Summer Projects:  Formation Overview

The Essentials

Summer Projects involves a dynamic, jam-packed weekly schedule with various spiritual, intellectual and social opportunities. Below, we have listed the eight most important elements of Summer Projects formation: 

  1. Students are expected to develop their prayer lives, spending approximately 30 – 60 minutes in silent prayer daily. Summer Projects chaplains, missionaries and student leaders are all available to help students meet this goal.

  2. Sacraments. Every location offers Mass at least once every day on site and also offers regular times for confession and adoration (usually daily). While students may not be able to attend Mass on site every day, the general expectation is that participants should attend Mass 3 – 7 times per week.

  3. Discipleship. Summer Projects students meet with their discipler at least once every week. This is a peer mentor (either a missionary or returning student leader) who will accompany the participant throughout the summer. At FOCUS, we call these mentorship relationships discipleship. At its core, discipleship entails a relationship between two Christians, each committed to spending time together in mutual imitation of Christ. In comparison to the FOCUS campus experience, discipleship within Summer Projects is a bit more structured in that each student should read and discuss at least five of the articles in the discipleship curriculum.

  4. Reading Plan. Each Summer Projects program has a reading plan, usually no more than 250 pages, which is to be read and discussed throughout the summer. (Learn more about the curriculum in the “Intellectual Formation” tab.)

  5. Speaker Series: The Summer Projects speaker series includes required and optional talks, and students are encouraged to attend both. Most speakers will hold office hours prior to their talks; you should take advantage of these as opportunities for individualized intellectual formation. (Learn more about the speaker series in the “Intellectual Formation” tab.)

  6. Spiritual Direction. Spiritual direction is an essential component of the Summer Projects experience. Spiritual direction, at least as defined in the Summer Projects, is a regular, transparent meeting with a spiritual mentor for direction in building virtue and divine intimacy. Every student should make every effort to attend spiritual direction every week, at a minimum once every two weeks. 

  7. Big-Ticket Programming: Summer Projects includes plenty of formal and informal programming. Students should try to participate in both; first-year participants have a responsibility to  participate in the formal programming. This includes (but is not limited to) a discipleship retreat, at least one camping trip and other planned weekly recreational events like white-water rafting and hikes. All Summer Projects programming is intended to form students in the “school of community,” building up one another as friends in Christ.

  8. Bible Study: Every student will attend a Bible study along with other members of their small group (usually 4 – 6 other students).