Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2019-10-22T17:19:34-04:00
HOW DOES CHWC EXPRESS THE CATHOLIC FAITH THROUGHOUT THE WEEK?2019-08-18T17:26:36-04:00
  1. As stated in The Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization (Justice and Service section), CHWC is a lived-out experience that provides young people an opportunity for making the Gospel real. It explains, “The ministry of justice and service is an opportunity for evangelization when our approaches are infused with Scripture and Jesus’ teachings. Immersion experiences, service projects (work camps) and justice education programs present opportunities for youth to see the face of Jesus in the marginalized, oppressed and poor. The challenge for those in youth ministry is to enable young people to bring the Gospel into a transforming dialogue with society and culture”.
  2. Our Catholic identity as Roman Catholic Christians is unique. Young people celebrate their Catholic identity at CHWC. It promotes the signs, symbols, images, stories and rituals that express the Catholic faith.
  3. CHWC encourages young people to have a sense of the larger Catholic Church in our country by giving them opportunities to meet, interact and serve with other young Catholics.
  4. CHWC celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist throughout the week. These sacraments help young people experience grace and become more aware of God’s gift of love and presence. This communal and sacramental dimension of Catholicism makes it easier to understand why we, as a “universal” Catholic Church, believe that following Jesus and participating in service is an integral part of our Catholic faith.
  5. CHWC offers prayer services using Catholic symbols such as holy water, oil, crucifixes and candles. These experiences encourage young people to value these symbols when they return to their own parish and use them as a tool to enhance their prayer life.
  6. CHWC is not limited to general evangelization or foundational Christian principles. CHWC is able to further develop “Catholic Spirituality” by interpreting scriptures and communicating teachings in line with the Roman Catholic Church.
  7. CHWC exposes young people to other Catholic leaders in the Church such as Priests, Lay Ministers, Youth Ministers, Religious Ed Coordinators and adult volunteers, thus planting the seeds for Catholic vocations.
  8. CHWC offers young people and leaders to take pride in the fact that our Catholic denomination sponsors a work camp. (As one youth leader stated, “I am tired of all the other denominations having work camps and am glad to see our Church has something for us to offer our young people”).
  9. CHWC “stirs up” kids in a positive way. They leave excited about service and the Church. In many ways, CHWC is a tool for pre-evangelization and evangelization. Youth leaders can use these experiences to excite young people about service and their Catholic faith. Hopefully, the young person will bring this excitement for service and the Church back to their own youth program. Youth leaders can follow up with their teens back home by nurturing this passion and helping the young person formalize it in a deeper manner. All of this happens within the context of the Catholic Church, thus helping to guarantee the next generation for Christ in the Church.
  10. A work camp that is based on Catholic spirituality increases the chances of consent for participation, support and funding from Pastors, parish councils and parents. The knowledge that a work camp has a Catholic focus eases the minds of many people who have the authority to approve or disapprove young people attending in a week-long work camp.
  11. CHWC gives young people an opportunity to live out some of the aspects listed in Scriptures on service as well as the Corporal Works of Mercy. It also gives young people a better understanding and first-hand experience of what the Catholic Church teaches about social action, social work and peace and justice issues.
  12. There are many non-denominational work camps offered across the nation. Most of these work camps are positive experiences for young people. One of the features of a non-denominational work camp is it gives young people an opportunity to experience and interact with other youth who have different Christian faith traditions. The exposure to ecumenism is important for young people to experience. But as relationships grow between a Catholic young person and a Protestant young person or leader, there will inevitably be questions that arise as they explore their faith with each other. Questions about the Bible, Salvation, Mary, the Pope, Sacraments or other Catholic issues. Catholic young people are then put in a position to defend their Catholic faith; this could be a positive or negative experience. It becomes negative when a Catholic young person is put on the defense because they are being challenged about what the Church believes. They also could become confused or upset because they are not equipped to provide answers. A Catholic work camp, on the other hand, offers young people an environment of support and encouragement when it comes to questions and matters of faith. CHWC offers youth leaders opportunities and “teachable moments” to discuss the Catholic faith. Instead of having to defend the Church, young people are put in an environment in which they can ask questions and receive answers along with support in their Catholic faith.
WHY DOES CHWC USE HUMOR AT THEIR EVENING PROGRAMS?2019-08-19T09:23:30-04:00

Humor, fun and laughter help Catholic HEART Workcamp create a relaxed atmosphere. Being silly gives campers permission to be themselves and humor breaks down barriers. Campers’ resistance decreases, walls come down and stress is relieved when campers are laughing and having a good time. It speaks volumes to kids who seldom laugh at a church event or say “church is boring”.

