The Spirit of America Experience

The students’ experience is filled with inspiring and educational activities, including a mock congressional debate, free enterprise challenge, workshops, and historical site visits while developing their leadership skills and identifying their future contributions to society. Students live on campus throughout the duration of the program and create new lasting friendships with peers from across the country.

For questions or more information, please contact us at spiritofamerica@ffvf.org

Spirit of America Program Sessions

2022 Program Sessions

2023 Program Sessions

To sign up, please click on a date above to complete the registration process.

To prepare for your trip, download the Spirit of America PDF below.

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Make a selection below to find more information about Spirit of America.

What to Expect

Students will enjoy four days of focused, compelling educational experiences that will transform their understanding and appreciation of America’s history and its promising future. They will grow close to the other students from across the country, improve their civil discourse, strengthen their leadership skills, and establish long-lasting friendships with their peers. Students leave inspired to do their part in securing the liberties that only an active citizenry can safeguard in their communities, guided by a greater appreciation for our history, ideals, and the relevance of our country’s founding documents.

Please note the following is a sample schedule subject to change:

Have questions about the schedule or want a brochure? Contact us today at spiritofamerica@ffvf.org.

THURSDAY: 

Registration

Dinner & Welcome

Orientation & Introductions

Icebreakers

FRIDAY:

Breakfast

Living History Presentation

Freedom Summit Lecture & Debate

Lunch

Mock Congress

Small-Group Meetings

Dinner

Leadership Workshops

Swap Meet

SATURDAY:

Breakfast

Free Enterprise Keynote 

Lunch

Tour of Valley Forge

Banquet

Keynote Address

Signer’s Ceremony

SUNDAY:

Flag Ceremony

Breakfast

Tour of Philadelphia

Depart for Home

Spirit of America Program Activities:

Freedom Summit

Freedom Summit is a mock congressional forum where students learn to debate and find the balance between liberty and security. In this session, the students revise a bill of choice after a guided discussion of constitutional amendments and relevant legal cases on freedom and safety by an expert constitutional scholar.

Students working on a computer in room

Free Enterprise

The Free Enterprise Challenge provides an entertaining and stimulating way for students to learn about the American free enterprise system. Students receive a primer on entrepreneurship and work as a team to develop a product pitch presented to a panel of judges. Students will learn the value of collaborative creativity as they demonstrate their product’s feasibility, utility, and marketability.

Large Group of students discussing in room with Freedoms Foundation

Medal of Honor Character Development

This segment teaches students about the six characteristics of the Medal of Honor – courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship, and patriotism – and actively identify how to apply those thoughts and principles to their own lives.

Medals of Honor in wooden and glass cases.

Five Pillars of Civic Responsibility 

The Five Pillars of Civic Responsibility gives students a comprehensive understanding of Freedoms Foundation’s Bill of Responsibilities. Through creating a community-based service project, they will demonstrate our five pillars: respect, participation, accountability, productivity, and generosity.

student sitting down reading book pillars of responsibility

The Signers Ceremony

The Signers Ceremony is an exhilarating experience as the ghost of founding father James Wilson helps students understand the sacrifices made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Students consider, for the first time, that to sign the document in 1776 was to commit an act of treason.

Student signing paper Declaration of Independence in signer's ceremony

Living History

Living history actor-historians from American Historical Theatre allow students to learn from and interact with some of the most significant figures in American History. Characters such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams step out of the history books and into the room, helping students understand that great people were still people with personal motivations, problems, fears, and triumphs.

Historic Sites

Valley Forge

The Valley Forge National Historical Park visit allows students to walk across the hallowed grounds of George Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge. Accompanied by expert guides, students are presented with the challenges of the notable volunteers who sacrificed so much to forge the United States. During their time, they visit the encampment, the National Memorial Arch, Wayne’s Woods, the statue of “Mad” Anthony Wayne, Mount Misery and Mount Joy, the statue of Baron von Steuben and the Grand Parade Ground, the George Washington Memorial Chapel, and Washington’s Headquarters.

Philadelphia

This ultimate walk through the streets of history leaves students with a profound understanding of the birthplace of America.  Students receive a ranger-led tour of Independence Hall and stand in the room where our country’s founders adopted the Declaration of Independence and constructed the U.S. Constitution. The guided experience of Philadelphia explores additional historical sites such as the Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley, and Ben Franklin’s grave.

