Village. I lament the opportunity lost in getting to know your child and taking the Ionian Village journey of faith with them this summer.
Even though IV 2020 is cancelled, there are a lot of year-round expenses associated with the program. It would be a tremendous blessing if you treated your deposit, or even a portion of it, as a donation. Should you choose to assist in that way, and are able to register your child for IV 2021 we would waive the amount of your donation from your deposit. Please click here to log in to your CampMinder account and complete the deposit form. In addition, if your child is currently a senior, please encourage them to apply next year for our Young Adult program, IV Next 2021.
In the Gospel of John 9:1-38, we read “As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered, ‘He was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” Our God is a good God and does not let bad things happen to His faithful servants, rather these are opportunities for the “works of God to be displayed.” Let’s approach this as opportunity for spiritual growth. I have no desire to write a letter like this again. However, as faithful Orthodox Christians we are called to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)"
I pray the summer of 2020 provides an abundance of memories in the life of your family. Although those memories will not include Ionian Village, when the time comes, we are hopeful to make lasting memories during the summer of 2021. It would be a blessing to experience the dwelling of St. Gerasimos and venerate St. Dionysios with your child.
With God’s Love,
The Ionian Village Admin. Team
Rev. Fr. Gary Kyriacou
Director, Ionian Village
Summer 2021 Dates
Summer 2021 dates will be released late summer, early Fall 2020.
For participants aged 19-24
Registration including round trip airfare from New York or Chicago to Athens: $6,000.
THE IONIAN VILLAGE SUMMER EXPERIENCE
Ionian Village offers two fun-filled sessions. Each session is identical in daily schedule and travel locations, so your camper may choose the session that best fits their summer plans and school schedule. Both sessions are open to campers who are currently 9th grade through those who will complete the 12th grade in the spring of 2021.
Full Non-Refundable Registration including round trip airfare from New York to Athens.
*We require a non-refundable $500 deposit in order to register for camp.
If you are an active clergy member of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, you are encouraged to apply for the FAITH Endowment Travel Grant program. If your family does not recieve the FAITH Grant, please contact our office.
All international travel must be booked with our agents. Most campers will travel to Greece on the start date of the program and will return to America on the last day of the program. There is also an option for campers to extend their ticket longer than the 20 days of the program, either before or after. This MUST be done with the official travel agency of Ionian Village, ProTravel. Campers traveling on the start and end date of the program will travel as a group with chaperones from Ionian Village. Campers are not allowed to book their international travel on their own.
Each year, “FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” sponsors a series of full and partial financial aid travel grants to campers that want to participate in the Ionian Village Summer Camp program and are in need of financial assistance.
The travel grants are primarily need-based financial aid, however, each applicant’s academic performance will also be weighed into the evaluation review process. Priority will be given to older applicants. Given the high volume of applications, applicants who have already received a FAITH travel grant to Ionian Village in previous summers will not be considered.
The application process and distribution of travel grants is administered independently of the Office of Ionian Village by the FAITH Endowment. For more information, please visit www.faithendowment.org.
*Potential travel grant recipients must receive confirmation of their award before registering for Ionian Village if they are fully reliant on receiving one to attend.*
For questions regarding the FAITH Travel Grant, please contact:
FAITH Endowment, Attn: FTG
499 Park Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10022
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ionian Village?
Ionian Village is a unique summer camping program for Greek Orthodox teens located in Greece and operated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Participants travel across Greece, venerate the relics of saints, walk in the footsteps of the Apostles and visit significant sites or Greek history and culture. They also participate in a fun and exciting summer camp program with a typical camp program setup- Arts and Crafts, Athletics, Evening Program, etc.
Where is Ionian Village?
Ionian Village is located on a scenic stretch of ocean front property outside of Bartholomeio, Greece. The property is about 32 acres, and lays along the western coast of the Pelopponese, directly across from the island of Zakynthos.
How long are the sessions?
Each session is 20 days long.
What ages are eligible?
Students who have completed 9th through 12th grade are eligible.
