Quotes from students who attended
Experience Christendom Summer Programs
Testimonies from past "Experience Christendom" Summer Programs
I came to the Experience Christendom Summer Program ready to have a pretty good time. From what I’d heard, it was going to be an amazing week, and would be a blast for all concerned. But what the week actually was, I was not expecting at all! As stated above, I was prepared for a pretty good time, but what I actually experienced shattered all my expectations and I had an unbelievably good time that went straight through the roof in fun, excitement, and most importantly, the Catholic Faith. The week was a true life-changer for me.
While there, I was told that, if I had a problem with the camp counselors, to speak directly to Mr. McFadden, the admissions director for Christendom College. I came pretty close to going up to him and saying, “Excuse me, Mr. McFadden, I have a problem with the counselors. They’re just too awesome, and I can’t keep up at all!” My amazing week was due, more than any single thing, to the efforts of the counselors to make it the best experience of my life.
Most important was the program’s emphasis on the Christendom College slogan: “Breathe Catholic.” This was more than just a catchphrase for the week; this was something that the folks in charge wanted to make you feel. There was Liturgy of the Hours every morning, Mass every day, prayers before and after each class. If there was an event somewhere off campus, we loaded into vans and hit the road, but only after prayers for safe travel to our destination. On the way back, after a fun-filled evening, travel prayers for a safe journey back to campus. Once you got back, you sang the Salve Regina with the rest of the group before you returned to the dorms, your lungs filled with plenty of Catholic.
One of my favorite parts of the week was the classes that we attended with the Christendom professors. I especially enjoyed the philosophy class. It was one of my first experiences with philosophy taught by a genius philosopher, and I loved it. The classes were not only informative and interesting, but also entertaining and fun. If it was an authentic taste of real classes at Christendom and a liberal arts education, I’m hooked. Before, I never understood why people hit the ceiling when they got accepted to the college of their dreams. It’s just 4+ more years of school. But at Christendom, I got a paradigm shift. If I could get accepted there, I’d hit the ceiling with the best of them. I cannot recommend this program enough. AJ O., - NC - Summer 2013
I knew before actually attending the Experience Christendom Program that it would be a lot of fun from what I had heard and read about, but I can honestly say every good word written about this program is a serious understatement. This program was not only a great week full of fun and games, but also an amazing way to meet other teens who strive to make their Catholic faith stronger. There was not a single thing I would change! I enjoyed all the classes, professors, and counselors. I am so thankful I was able to have this experience and I highly encourage anyone who is thinking about going to go with an open mind and spirit. You wont regret it! - Cecilia T., VA - Summer 2013
The Experience Christendom Summer Program was AMAZING! While talking to my friends back home afterwards, I got teased for using that word so much, but it describes the experience perfectly! The classes and professors were awesome, my fellow campers and the counselors were wonderful people, the food was good (very important, that), and most of all, everything was as Catholic as advertised. To have Mass and Benediction right in the middle of the day was amazing. We prayed at all the activities, and the whole week had a Catholic atmosphere. I never knew dancing and swimming could be so Catholic! "Breathe Catholic" is not just a slogan, it's a fact! Everything, even public speaking at the debate, was very fun! I made a bunch of amazing new friends I'll probably never see again (unless we all come to Christendom), but will remember for the rest of my life. Parents, I encourage you to make your reluctant kids come! Neither they nor you will regret it! - Joe W., IN -Summer 2013
After returning home from the Christendom summer camp last year, I started counting down the days until I could come back. My second time around was just as incredible as the first. Having Daily Mass and Adoration was such a blessing, and being able to walk to church at any time of the day to sit in the Lord's Presence was a comfort that I miss. Through the regularity of the Sacraments and the outstanding classes, I learned much about myself and God's plan for me, thus helping me to embrace more fully that which He has called me to do for Him. It was so nice to spend a week with a group of Catholic teenagers in such a wholesome environment. The counselors and Admissions Staff did a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcomed and at home. They would sit with us at lunch, listen to our conversations, and try to learn more about us, truly putting all of us at ease. While I was there, I could feel my mind and soul expanding in a way that made me want more, which is why my desire to attend Christendom College became even greater (if it was indeed possible for it to become greater than it already was) after this year's ECSP. Thank you to everyone who made it possible, and thanks be to God for creating such a beautiful haven for young, Catholic souls seeking to grow in Him! - Abigail R., NC - Summer 2012
