St. John's Summer Program
“Thanks so much for the incredible camp experience for my daughter. It was hands down, the best camp experience I have had for my kids in my 13 years of camps."
“Fun Math has re-engaged my son’s enthusiasm for math; what a great way to start the school year. Thank you!"
“Best camp ever – Well Done! This was our 1st year & I was impressed!"
“My daughter enjoyed every day of summer camp. She loved all of the teachers and projects. In all of her years of daycare, I’ve never met such a great staff."
“Our Parish was so alive with worship & activity."
“Great Camp! Gets better every year. The “kids” who run the camp are a stellar group of young people. Thank you for taking such great care of my kids!"
"Integrating Catholicism within the Program was great!"
"Everything is super organized and the staff rocks!!"
"I like how the religious aspect was intertwined within the camp."
"All of the Summer Program workers seemed to have fun which always makes children have fun."
"The counselors did a great job with the kids. It felt like a safe & fun environment."
"Teen staff was fabulous – hard-workers, polite, responsible, kind to kids."
& Lay Leaders -
"I've never met such passionate, faithful young people as the students staffing St. John's day camp, and it's because of their involvement in the program. I honestly think this camp is in the business of making young saints--which is, after all, the whole point of the Church. And when your counselors are getting serious about prayer and study, it draws the campers in too, building Catholic community like I've never seen before."
- Meg Hunter-Kilmer, blogger and speaker
"After visiting St. John’s Summer Program, I am convinced that they have found the winning recipe for a Catholic summer camp. With daily Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, intellectual and theological formation, and plenty of opportunities to have fun and build friendships, the Program gives instructors a chance to structure their summer around God. They are placed firmly in the lives of young children as faithful role models who demonstrate a love for Christ. As a priest I have personally witnessed the impact that such a summer can have on these young adults in their lives of faith and in their vocational discernment. God has bestowed many blessings to organizers, instructors, and children through this program at St. John’s, so I’m delighted to hear that other parishes are considering opening similar camps!"
- Fr. Carter Griffin, Vice-Rector Vocation Director,
Blessed John Paul II Seminary
Archdiocese of Washington
"Summer Program is an experience that changed my life. As a high school student without much interest in the Faith, I found new meaning through Mass, Adoration, and through giving my time to take care of kids. Summer program is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and no one I know finished the summer as the same person. Everyone, from ages 4 to 22, had their faith strengthened by participating in this great program."
- Joe Heisey (2012, '13, '14)
"In today's society, a high school/college young adult would not think it possible to create lasting friendships with those whom are firmly grounded in their faith. With the summer program I was able to do just that. Working at SJSP has been one of the best decisions of my life, my peers challenged me to learn my faith and keep Christ constantly at the center. I have seen my prayer life grow immensely, developing a love for the sacrament of confession and Holy Eucharist With this foundation, I found a new home. A new home in my faith, and at St. John's. The comforting atmosphere gave us the opportunity to spend time on our knees in prayer as a camp community, instead of caving into worldly temptations. The togetherness, friendships and family aspect of the program is one that will remain with me far beyond my years at the camp. I would recommend launching this program countrywide to any parish, because the fruits of the camp not only impact the children whom we are mentoring, but the parish, clergy, administrators, and most importantly the counselors."
- Steph Dameron (2011, '12, '13, '14, 15)
"Before working at St. John's, I had totally fallen away from my Catholic faith. To this day I can't say why I accepted the offer to work at the Summer program, but I can say that God will never be outdone in generosity. The 8 weeks I worked there brought me firmly back into the Catholic faith. I was surrounded by friends who truly cared about me and my spiritual health, excellent sources of theology, and supreme models of Catholic virtue. The Summer Program brought me back to God, and gave me a spark of faith that I will cherish for the rest of my life."
- James Kachman (2013, '14)
"In my years at Summer Program, I have grown immensely on both a spiritual level and a personal level. I've gained the confidence and leadership skills that come from teaching in a classroom and directing camp-wide projects. More importantly, however, I have come to experience the joy of living a life centered on Christ, dedicated to evangelization, and fueled by prayer. It has been a huge blessing in my life!"
- Maryrose Depperschmidt (2011, '12, '13, '14, '15)
"When I was first approached about working at St. John's Summer Program I fell in love with the idea of helping these children, I would have never guessed how much this program would change my life. Spending my days helping others, learning about my faith, and going to Daily Mass and Adoration truly helped me to grow and become the person I am today. I now have an even stronger relationship with God, and am able to, with God's help, work on becoming the best version of myself in order to help others be led to God."
- Elise Carney (2013, '14, '15)
"The Catholic Summer Program at St. John's Francis Regis has been an amazing experience. It was great getting to work with all the kids, and trying to make it an excellent experience for them. However, I found my greatest rewards from the program in the spiritual life. With the strong combination of daily mass, daily adoration, and a great community, I quite believe that I did reach new spiritual high points in my life as I never had before. These were not just the kind of emotional feeling moments one might get, great as they are, but more importantly, times of gaining in obedience to the will of God, and of developing a stronger love of him."
- Fr. Kyle Vance (2013, '14, '16)
"Outside of Mass, I've never seen God so present in a place like Summer Program. Having such a strong community of people all oriented towards Christ has this way of changing people like nothing else. The friendships you form and the relationship you develop with God take you further into your faith than you realize is possible. Summer Program teaches you what it means to be Catholic as you learn to surrender your life to God. It's experiences like these where you encounter God and then move on to change the world without even realizing it. The love you experience becomes something you desire to share with everyone, everywhere."
- Emily Bailey (2013, '14, '15)
"I cannot completely express the goodness and holiness that is St. John’s Summer Program (SJSP). Grace simply overflows in the campers, counselors and families that take part in SJSP. I have had the honor to serve as an administrator and Assistant Director at SJSP. These positions have allowed me to see the beautiful relationships that form over the summer between both campers and counselors. The best part of these relationships is that they are completely based in the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. My favorite parts of the day at SJSP were sitting in the pews at St. John’s and witnessing to the multitude of children that sat with their counselors during Mass or Eucharistic Adoration and learned how to spend time with God in the process. These times made me realize the family and Body of Christ that exists and continues to flourish at St. John’s, because of the simple faith and joy that children possess.
Looking back on my experiences at St. John’s, there is no limit to the graces that exist in this Body of Christ. Relationships amongst campers, between counselor and camper, counselor and family, and amongst counselors themselves—are all rooted in Christ’s love. These relationships go beyond the standard secular understanding of friendship that have a foreseeable end in the future—and reach into the timeless and unconditional love of God. When I was down, a camper tugging my hand so that she could go to confession and speak to Fr. Ray (on the daily) never failed to bring me hope and consolation. The faith of others at SJSP, of campers and counselors and families, has increased my own faith and nourished it each summer I worked at SJSP. I can very honestly say that SJSP is the only reason I am a practicing Catholic youth today, and the reason I firmly intend and truly hope to remain a practicing Catholic and child of God for the rest of my life.
Similarly, as an involved member in the Catholic community of St. Mary’s County, I can see the fruits of SJSP in the youth population in St. Mary’s as a whole. Connections between youth ages 4-25 in St. Mary’s provide an incredible positive influence and extensive support network for all that take part. It’s incredible to me that so many youth have been connected through SJSP and with such strong affection and singular, unified desire for holiness."
- Lizzie Schachterle (2013, '14, '15)