Saint Viator Service & Song Camp students focus on SALUTE, Inc.

Each summer, Saint Viator High School hosts a Service & Song Camp for current and prospective students. The weeklong experience focuses on service to others, one of the core values at the Arlington Heights school.

This year, students spent one of the camp days making fleece blankets and cards for SALUTE, Inc.

"SALUTE has a long and very positive relationship with Saint Viator, and we have been involved with the Service & Song Camp since its inception," said Mary Beth Beiersdorf, executive director of the Palatine-based organization.

"It was a pleasure to visit with the students and help them learn a little bit more about local veterans and some of the unique issues they face."

This year's Service & Song Camp, traditionally one of the most popular summer offerings at the school, hosted 50 junior high students, almost two dozen current students, and 10 adult leaders. Each afternoon, teens divided up into groups and spread out to serve at social service agencies located across the Northwest suburbs, as well as at individual homes.

For SALUTE, the students made blankets and prayer cards for wounded veterans, caregivers and the mothers of soldiers who recently passed away.

"I was really impressed with their true passion for service and the enthusiasm they showed while working on the project. It is simple prayers and well wishes coming from strangers that can make a significant difference in someone's life," Beiersdorf said.

"This is such a wholesome activity," said Pat McGarry, a theology teacher at the school. "The kids get a taste of what service is about at Saint Viator."

Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., a former president of the school, launched the unique camp in 2013. He returned this year to offer the closing Mass.

"Our intention was to let students directly serve those most in need in the local community and learn why service is at the heart of a lived out Catholic faith," Fr. Brost said.

Fr. Corey has long been involved with SALUTE, so the merging of interests was apparent throughout the day.

To learn more about SALUTE, Inc., visit

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