I will never forget the experience I had at the Christendom College summer program! As someone who already had a sibling graduate from this college, I was very familiar with the campus. However, the summer program was an opportunity to experience Christendom for myself, as a prospective student, and determine if it was the right school for me. The summer program far exceeded all my expectations! The classes were absolutely riveting and the teachers were amazing! The week was full of activities including: bowling, hiking, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, a debate, and swing dancing! We were able to attend daily Mass, confession, and adoration! I made memories and friends that I will treasure forever. I highly encourage anyone interested in learning what Christendom is really like to take this wonderful opportunity to find out for themselves. Attend ECSP! You won’t regret it! - Peggy D., CT - Summer 2013
The Experience Christendom Summer Program was amazing. I was a bit nervous and excited about the whole program. I thought it was going to be interesting but also looking at the schedule perhaps a bit boring. I was utterly wrong! On the contrary there was no time to even consider boredom. From the moment you wake the day is packed with fun and new thrilling things to learn and do! The professors and classes were most instructive and invigorating. The counselors were really thoughtful and incredibly entertaining but most of all the other teens were really amazing. There was a sense of community and relaxation between all of us. There was no peer pressure, on the other hand it was wholly enjoyable! I say if you have the chance to attend, go for it! I look back and wish I could do it again. It will be a fun filled week and if you have an open mind and heart there is no doubt that you will enjoy yourself so much more than you originally thought you would. I know because I speak of experience! It was honestly the best and happiest week of my life. I met some incredible people and formed hopefully eternal friendships! I know that I will never forget the Summer Program! - Haley Ambreit-Quepons, TX - Summer 2013
Three years ago, my sister went to the ECSP and came back saying how it was the best week of her life. I knew it would be really, really fun, but I figured that there are a lot of weeks in a lifetime, so I wasn't sure whether it would be THE best week. Now that I have come back from it, I think that maybe it was! Every day, we had classes that left me with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for English, History, Philosophy, and Theology. The professors knew their audience, and made it really interesting. Mass, which was said every day, was extremely reverent. Four times during the week, we had dances--swing dance and contra dance. The counsellors did a great job dancing with any girl who wanted to dance but didn't have a partner. One thing that surprised me was how easy it was for a quiet, shy person like me to make such good friends so quickly. I would recommend this camp to anyone who is interested in Christendom College, any Catholic college, or just having fun in a good Catholic way. In fact, immediately after arriving home from ECSP, I started advertising it to all of my friends who will be eligible to go any time soon. - Kylie F., VA - Summer 2013
I had been told by every single one of my friends who had attended ECSP of how this program had positively affected their lives. They all said how the experience was one they'd never forget. Well, coming in to the program I was pretty sure the week would be a good one. What I didn't know was that it was going to be the best week of my life! As a math/science guy I thought I'd enjoy all off the extracurricular activities, and the classes would be an extended sleeping period. How wrong I was! The classes are amazing! Each of the teachers engages the whole class. They teach you how to use your brain while growing in knowledge of the liberal arts. If this isn't reception of a good education, then I don't know what is! Then there were the events. There was dances, a hike, river run, debate, talent show, Daily Mass, Adoration and Benediction, and much more! At the camp, they teach you what it is to be Catholic. By going to camp, you can discover the joy and true happiness contained in a Catholic environment. Lastly, I'd have to say ECSP is a great opportunity to make new friends! I've been to lots of different camps in my life, but none like this. In my program session, there were 42 high school aged kids and 8 wonderful counselors. In this tight atmosphere, everyone interacts with another, and by the end of the week, it feels as if you've been friends with everyone a lot longer than one week! Whether you come to the program expecting to have a great time or not, I can say this, you will. - Andrew H., VA. - Summer 2013