What is the difference between the two sessions?
Both Ionian Village Summer Camp sessions are identical in program and travel.
How many campers usually attend Ionian Village?
Ionian Village Summer Camp hosts 200 campers at each session.
What is a typical day at camp like?
8:00 am- Morning prayer service and breakfast
9:00 am- Activities (Arts and Crafts, Orthodox Life, Athletics, etc.) and Sessions
12:00 pm- Lunch Followed by a short siesta
2:30 pm- Free swim at the beach or pool
40:0 pm- More activities and sessions
5:00 pm- Supervised free time for sports, crafts or just relaxing
7:30 pm- Evening prayer service and dinner
8:30 pm- Evening activities (Cabin olympics, glendi, music fest, etc.)
How do parents communicate with campers while they are at camp?
All campers love to receive mail from family and friends, so feel free to write your camper a letter or two! Campers are also encouraged to write postcards home and stamps are available in the Periptero (Camp Store).
Our email policy is an extension of our effort to slow our campers down. While emails are convenient for parents, too many emails lead to homesickness, so please use snail mail. Please note that unless there is an emergency, emails will not be delivered to your camper.
When a camper leaves home for Ionian Village, he or she needs space to develop their personality and find his or her place at camp. Our office in Greece gladly accepts phone calls from parents interested in leaving a message for their child or in learning of their child’s progress at camp. Please do not be alarmed if your phone call is answered by our answering machine – we are often traveling on excursions or away from the office to supervise activities. Please do not call the camp hoping to speak with your camper, as it is our policy not to pull campers out of the program for a call from home. Campers will not be able to accept a phone call except in the case of an emergency. Phone calls to campers often cause increased homesickness and disrupt the camp program and community.
Campers will have the opportunity to call home most days during the hour-long Free Time period. They can do this by purchasing a calling card from our Periptero. Please note that campers must choose to call home, we will not force them to call home. If you have a family emergency, our Greece office at 01130-262-309-6818. Every effort will be made to make contact as soon as possible.
Cell Phones, Laptops & Other Technology
Your child may bring a cell phone, however, once campers arrive at Ionian Village their phone will be collected by their counselor and will be returned to them when camp is over. They will have the opportunity to use the camp payphone during daily free time if they choose. Laptops, tablets (iPads, etc.), or any devices that are WiFi capable (iPod Touch, Kindle Fire etc.) are NOT allowed at Ionian Village, and will be held during the camping session in the camp safe. Apple watches are allowed. In addition, please note that campers will NOT have the opportunity to access personal email accounts or social networking sites (such as Facebook) while camp is in session.
It is common for your child's email accounts to require "2-factor identification" involving a code sent to their phone. We see many campers give their email account information to their parents to handle college application deliverables while away. With cellphones inaccessible at camp, we advise that cmapers turn off their 2-factor identification settings on their acocunts so parents can access them while camp is in session.
What do I need to bring to Ionian Village?
Please keep in mind that Ionian Village is an Orthodox Christian Camp and that the program resides in an Orthodox country. As an Ionian Village participant, you are a representative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and should dress appropriately.
Additionally, please limit yourself to the essentials and pack lightly. You are only allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on bag, which should not weigh more than 50lbs (for the suitcase) and 15lbs (carry-on) respectively. Please realize that you will be traveling a great deal throughout the summer and it will be difficult to carry an extremely heavy bag everywhere you go. In fact, you might want to make your carry-on bag a backpack that you can use when traveling to each site.
Any medication you will need
Any flight information you will need
Extra spending money, in euros
Do I need spending money?
The currency in Greece is the Euro. Campers should bring money for souvenirs and any snacks they wish to purchase on travel days. Campers must bring their own euros to Greece with them. There will NOT be an opportunity to exchange dollars to euros. Campers may use an ATM card to make withdrawals on trips; however, ATMs will not be available on every travel day (small villages, monasteries etc). If campers bring travelers’ checks, Ionian Village will not be able to provide a Dollar to Euro exchange, and many merchants are hesitant to accept travelers’ checks.
