The Experience Christendom Summer Program is in the middle of celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, with three sessions already complete. The program, which is the most popular, well-attended, and highly ranked pre-college program of its kind, continues to fill its week-long sessions, as students rush to find out why it has the reputation of being the “best week ever.”

Students are learning from Christendom faculty in the classroom.

“That the program is even more acclaimed than ever, twenty years later, is a testament to all those involved with it, from its inception to its present state,” says director of admissions Sam Phillips. “Even though it’s just a week long, it’s remarkable to see the tremendous impact that the program has on students’ lives. For many of them, this is their first real exposure to a culture that is authentically Catholic, from the education to the extracurricular activities. It’s a joy and privilege to be a part of it, and we can’t wait to meet the rest of the students coming this summer.”

The program, which was launched in the summer of 1999, welcomes high-school students to campus for a week of classes, extracurricular activities, and more. Since its humble beginnings, both the program and the college itself have grown dramatically. What started with just one two week-long session has grown to six one-week sessions each summer, with sessions often selling out months in advance. After setting a new attendance record two years ago, the program broke that record again last summer, welcoming nearly 300 students to campus during June and July.

The extracurriculars are leaving students tired but exhilarated — especially the dances.

“This program continues to draw students from all 50 states, as well as internationally from places like Spain, Argentina, Mexico, China, Ireland, and elsewhere, but what’s even more extraordinary is what the students are saying upon finishing the program,” says vice president for enrollment Tom McFadden, who has been managing the program since 2004. “Consistently, many students conclude that the week spent on our campus was one of the best weeks of their lives, and most would agree that they grew in wisdom, virtue, and their love of the Catholic faith.”

Students have a packed week from the moment they arrive on campus. From the classes, to hiking, to barn dances, to kayaking on the Shenandoah River, they do more in one week than many do in a month. They leave tired, but exhilarated. Mary M. from Roswell, Georgia, agrees wholeheartedly with that statement. Mary had never been to Christendom before and was taken aback by everything the program had to offer.

One of the most popular activities are the debates, where students engage in important and timely topics.

“I went into this camp not really knowing what to expect, but what little expectations I had were exceeded a hundredfold,” says Mary. “The activities were fun and exciting mixed with time for me to think about our Faith. It was truly an experience I won’t forget, and I am truly thankful for the chance to experience Christendom.”

The Experience Christendom Summer Program’s 20th year is far from over, and there are still spots for rising high school senior men in sessions 5 and 6. Register today at christendom.edu/experience.

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