"Thank you God for letting me go to ESCP!" That's what I have been saying since I got back from Christendom. Christendom was so amazing! My mom suggested it to me and I really did not want to go. I mean, come on, going to a Catholic college for a week was not really my idea of a fun time. I thought it would be filled with a bunch of religious fanatics who only wanted to pray and teach me things I did not want to know. I have never been so wrong in my life. Almost as soon as I arrived, I was amazed. I loved all the classes, especially my history and philosophy classes. My professors were very wise and good at teaching. I also met some really awesome people there, and made great friends. Thanks to everyone, especially Mr. McFadden, the counselors and the sponsors. God bless you all! - Patrick M., FL - Summer 2013
Before I came, I honestly have to admit I wasn’t too excited. I had visited other Catholic colleges before and nothing really stood out for me. Coming to Christendom was a totally new experience, though! I met people who were genuinely nice and serious about their Catholic Faith. For me, it was a breath of fresh air to meet normal people living normal lives who actually wanted to be good Catholics! I also really enjoyed the classes and liked the way the teachers engaged the students. I had so much fun between canoeing, dancing, swimming, and just hanging out with everyone! I especially loved the availability of Mass and Adoration. At Christendom, it’s so easy to grow in your Faith and become closer to Christ, it’s just the norm! To anyone considering going to the Experience Christendom Summer Camp, I would definitely encourage you to check it out! I can personally say that because I went, I changed from not very excited to totally loving the people, the classes, and the campus! I am now seriously considering going to Christendom for college and know that if I never went to the summer camp, I wouldn’t have experienced the incredible blessings it has to offer. - Olivia M., NY - Summer 2012
As I came to Christendom's Summer Program this year, I must admit I had my doubts. I had already been there and done that last year, right? Who goes to the same camp two years in a row? Won't it be, well, boring? That thought lasted for less than ten minutes. Everything I had enjoyed my junior year was now doubly enjoyable coming back. The daily Mass, Adoration, classes, the sports, the dances, the hike. So I had to think about what was really extraordinary about such a camp. It was and is consistently powerful. We went and experienced a week at Christendom, dress code and all, but it was more than that. The words "Christendom Camp" are misleading: nobody is pressured into joining Christendom. We were given the opportunity to see what a "Catholic liberal arts education" is, and it is truly wonderful. What did I take away from this program? Lasting friends. Spiritual and mental refreshment. A week's worth of happy memories. Most of all, a deeper knowledge of what it means to be practically Catholic, today, in whatever you are doing. In short, I got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience twice. No matter where you end up in your life, it will make you a better person. Thanks to Mr. McFadden, the professors, the counselors, and all the participants of the past two camps for a great week that was more helpful, fun, exciting, inspirational, spiritual and educational than any other time of my life. To those reading this: if even one of those adjectives seem like something you want to find out more about, sign up. I promise you won't regret it." -John M., PA - Summer 2013
The Experience Christendom Summer Program is nothing less than an incredible blessing. Upon hearing that I was going to attend the program I was a bit nervous. I also had mixed feelings about the program. I was excited because it might turn out to be fun, maybe I could make a few friends and the classes sounded interesting. I was nervous because I knew very few people who were attending and I did not know how to swing dance. What if I couldn’t even understand a word that the teachers taught? The funny thing was that it always seemed like the good qualities overruled the bad. God knew that I should go; that I needed to go.
As I drove into campus I fell in love with its beauty, its aura of spirituality, its community and its people. I felt at home first thing. A few minutes on campus and I wasn’t nervous, but incredibly excited. Instead of making a few friends I made friends with everybody (including the counselors). The classes were absolutely enthralling and understandable while dancing was unbelievably fun! The counselors were very entertaining! They were the most welcoming, humorous, compassionate, kind and patient people. I enjoyed them immensely. Every aspect of the program was memorable. I made tons of amazing friends, memories and a stronger relationship with God. I hope and pray that I will be able to attend Christendom College when I graduate, but even if I do not, this college will always have a special place in my heart and in my prayers.