Humor is a vital part of the Catholic HEART Workcamp experience because it helps achieve our ultimate goal, which is to motivate teens to serve Jesus. Part of the success of CHWC comes from creating humor that is relevant to the youth culture. It can be difficult to find or create icebreakers and activities that create laughs and is not R-rated or childish while also speaking the language of teens. When campers have fun singing and participating during the first part of the program, they are much more likely to be open and receptive to the serious part of the evening. Humor is the doorway for CHWC to gain the “right to be heard”.

IS CATHOLIC HEART WORKCAMP AFFILIATED WITH A SPECIFIC DIOCESE?2019-08-19T09:24:34-04:00

No, we are not officially overseen by a Diocese. In our experience, a Diocese does not want the liability or legal responsibility involved in a Workcamp but is willing to support CHWC’s effort to offer a quality service event for teenagers. We do, however, have local youth ministers, local parishes and local priests involved in most, if not all of our Workcamps. In addition, we partner with various priests across the country to act as a Camp Chaplain at all Next Level and Elevate camps. We also bring in local priests to aid us in daily mass and for a Reconciliation service during the week. Catholic HEART Workcamp continues to faithfully and enthusiastically serve the Roman Catholic Church in obedience to the Magisterium and strict faithfulness to the Church teachings.

WHAT’S YOUR POLICY ON SEXUAL ABUSE?2019-08-19T12:14:44-04:00

The 2015 document, Charter for the Protection of God’s Children and Young People, developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, outlines the goals, duties and responsibilities of dioceses. CHWC follows the same guidelines in response to any form of child abuse.

Catholic HEART Workcamp believes every person has the right to be respected and treated with dignity as a child of God. Every person has boundaries and the right to expect respect of those boundaries. Every person has the right to challenge any behavior or comment that is offensive and/or inappropriate.

Catholic HEART Workcamp takes responsibility to safeguard and protect all participants, especially minors. A minor is a person under 18 years of age or a vulnerable adult (having a physical or mental handicap) who is under 21 years of age.

In any case that CHWC (Directors, Managers and/or Staff) have reason to believe that a minor is a victim of sexual abuse, the following protocol is in place and will be followed as such:

  • Reach out to the youth minister who brought the student to camp
  • Parents will be notified with the youth minister present.
  • By law, CHWC will immediately call the local authorities and the Department of Child Protective Services and respond accordingly.
ARE ADULTS THAT PARTICIPATE IN CHWC SCREENED?2019-08-19T09:27:44-04:00

Catholic HEART Workcamp requires anyone 18 and older, whether participating as a camper, young adult or adult chaperone to be in compliance with their Diocesan policy for interacting with young people as it relates to their sexual abuse risk prevention policies, training and background checks, in accordance to the U.S. Bishops Charter for the protection of children and young people. If you have a teenager who is currently 17 and will turn 18 before or during camp, they will need to follow this policy as well. All young adults (18-20) will be placed on a team with an adult (21 and over) as their group leader. CHWC also requires all summer staff to conform to a National Background Check. CHWC staff will also be trained in the Virtus program, “Protecting God’s Children” in order to be in compliance with the U.S. Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

HOW DO WE FUNDRAISE FOR WORKCAMP?2019-10-23T11:05:55-04:00

Be creative, persistent and prayerful. Finding finances may not be as hard as you think. Set up a budget for registration and travel costs, then brainstorm with your group and parish staff. Additionally, for some great fundraising ideas, please visit https://heartworkcamp.com/getting-you-to-catholic-heart-workcamp/

WHAT DOES THE REGISTRATION FEE COVER?2019-08-19T09:31:23-04:00

Please see our Registration Info page for specific information on registration prices.

The registration fees are needed to carry out the ministry of HEART Workcamp. These fees pay for the operational cost of maintaining the business side of CHWC. We are totally dependent on registration fees to meet our financial obligations. We do not receive grants or any other outside financial assistance.

The registration fee covers:

  • All meals during Workcamp (except on free day)
  • Rental costs of facilities in each city
  • Liability insurance
  • Supplies and materials
  • Morning and evening program materials
  • Worksite plans
  • Summer and full-time staff salaries
  • Summer travel costs (including gas and insurance on staff vehicles)
  • Advertisement and promotions
  • T-shirts
  • Marketing
  • Giveaways for each participant
  • Contributions to other ministries
  • Dues and resource subscriptions
  • Equipment rental
  • Office supplies
  • Print materials cost
  • Computer and copy machine maintenance
  • Musicians
  • Expenses for developing future workcamps

*The registration fee does not cover free day expenses or attendees’ transportation costs.