Do I need to know Greek?
No, you do not need to speak Greek to participate! Of course, you will be exposed to the language and culture of Greece and be given the opportunity to learn.
Will my camper’s special diet needs be able to be accommodated?
Can my camper do laundry at camp?
What is the bathroom situation like at camp?
What is the dress code?
Can my relatives visit me at Ionian Village?
Yes, Sunday afternoons that we are at the Ionian Village campsite are designated visiting times. In order to receive visitors at Ionian Village, parents of campers are required to complete a Parent/Guardian Release that is part of the online registration designating authorized visitors. I If a relative wants to visit and is not authorized, you must email us immediately at [email protected] or they will not be allowed to visit the camper. Relatives can visit the campsite between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on the specified Sundays. Please inform the relatives visiting that they will be limited to a small visiting area of our campus, and due to safety and our Youth Protection policies, are only allowed to go on tours of the campus with a Staff Member. In addition, no visiting relative may enter the camper cabins at any time. Please note that the only visiting time for campers is while we are at the campsite. There will be absolutely no visiting time allowed while we are in other locations, such as in Athens.
Will someone meet participants at JFK/ O'Hare International Airport to help them with check-in and boarding?
Flights will be chaperoned to and from Athens. Upon arriving at New York's JFK Airport or Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, campers will be greeted by Ionian Village staff and clergy. Each flight to Athens will be supervised by several clergy and staff members that will be responsible for escorting all campers safely aboard the flights to the Ionian Village staff awaiting them at the Athens Airport. These chaperones will also ensure that all campers clear International Customs, collect their luggage, and board the Ionian Village chartered busses at the airport, which are supervised by more Ionian Village staff members and clergy. These buses will depart Athens for Bartholomeio, where campers will settle in at the Ionian Village campgrounds. Please see the Registration Form for details concerning extended stay return flight supervision.
As Ionian Village is a "travel" camp, parents should be aware that campers travel to each site by cabin, and that every trip is accompanied and supervised by cabin staff, and administrative staff. As part of the intense training and orientation program that Ionian Village's staff members experience, all staff members have been educated on the sites we visit, and several have previously visited the sites. Fully aware of their surroundings, Ionian Village staff are prepared to deal effectively with safety issues that might arise.
Is Ionian Village Safe?
Ionian Village not only prides itself on the incredible spiritual and cultural experiences that it creates for its campers, but on its camp standards and safety precautions, as well. In coordination with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Office of Camping Ministries, the Ionian Village Administrative Team joins camp directors from across the nation to attend the American Camping Association's (ACA) training conferences. Ionian Village implements a rigorous staff application process that requires a national background investigation and screening. This helps assure that Ionian Village only hires the finest of the many interested applicants each year. Additionally, Ionian Village maintains a 1:7 staff-to-camper ratio.
Are there Medical Staff present at all times?
Ionian Village employs qualified medical staff to maintain the health and well-being of each camper while in Greece. Typically, the medical staff is comprised of American physicians and or nurses (RN certified). Ionian Village also has a medical clinic on its grounds, which is annually stocked with medications and equipment to meet any medical need or emergency.
Does Ionian Village have Insurance?
Since it is considered an international camp, Ionian Village has full liability insurance, which covers injuries, accidents, and kidnapping and ransom for all its' participants. Ionian Village also holds insurance that allows us to immediately fly back any seriously injured or ill participant to the United States on a medically equipped aircraft, so that he/she may receive the best medical attention from US physicians and medical teams.
Tell us about the educational value of Ionian Village
The Ionian Village program places a high priority on its opportunity to educate our teens and young adults. Many of the Ionian Village staff members have backgrounds in education and curriculum development, and teaching experience. With this expertise, Ionian Village carefully designs and creates lessons to cater to all modalities in many areas. Participants are provided with interactive lessons in religious education, Greek history and culture, music, and the arts. Through these areas, Ionian Village is able to broaden the horizons of its' participants so that they return home with a better understanding of the Orthodox faith and Greek culture.