God wanted me to attend this summer program for many reasons. However, one very important reason may have been to convince you to try out the Experience Christendom Summer Program. Do not look at the program as a chore, or as a punishment, but give it a chance, for it truly was a blessed gift for me. I promise that you will not be disappointed! Go make some great memories! - Christa W., PA - Summer 2013
My experience at Christendom is one that I will never forget. I loved every aspect of the camp; the great people I met, the great classes that were held, the dances, the various activities we did, and best of all, daily Mass, Adoration, Confession, Rosary, and Benediction. A more Catholic environment does not exist anywhere in world….. except maybe the Vatican. I will admit that I was nervous at the thought of spending a week in some strange place with people from around the country I never new existed. But within 5 minutes of being there, I no longer felt like a stranger. The very warm welcome from the counselors really helped me feel at home and it didn’t take very long to become acquainted with my roommates. The activities that we did were all a lot of fun and the classes really gave some insight as to what class at the college level is like. I would truly recommend this program to anyone who is considering Christendom as a college choice. It really is a life changing experience as it not only affects one’s social and academic life, but also one’s spiritual life. As I mentioned earlier, Christendom provides a Catholic environment like no other. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to visit Christendom and I hope that I will be privileged enough to be able to receive my post-secondary education at Christendom. Thanks to all of the counselors, teachers, and organizers for making this the unforgettable experience that it was and is! - William S., PA - Summer 2012
I had heard about this program a year before I went to it. I had several friends who came back and raved about how great it was. My parents, more than once, said it would be a good experience. But I was not extremely motivated to go. Why would I want to come here? I had been to the campus before, since I live in the are,a and I was also a rising Junior among mostly rising seniors. I felt no particular need to come. After a week of canoeing, dancing, formal debate, performances, amazing classes, amazing people, rich spiritual Catholic life, and so many other great things, I don't see how I was not tearing down walls to come. I could write a two page essay about each event and how great of an experience it was (and I'm not just saying that), but there were 3 things that I took away from this camp at the end.
First, although I go to Mass every Sunday, I have not gone to daily Mass on a regular basis nor have I had a regular adoration hour. ECSP had both of these things and I never really realized what I was missing in the daily reception of Christ in the Eucharist at the Mass. It is something I wish to continue now after having returned. I did have some experience in swing dancing, waltz, and some other dances before coming, but I was not very good. The counselors here at ECSP, among other things, are phenomenal at dancing. Not only did I learn and fully master many swing dance moves, but I also learned a completely new style of dancing, namely contra. Third, I have one complaint about ECSP: I made 42 new friends in one week and now they are all gone. In one week, more than 40 high-school students led by 8 college students became like family. I have never seen that kind of bonding in so little a time period by so many people and I would number some of them among my best friends now. I cannot say as a Christendom student whether the camp is a true representation of Christendom life, but there are 8 wonderful counselors there who can. Christendom is definitely number one on my list right now. There is so much more I could say about how amazing this program is, but I will leave that for you to decide. I enjoyed ever minute of it, and I'll put my money on it that you will too. -John Paul J., VA - Summer 2013
I'm not sure what you think about when you think about Christendom College. I know what a lot of people thought before they went to the College Summer Program. Most were forced by their parents, and thought it would be boring, and full of goody-goody teenagers running around thinking "look at me, look at how Christian I am with my rosary and my unfashionable modest clothes!" I also know what everybody thought after going to the camp. They thought, "I didn't know it would be like THAT. Everyone was really nice, and funny, and friendly. Everybody actually got to know everybody. Nobody was too cool to have fun. I didn't know dancing could be that fun. I didn't know modest clothes could be that cute. I didn't know I could laugh that much. I didn't know that the friends I made there would be so important to me after only a week. I didn't know that classes could actually be interesting and FUNNY. I had one of the best times of my life." These are people who didn't want go, and were forced to go. Every single person who went to camp with me had an amazing time. I certainly had one of the best times of my life. I read all of the testimonies before I went on my trip and thought, "yeah, right. I'm sure it will be fun, but I don't make good friends that easy. I'll have a good time, but I doubt I'll get to know anybody that well." That trip I made a friend that I hope will be around for the rest of my life. A real, true friend. Everybody did. I would be willing to bet a lot that you will too. -Grace B., VA - Summer 2013