Catholic HEART Workcamp partners with local agencies in identifying work projects. The purchasing of materials is a joint effort between CHWC, local social agencies and residents. This activates agencies and residents to have more ownership and pride in the work projects and helps us keep our registration fee as one of the lowest priced service camps in the country. CHWC takes seriously the authority, responsibility and call from God seriously to develop and maintain an organization that is ethical, honest and fair. We are knowledgeable of the responsibility to be good stewards of the talents and finances God sends our way.

CHWC is both a ministry and business. As a ministry, it’s amazing to witness all that God is doing through young people and the movement of His Spirit. As a business, we have grown in the areas of professionalism and organization. The focus of CHWC has always been on sharing the Good News of Jesus with participants and serving others. Our goal has never been on financial profits, though we cannot exist as an organization without meeting our financial obligations.

WHAT ABOUT LIABILITY AND INSURANCE?2019-08-19T09:33:24-04:00

Catholic HEART Workcamp employs reputable staff members and take reasonable precautions to safeguard the participants during the week of Workcamp. However, Catholic HEART Workcamp, the social agencies nor the school that is acting as “home base” will be liable for loss of or damage to property of participants prior to, during or following Workcamp due to theft, fire, accident or any other cause beyond its control. All CHWC participants are required to have personal medical insurance coverage. If for some reason a participant does not have health insurance, you may purchase a temporary policy through http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/short-term-health-insurance. It is the sole responsibility of the participants to obtain insurance at their own expense against property loss, damage or injury and against liability for personal injury.

Catholic HEART Workcamp’s liability for injury to persons or loss of/damage to property shall be limited to such as may be caused by negligence. The Workcamp participants assume responsibility and agree to indemnify and defend the Workcamp, employees and agents associated with the Workcamp against any claims and expenses arising from negligence, theft, loss, damage or personal injury. Catholic HEART Workcamp has limited General Liability coverage.

WHAT CAN WE DO ON OUR FREE DAY?2019-08-19T09:34:45-04:00

Everyone is given a well deserved free day to visit local attractions. The cost of the free day activities is not included in the registration fee. Leaders are responsible for their own groups and transportation needs. There will be mass and a program at 8:00am on the free day. Campers depart after mass and are not able to return until later that night.

HOW WILL WE GET TO THE WORKSITES?2019-08-19T09:35:36-04:00

The vehicles that transported you to Catholic HEART Workcamp are needed to transport work teams to and from the worksites during the week. Vehicles must conform and abide to their Diocese travel requirements regarding usage. Only adults designated by their Parish will drive to worksites.

DOES CHWC ASK FOR AND RECEIVE PROOF OF FACULTIES FROM REGISTERED PRIESTS AND THEIR DIOCESE TO PARTICIPATE?2019-08-19T09:36:36-04:00

Yes, all registered Priests are required to submit ‘Proof of Faculties’ from their home diocese, which are then sent to the diocese in the area where they will be attending Catholic Heart Workcamp. A copy will also be sent to the CHWC home office.

WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF ASSOCIATE STAFF, TROUBLESHOOTERS, NURSES AND PRIESTS?2019-08-19T09:37:17-04:00

*If you are interested in any of these positions, please check off “Associate Staff” or “Troubleshooter” on your application. If you are a priest or nurse, please indicate that on your application as well.

ASSOCIATE STAFF (21 years or older): Help prepare and serve breakfast and dinner as well as clean up after meals. They also do other jobs such as empty trash, take pictures at the worksites and run errands. They will have several hours of free time each day – usually in the late morning or early afternoon before campers return from their worksites. These adults do not participate in worksite projects. Associate staff is often a good option for adults who want to attend camp but are unable to lead groups at worksites due to a health condition.

TROUBLESHOOTERS (21 years or older): People with experience in construction who are willing to work at a variety of job sites assisting groups that may have a more complicated or more work-intensive project. They also assist the Workcamp tool manager, deliver and pick up tools or supplies from worksites and run to local hardware stores in the evenings.

NURSE (21 years or older): Certified medical personnel who helps at the “home base” whenever a minor medical problem arises (sunburn, twisted ankle, headaches, etc). This person has the option of being on a work team and going to a worksite or staying at the home base and working behind the scenes with the Workcamp staff.

