by Scott Scherer
Back when I was in high school, which wasn’t exactly forever ago, the only kids who traveled abroad were the language club students. It made sense. They went to France, Germany, or Spain to put all those hours of language study to practical use and to experience the country’s culture.
Fast forward a few decades (or so), and the picture changes dramatically. As the global community has awakened and the international community has become more intimate, more and more kids are taking summer and spring break trips overseas to explore and expand their schoolhouse education outside of its brick and mortar walls.
For Catholic High School students, it’s a little different. The Catholic faith perspective imbues so much of what is learned inside the school’s walls. When we talk to group leaders and high school students who have traveled abroad, they describe experiencing a sort of disconnect on those educational tours to Europe and the Holy Land. Something is missing. And that something is their faith.
If the Catholic faith informs what is learned within the walls, shouldn’t it also be a part of the kids’ education in school programs outside of those walls, too?
We have been operating pilgrimages for youth groups for years. Recently we’ve seen an increase in the number of requests from Catholic high schools that want their school trips to include sensitivity to their Catholic world. We get that.
Our years of experience have informed our approach to making Catholic youth travel to Europe and the Holy Land not only educational, cultural, and fun, but inspirational, as well. And that makes all the difference.
Scott Scherer is president of Catholic Travel Centre, which provides customized pilgrimages for more than 400 Catholic organizations across the United States.