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Catholic Summer Camps for Kids

Updated July 20, 2017

Summer day and boarding camps affiliated with the Catholic Church can reinforce family faith through mentoring and peer relationships while providing fun activities that build independence, confidence and community. Camps are varied in their approach to faith instruction and activities offered, so be sure to talk to folks at your diocese or parish to see which camps might be the best fit for your family.

Day Camps

Your local parish or parochial school may offer a day camp, usually on campus. Parish membership or school enrolment is not normally required for participation. St. John's Jesuit High School and Academy in Ohio and Santa Catalina School in California support art, dance and adventure programs for area kids. The St. Louis de Montfort Academy for Boys in Pennsylvania co-sponsors a "Call to Chivalry" weekend camp each year. Universities such as Benedictine University in Illinois and Dominican University in California run sports camps, day camps or camps for gifted students.

Diocesan Camps

Many dioceses run traditional, outdoor boarding summer camps. The Diocese of Wichita sponsors a camp in Lyons, Kansas run by teens from the Totus Tuus movement, where children attend Mass and are offered the Sacrament of Confession and the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration between outdoors outings and adventures.

Camp Gray is run by the Diocese of Madison, Camp Guggenheim in the Adirondacks of New York by the Diocese of Ogdensburg, Camp Turner by the Diocese of Buffalo. Lourdes Camp has been offered summer fun for 89 years, and is sponsored by the Diocese of Syracuse.

Religious Orders

Many summer camps are run by or follow the tradition of specific religious orders within the Catholic Church. Camp Ekon is a Jesuit camp that features lake activities in Toronto, Ontario. Camp Subiaco in Arkansas is supported by the Benedictine Abbey there; Camp St. Charles in Maryland follows the tradition of the Salvatorians in Newburg. The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in Wisconsin offer WeHaKee Camp for girls.

Societies

Groups within the Church also sponsor summer boarding camps. FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, runs Camp Wojtyla in the Colorado Rockies. Circle V Ranch Camp in the Los Padres National Forest is run by the St. Vincent de Paul Society and serves low income families. Regnum Christi and the Legionairies of Christ runs a large network of camps connected to their Challenge and Conquest clubs. These camps are designed to build character and support faith through outdoor activities.

Private Camps

Regional camps, such as The Pines in Texas and Camp Santa Maria in Michigan, are privately run by owners that promote a Catholic point of view. Bear Tooth Mountain Ascent, in Wyoming, is a working ranch that uses Catholic principles to help young men overcome substance abuse problems.

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About the Author

Marie Powell was first published professionally in a 1993 edition of "Kalliope" and has contributed to "The Palisade Tribune," "Western Colorado Parent," "Partners to Improve Education," "The Complete Book of Yuma Heat," "Farm and Ranch Living" and the travel section of "The Chicago Tribune." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.