PRIESTS/CHAPLAINS: Help with Eucharist celebration though out the week and with Reconciliation. Priests are assigned a team and go to worksites unless they choose to work behind the scenes with the Workcamp staff.

HOW ARE ADULTS FROM EACH PARISH UTILIZED DURING THE WEEK?2019-08-19T09:38:14-04:00

Every adult (21 years and older) is assigned to a worksite unless they have requested to be an Associate Staff or Troubleshooter. We depend on adults to work side by side with the young people in accomplishing the work projects. For the safety of the teens, each parish must have at least one adult chaperone in each sleeping quarter. If you register male and female campers you will need at least one male and one female adult leader. Catholic HEART Workcamp also depends on adults to supervise their own parish young people during the free time and evening programs.

HOW DO WE TRAVEL TO THE WORKCAMP?2019-08-19T09:39:42-04:00

Most groups use vans or small buses to travel to CHWC. We ask that these same vehicles be available to transport teams to their worksites during the week. To abide by state law, vehicles must be equipped with seatbelts for all riders. Participants will not be allowed to ride in open trucks or vehicles without seat belts. If you choose to fly to a CHWC location, you must arrange to rent vehicles that can be picked up upon your arrival at the airport. To keep the cost of registration low, groups are responsible for all vehicle expenses.

12 & 15 PASSENGER VANS: Safety and liability issues are forcing churches to abandon 12 and 15 passenger vans. In most diocese they are no longer permitted; therefore, CHWC will no longer permit 12 and 15 passenger vans. Mini-buses offer a viable replacement option for transportation.

HOW WILL CHWC HELP YOUNG PEOPLE GROW IN THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH?2019-08-19T09:43:41-04:00

When we put our faith into action we are renewed. Teens will live out Christ’s command to love and serve others. The Workcamp promotes the signs, symbols, stories and rituals affiliated with the Catholic Church. The sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, as well as prayer services, will be offered throughout the week to help teens become more aware of the presence and love of God. Catholic HEART Workcamp is centered on:

  • Faith and works (James 2:17).
  • Corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned.
  • Sacred Scriptures: Written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit protected by the Catholic Church. We consistently refer to the scriptures throughout the week of camp.
  • Divinity and saving value of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus: CHWC calls campers to renew their baptismal call on their journey of faith.
  • Parish life: Call to active participation in the life of the local parish and youth program. The Church is an assembly of faithful followers of Jesus as Lord.
  • Mary: Call upon Mary for prayer and intercession. Belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception, as The Mother Of Jesus, her Perpetual Virginity, and her intercessory power.
  • Assumption into Heaven Prayer: Belief in the power of communion with God.
  • Belief in the power of the sacraments.
  • Reconciliation offered.
  • Eucharist: The heart of our faith in which Jesus is fully present and alive.
  • Daily Mass offered Saints: Role models of how to live a holy life. Call upon the saints to watch and protect our campers.
  • Full conformity with the hierarchy, doctrines, traditions, rituals, practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church.
WHAT WILL WE EAT AT CAMP?2019-08-19T09:40:22-04:00

The menu is based on a well-balanced diet that will provide all the nutritional and calorie needs. CHWC does realize that there will be campers with food allergies, vegetarians, etc. We feel we offer enough options for vegetarians, but if a camper requires a special diet, they are required to bring their own food or supplement what their diet requires.

  • If your diet requires you to bring your own food or to supplement, CHWC will provide a space in the refrigerator for you to store your food.
  • Due to liability and restrictions by the school kitchen facility, CHWC does not permit any campers (including adult chaperones) to cook or have access to the ovens. You are welcome to use a microwave if one is available (only adults are permitted in the kitchen). You must designate an adult (21 or older) from your group to be responsible to coordinate the camper’s needs.
  • Please make a note on your application form of your dietary needs/cautions and let the kitchen manager know once you arrive at camp.

Each morning consists of a continental breakfast, including juice, cereal, muffins, bagels, danishes, fruit, yogurt, milk, and a hot breakfast item on two of the mornings. Lunch is either an Uncrustable or sandwich with cold cuts and various snacks including a drink. Here is a sample of the dinner menu for the week.

WILL MY TEENS BE MIXED WITH OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE WORKSITES?2019-08-19T09:41:05-04:00

Yes, this is one of the beautiful aspects of the HEART Workcamp. New relationships and friendships are formed with other people from around the country. Most work teams consist of seven members. There is free time each afternoon and evening for the young people to socialize with their own group members. CHWC will accommodate groups that request their young people be placed at a worksite with two adults. The implications of a youth group requesting two adults per worksite are as follows:

  • Your group must stay together with members of your own youth group.
  • You must provide enough adults for your group to be split into teams with two adults.
  • You will will create your own teams based on your vehicles (form provided by CHWC).

