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7 Awesome Summer Experiences for Catholic Kids

happy kids singing songs around camp fire

Looking for some a great Catholic experience for your kids this summer? Check out our list of destinations for kids of all ages all around the country! 

by Ryan Langr

Mission Trips

Shine Catholic Work Camp: Open to anyone entering High School and into college, SCWC offers 5 different work camps from the East coast to the Midwest. Your week there includes daily Mass, adoration, community building, praise and worship, and service in the form of housing repair (painting, weeding, etc.).

Catholic Heart Work Camp has nearly fifty locations around the US which, depending on the type of camp, are open to youth as young as current 7th graders. Much like SHINE, the week includes Mass, adoration, confession, skits, praise and worship, and service. Service may be anything from working on houses, to helping in a soup kitchen, to working in a food shelter.


Youth Rallies

Steubenville: Drawing over 54,000 youth to 23 different conferences, Steubenville Youth Conferences are possibly the biggest event of the summer. Over this three day convention, thousands of youth will gather to one of these locations for nationally known speakers, worship artists, adoration, and Mass. With a focus on charismatic worship and a gift for setting the hearts of youth on fire, this weekend is a powerful experience. They also have a great leadership program for teens called Franciscan Lead. Our more experienced readers can check out their conferences for young adults and adults as well.


Camps/Retreat Centers

Catholic Youth Summer Camp: Their website states “CYSC is the premier High Adventure camp experience. And we mean it. Live the Adventure! It’s our motto. Activities typically include: jet skis, water tubing, paintball, blobbing, go-carts, archery, zip line, rock climbing, ropes courses, mountain boarding, and more!….Our faith is founded in the Sacramental life of the Catholic Church, but our mission and work is anything but boring. At CYSC you may come for the jet skis and climbing walls, but you’ll leave with a new Freedom only found in Jesus.” Located in Centerburg, Ohio, this program has camp offerings for kids entering 6th through 12th grade.

Children of Mary: Located in Newark, Ohio the Children of Mary order of Sisters provides three different retreat options. Adults may partake in a private retreat, escaping from the pressures of the world for a week to pray, speak with the sisters, and read some of the great spiritual works. If you are a woman discerning the religious life, and would like to know more about the Children of Mary community, you may spend some time immersed in their life by scheduling a vocations retreat. Finally, for young girls ages 10-18, the community’s “Torchbearers Retreat” is a three day event that focuses on “Holy Mass, Adoration, Prayer, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, Silent Time, Recreation, talks by Sisters of Children of Mary, including “Indwelling of the Holy Trinity” and “Anchoring our Lives to the Two Pillars of Our Lady and Our Eucharistic Lord”.

Totus Tuus: First started in Wichita, Kansas, this Summer Catechesis Program has spread to over twenty diocese. Providing week long camps for K-12th grade students, Totus Tuus uses the witness of small teams of college students to teach them about the mysteries of the rosary and the Catechism. Contact your local diocese, or look at the map on the website, to see if Totus Tuus is coming to a parish near you.

Catholic Youth Camp: Located in McGregor MN, Catholic Youth Camp provides week long camp experiences for 1st-12th grade students. Outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and praise and worship, this camp is sure to offer something for everyone. They have Mass once a week and their programs are catered to the needs or your child’s particular age group.


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Catholic summer events are a great way to encourage your child to live their faith over the summer months. What events will your family be participating in? Did we miss any? Leave a comment to join in the discussion

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

2 Responses

  1. claire.clemens@gmail.com'
    | Reply

    One more to include: Catholic Youth Expeditions, which offers retreat expeditions in Bailey’s Harbor, WI. Check it out! http://cyexpeditions.org/

    • R Langr
      | Reply

      Of course! I forgot about that one. CYE is a great experience. I know a priest who worked for them while still a seminarian.

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