My parents did not "force" me to go to ECSP: I was the one who suggested it! Yet walking in on that first day, I was terrified. I didn't know a single soul and my family would be hours away in the case of an emergency. However, my mind was quickly put at ease. I made fast friends with practically everyone in my session as we bonded through fun activities and classes. Most importantly, we all drew closer to Christ through the Eucharist and well as prayer, which brought all of us closer in turn. I have been to various Catholic-run camps in the past, but the programs aren't always as strong as Christendom's. There was no complaining about Mass or confession or rosary --- not even class! In fact, we were all sad when classes were over! I can't thank the counselors and professors enough, as they really made all of us feel right at home. The Experience Christendom Summer Program exceeded my expecations, and I came expecting a lot! I would encourage anyone and everyone to come. - Monica B., PA - Summer 2012
The Experience Christendom Summer Program is something that I shall never forget. I personally found it to be one of the best weeks of my life. There are many reasons why one should consider attending this program. One of the greatest aspects of this program is the classes. The classes helped me to increase in knowledge, and it was easy to participate in the class discussions. The teachers were great and interacted extremely well with the students. Another great aspect is the counselors. They were always interested in what every student was doing. They made the program very entertaining, so that it would not have been the same without them. One of the things I really liked about this program was the modest dress code. For half of the day, you had to be in professional dress. The other half of the day, you did not have to be in professional dress, but there were still restrictions. Because of everyone’s modesty, I felt very comfortable at this program. In addition, the extra-curricular activities every day were very entertaining. There was swimming and kayaking, a debate, a talent show, and three dances. Lastly, the greatest aspect of this program was that it had an authentic, Catholic atmosphere. Christendom’s motto is very true when it says Breathe Catholic. I certainly did Breathe Catholic while I was at this week-long experience, one of the best experiences of my life. - Joshua L., PA - Summer 2013
Honestly, the idea of going to C-Dom for a week, at first didn´t have me too excited. My mind was made up that Christendom was not the college I wanted to go to and there was no way I´d change my mind by going to a weird, crazy Catholic camp. Wrong. After the first day I was already starting to really like it. I made friends I´ll never forget and had a really fun time the whole week. All the activities were awesome and everyday was worth waking up early for! The classes were really interesting and the teachers were very friendly and seemed to really enjoy teaching. And the camp actually brought me closer to my faith in one short week. Turns out wasn´t too crazy or weird at all! And I will definitely consider C-Dom for college. I recommend the program to everyone! You have nothing to lose! - Claire L., VA - Summer 2012
My experience at Christendom was incredible and amazing for so many reasons. The moment I was picked up at the airport by the counselors, I knew I had met some really awesome people who would do everything to make my week-long stay at Christendom absolutely fantastic! By the end of the week, I found that my expectations had not only been fulfilled, but had been far exceeded. I absolutely loved the classes every day, and they were my motivation for waking up early in the morning. The professors were so captivating and inspiring! All the activities were great fun, too. From swing dancing to swimming in the Shenandoah to the debate, everything made me feel so alive and happy! I made many awesome friends who made big impacts on me-- I will never forget them. But by far, the best part, for me, of the entire program was having daily Mass, confession, and adoration. I came home feeling much more alive in my faith. I had already been hoping to attend Christendom College before going to the summer program, but now I am completely set on it. I highly encourage anyone who loves to have fun, loves their faith, and loves awesome people to attend ECSP! You will never regret or forget your experience. - Grace P., NE - Summer 2013
As the child of a Christendom alumna and an almost native of Front Royal I have always looked on Christendom as a sort of already explored fixture that I was not terribly excited about attending. I did expect the Summer Program to be fun. I was totally unprepared for what I found, the ECSP was beyond fun. It was exciting, engaging and a learning experience. We canoed, kayaked, went to three dances, put on a talent show, debated and did everything in between. The teachers were superb, the counselors friendly and welcoming and time literally flew. The counselors being students themselves had a ready supply of stories about various places, things and made us really feel at home and part of it. You had to try not to have fun to miss out and I suspect that even if you tried it wouldn't have worked and you would have had a good time in spite of yourself. I met people from all over the States and surrounding countries who in the space of a week ceased being strangers and became friends. Speaking of friendship, the 50 minute Philosophy class on that subject was the most outstanding lecture I have ever heard in my life. I left this camp not merely planning to come to Christendom but excited to and planning to apply as soon as possible.- Brigid S., VA- Summer 2013
They can't all be wrong, can they?