Holy Family’s Outdoor Adventure Program for Teens

What makes JOURNEYS unique?

journeys-canoeIt is a joint venture between Chicago Voyagers, one of Holy Family’s newest outreach partners, our sharing parish St. Malachy-Precious Blood and our Teen Faith ministry. There is no other such venture in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The Parish Sharing program, “builds bridges between parishes that differ in race, ethnic backgrounds, economics, and geography.”  Our sharing parish, St. Malachy -Precious Blood unites African American and Latino Catholics on the west side of Chicago. This past spring, thanks to the work of Teen Faith catechists Stephanie Hagan and Gretchen Kozlowski, twenty (20) teens from Holy Family attended Mass at St. Malachy-Precious Blood and then joined their peers for an engaging conversation over breakfast about teen life in both faith communities. The only question at the end of that eventful morning was, What’s next?’

The answer: JOURNEYS – an outdoor adventure program helping teens in both faith communities

  • journeys-bikingBuild self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Nurture self-reliance, initiative and personal responsibility
  • Discover common ground in the midst of diversity
  • Foster the building and sustaining of effective relationships
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Promote the purposeful use of leisure time
  • Expand connection with the natural world
  • Cultivate an appreciation for and recognition of the divine in nature
  • Encourage teens to deepen their relationship with Christ

Upcoming Trips

Sailing Voyage (June 21-23)

Join us June 21-23 for a multi-night sailing adventure on Lake Michigan. You will be the crew on a 26′ sailboat for five days – learning all aspects of how to sail the boat. We will sleep and eat on the boat and have a shore excursion or two.

Cost is $300 + $300 fundraising. This is a discount over market rates. All proceeds go to benefit at-risk youth, providing them with their adventure.

For more information and to register please visit:

Rocky Mountains Backpacking Expedition (July 22-28)

Our adventure starts with a drive to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The first day is a long drive so we don’t arrive until dinner time. We will camp in the Park that night. Day 2 brings exploring the seemly other world of the Badlands before heading into the Black Hills. We camp in Custer State Park that night. On Day 3, we will explore the Black Hills, visiting Mt RushmoreCrazy Horse and then drive into Wyoming and camp at our mountain base at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, which is part of the majestic Rocky Mountains chain. Days 4-6 we are backpacking in the Cloud Peaks Wilderness of the Bighorn Mountains. Our base is Lake Angeline. The middle day, we will pick a mountain to climb (not technical, just a walk and some scrambling). One day 6, we return back to the trailhead and drive part way home before arriving the evening of Day 7.

The first days of the adventure will be fairly easy physically. The hike up into the wilderness will be challenging, but do-able for the average person. It is a 4 miles fairly steep hike with a 40-50 pound backpack. Our mountain camp at the lake will be high elevation (over 10,000′) – truly an amazing breathtaking alpine environment. The camping in the mountains will be primitive.

Cost: $500 + $500 fundraising
For more information and to register please visit:


March 3-4, 2018 JourneysOvernight Hiking Program Summary

The first weekend in March, ten Holy Family and St Malachy + Precious Blood (our sharing parish) teens and adults spent the weekend together exploring the outdoors and getting to know each other. After checking into our cabin in the woods, we picked our teen leaders for the day. They led the group in planning the rest of the day. We then played a game of get to know each other jenga before heading out. The group choose to push themselves and hiked 8 miles through the woods! Upon returning, we divided into teams for cooking and getting the campfire ready.

The second day started with breakfast and a discussion on privilege and our role in it. We headed back outside to explore the amazing canyon of Waterfall Glenn, including Rock Glenn waterfall. We finished with a prayer of thanks and are looking forward to renewing friendships on our next adventure.

January 6, 2018 Journeys Scuba Program Summary

On Saturday, January 6th, ten Holy Family and St Malachy + Precious Blood (our sharing parish) teens took to the depths of a local university pool to learn how to scuba dive. Twelve of us (hmm…that special number again), too to the water aided by six instructors from Learn Scuba Chicago (LSC). Captain Bob gave us a safety lesson – going over key things like clearing water from your mask, how to check your oxygen gauge, and how to equalize our ears on the way down.

The teens enjoyed exploring this new world – we event did charades, practiced precision swimming through hoops and played underwater games!

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