Available Scholarships

Greater Philadelphia Area

Sophomore students who attend Philadelphia-area Catholic high schools are eligible for full Spirit of America Youth Leadership scholarships, courtesy of the Connelly Foundation.

Additional Opportunities

Additional scholarships are available to students who do not necessarily meet the criteria above. If you are interested in a scholarship, or if you would like to pay directly to attend a program, please contact us at spiritofamerica@ffvf.org.

What students are saying about our program

I met so many wonderful people who have changed my life for the better. I learned many empowering things about my country that I never would have known. I feel infinitely more prepared to be an educated citizen and voter than I was prior to my trip.

– Emma

I have had a hard time connecting with people and getting to know them. This program has helped build a new foundation and given me the strength to go meet new people and build a community for everyone.

– Brice

In my time at Freedoms Foundation, I have met the kindest and friendliest people. I have learned about civic engagement, leadership, democracy, and free enterprise from the most inspirational, knowledgeable, and well-spoken experts. I cannot overstate the impact these four days have had on my life.

– Evan

This experience taught me that even the smallest voice can make a difference, it taught me to better appreciate those who fought and died for our country, but most of all it rekindled my love for this country’s history and greatly inspired me to learn more so I may become an even better citizen.

– Rebecca

FAQ

Cost

What is the cost and what is included?

Students participating in Spirit of America are eligible for full scholarships provided by our partners. Students should apply for a program, or contact us, and scholarship opportunities will be discussed with the student. 

Direct payment is also available for students who do not qualify for scholarships. 

Please email us for further details about the cost of your specific program.

Campus

What are the sleeping arrangements?

Freedoms Foundation’s campus has three dormitory buildings. Rooms can sleep two, three, four, or five students, and all rooms have either a private bathroom or a jack & jill bathroom. Bedding, pillows, and towels are included.

Can the building accommodate my needs?

Though the campus was built in the 1960s and 70s, every building has a ramp entrance, and we have rooms that can accommodate various needs. Our tour buses have handicap and wheelchair entrances. Some historical sites may not be ADA accessible.

General

What should students pack?

We suggest the following: comfortable clothes; one pair of walking shoes; weather-appropriate gear; dress/formal outfit for presentation and banquet; charge cord for phone; necessary medications; and spending money.

Will students have free time?

Students’ experience will be filled with exciting content balanced with free time with your peers. Our campus includes an indoor game room, outdoor basketball, and volleyball courts, and plenty of open space for pickup games.

Does Freedoms Foundation have wifi?

We offer free wifi to our program attendees.

How much is physical activity involved?

There is a moderate amount of walking on our campus and at historic sites.

How much money should students bring?

Since this is an all-inclusive journey, there are only two real reasons for students to bring money: souvenirs and snacks. Everything else, including all meals, is included.

What about class time missed?

Travel is a great learning experience, especially when you travel with Freedoms Foundation. This is not a vacation but an educational experience. Participants will visit one-of-a-kind historical locations and learn about thinkers, inventors, artists, scientists, and politicians who accomplished great things while also gaining insight into how people lived their day-to-day lives.

What if students miss games and practice?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity, and as such, we ask parents and students to weigh it next to other commitments like sports and work. If possible, it is always helpful when the school administration alerts coaches of impending class travel, giving them adequate time to adjust schedules.

What are your cancellation and refund policies?

Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge reserves the right to cancel a program due to weather emergency, low attendance, or other unforeseen circumstances beyond our control. Should Freedoms Foundation cancel a program, full refunds will be made to all clients by the method the client originally paid. Please allow up to 30 days for refunds to be processed.

We strongly recommend travel insurance to protect your investment.

Cancellations made by the client must be received in writing and either emailed (education@ffvf.org), faxed 610.935.0522, or mail (PO Box 67, Valley Forge, PA 19481).

Cancellations made prior to 30 days before the start of a program will receive a full refund less the non-refundable deposit (variable by program) and any non-refundable expenses. Refunds will be issued in the same form payment was made. Please allow 30 days for refunds to be processed.

Cancellations made 30 days or less before the start of a program are subject to a Freedoms Foundation credit less the deposit and any non-refundable expenses (such as tickets or meals) which cannot be refunded, credited, or transferred.

Cancellations made less than 48 business hours before departure will receive no refund, credit, or transfer.

Donate Today

Supporting America’s first principles of freedom is essential to ensure future generations understand and cherish the blessings of liberty. With your donation, we will reach even more young people with the truth of America’s unique past, its promising future, and the liberty for which it stands. Help us prepare the next generation of leaders.