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.
- As stated in The Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization, 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”.
- CHWC promotes the signs, symbols, images, stories, and rituals that express the Catholic faith.
- Gain a sense of the larger Catholic Church in our country, and across the world, by having opportunities to meet, interact with, and serve with other young Catholics.
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”.
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.
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/
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
- Giveaways for each participant
- Contributions to other ministries
- Dues and resource subscriptions
- Equipment rental
- Office supplies
- Print materials cost
- Computer and copy machine maintenance
- 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.
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.
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.
DOES CHWC ASK FOR AND RECEIVE PROOF OF FACULTIES FROM REGISTERED PRIESTS AND THEIR DIOCESE TO PARTICIPATE?
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.
*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.
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.
Many 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: 12 & 15 passenger vans are permitted. However, due to liability issues, any groups choosing to travel to camp in them must stay together and will not be placed on a work team with anyone outside of their youth group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.