*Your campers could be split up if a particular camp is able to provide two adults for every work team, but if you would like to be kept together, that request will be honored.

WHAT IF A YOUNG PERSON HAS NO HOME REPAIR EXPERIENCE?2019-08-19T09:41:27-04:00

As long as young people come with a servant’s attitude, there is no problem involving them in home repair projects. We match skills to projects. Young people are not asked to participate in projects they are not equipped to handle. There is plenty of work that needs to be done, such as painting, which takes little or no experience.

HOW IS SAFETY MAINTAINED AT THE WORKSITES?2019-09-04T12:15:38-04:00

CHWC’s bottom line is the safety of its campers. As a service organization, this is our top priority in choosing which communities we will be involved with.

Each worksite will have at least one adult per small work group. No camper under 18 years old will be allowed to use power tools. Adults who have experience using power tools may use them at the worksites. Every participant is asked to bring protective safety gear and wear closed-toe shoes. Campers are encouraged to bring a water bottle with them in preparation for hot weather and manual labor, and they are allowed frequent breaks.

Home repair projects are well organized and prepared. First-aid kits and emergency care instructions will be available at every worksite. Medical facilities are located a short distance from every site. Every safety precaution is exercised to produce a safe and injury-free atmosphere.

Unfortunately, no neighborhood is 100% ensure to be safe and secure. There are no communities free of crime. CHWC’s policy is to remove work teams from the worksite if they do not feel comfortable. In some cases, teams may choose to finish their work project if the whole team feels comfortable enough to do so. CHWC will contact the local police when we have work teams in neighborhoods that have a high crime rate. CHWC does not send campers to places where there is a clear risk of violence, crime, danger or deemed unsafe. CHWC does not haphazardly send teens into unsafe neighborhoods. The safety of campers is our highest concern.

HOW ARE THE WORKSITES SELECTED?2019-09-04T12:13:55-04:00

We work in cooperation with various agencies in each city to choose the sites and work projects. These agencies exist to improve the lives of low-income families, children and the elderly. Sites are chosen according to their need for repairs and assistance. We choose sites where teens and young adults can accomplish the work without requiring special skills. Troubleshooters are utilized to tackle more complicated projects. They will either complete the work themselves or instruct and guide the campers on how to complete the work.

As Catholics, we are called to “serve the least of these.” We have a responsibility to help others, which in the case of CHWC includes the poor and middle class. Jesus constantly talked about helping and feeding the poor. CHWC hopes the service week will give campers an opportunity to grow in their Catholic faith. Many campers are able to learn more about God from the residents they serve. Some feel they have met God through a person in a low-income area. CHWC hopes campers can see the incredible generosity and hospitality from people who are considered “the least of these.”

WHAT KIND OF WORK WILL WE BE DOING?2019-08-19T09:46:37-04:00

Some service projects involve renewing homes with interior and exterior painting, housecleaning, yard work, building ramps, and minor home repairs. Experienced Troubleshooters will visit the sites to check on workmanship and provide help when needed. Other service projects include assisting at day care centers for low income families, volunteering at homeless shelters, food distribution centers for the needy, and other non-profit centers for the poor and marginalized.

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN WE BRING?2019-08-19T09:47:21-04:00

We welcome groups of all sizes. Even if only a few young people participate, your group will have a great experience. We cannot accommodate individual youth registrations.

ARE CHILDREN PERMITTED AT CAMP?2019-08-19T09:47:43-04:00

Although we love children, CHWC is a camp for teenagers and young adults.  We cannot accommodate or permit small children at camp for various reasons. CHWC must have this policy in place for the safety of all. CHWC must follow the guidelines that a school or diocese may request pertaining to lodging in the school, and to follow liability insurance restrictions.

HOW DO WE START?2019-08-19T09:46:14-04:00

Begin with a plan of action if you have not already. Ask for your free Catholic HEART Workcamp promotional DVD and show it to your pastor, adult leaders, teens and parents. Have a sign-up sheet available for those who are interested and send a follow-up email or text to those who have signed up with a deadline for the deposits. After you register, each group will receive a digital packet that includes pre-trip planning information. Have monthly meetings leading up to when you leave with everyone signed up to pray, prepare, plan and build community.

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