Erica Erwin

Families share their faith at the annual NFP Family Campout and Picnic.

The NFP Family Campout and Picnic this weekend isn’t just a chance to roast marshmallows over a campfire and splash around in a creek, though there’s bound to be plenty of both happening.

It’s a chance to slow down, to come together as a family and a community.

“It’s easy right now for us to be so busy and to be so caught up in everything that’s going on,” said Kate Whiteford, director of Chastity Education for the Diocese of Erie. “To be able to create a space where families can come together and spend time with other families whose faith is very important to them and who are willing to really put everything into their faith is very special.”

Families bring their own food to cook over the campfire at the 
NFP Family Campout and Picnic.

The event, which includes a 1 p.m. Mass on Sunday followed by a traditional picnic and hike, is a very informal gathering; families come and go and stay for as little or as long as their schedules allow.

“It’s not a space where people are sitting around talking about NFP (natural family planning) all day,” Whiteford said. “People are having fun and doing camp things, but they also have the chance to talk with other families. They can share the real struggles and real joys that come with family life.”

It’s a weekend of renewal and affirmation, and there’s no one “right” way to enjoy it, she said.

“I think my first time (coming to the NFP Campout) I was worried about doing the right thing or what was the established way of doing the campout,” Whiteford said. “But what I learned was it’s come as you are, enjoy the time you have, be yourself, and be open to the people who are around you. And that’s a really beautiful image of the church.”

There are plenty of recreational opportunities for children and adults at the NFP Family 
Campout and Picnic.

The 2018 NFP Family Campout and Picnic will be held Friday through Sunday at Custaloga Town Scout Reservation, 7 Boy Scout Lane, Carlton, PA. Family-friendly camping is available all weekend; grounds are open after 5 p.m. on Friday until late afternoon on Sunday. A fire will be available for cooking; please bring your own picnic foods, drinks and table service, a large dish to share, lawn chairs and balls and games.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Doug and Amy Mosbacher at 814-724-6104 or

Photos courtesy of the diocese and Chris Lyons of Lyons Photography.