Requirements

Catholic HEART Workcamp does not accept individual registrations. You must register with a group of at least 2 or more people while adhering to the policies below:
  • CHWC requires a 5:1 camper-to-chaperone ratio. For every 5 campers (under 21 years old), there must be 1 adult chaperone (21 years or older).
  • If you have one male camper, you must have at least one male chaperone. Similarly, if you have one female camper, there must be at least one female chaperone in your group. This is to ensure that someone is responsible for the youth in their sleeping quarters at night.

With the exception of our International trips, all groups must provide their own transportation for the week. The rule of thumb is that you need the same number of seatbelts as the participants that you are bringing. Drivers will be transporting individuals from other youth groups on weekdays to their worksites in the vehicles they bring.

Many groups use vans or small buses to travel to CHWC. 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 (next level or elevate), you must arrange to rent vehicles upon your arrival at the airport.

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 to and abide by their Diocese travel requirements regarding usage. Only adults designated by their Parish will drive to worksites.

  • For those traveling by bus
    • If you are renting/driving a bus, make sure the bus driver is aware they are required to transport teams to and from worksites every day. We cannot be responsible for housing drivers, but feel free to invite them for meals.
  • 12 and 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.

All participants must have health insurance in order to attend CHWC. If a participant does not have health insurance, you may purchase a temporary policy through https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/short-term-health-insurance (not associated with CHWC and is merely a suggestion). 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.

PRIESTS AND DEACONS

All priests and deacons that will be attending Catholic HEART Workcamp must inform CHWC and the Chancellor of the Diocese in which they will be entering (even if they are only visiting for a few hours). A link will be included on the pre-trip website, which will provide you with all procedures for requesting a letter of suitability.

SEMINARIANS

Seminarians will be placed with clergy in sleeping quarters and be charged the amount of a full registration spot.

Catholic HEART Workcamp has dedicated itself to fully upholding the U.S. Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. CHWC is committed to providing a safe environment for every camper. Parents, Youth Ministers, teenagers, young adults, and adult leaders can be guaranteed CHWC is concerned with the well-being, safety, and protection of every camper.

Please review the following:

Catholic HEART Workcamp requires and will provide all Youth Ministers/Contact Leaders with a Verification Agreement Form that requires all attendees 18 and older to complete the requirements of their Parish and its Diocese in regard to their sexual abuse risk prevention policies, training, and background checks. This form will be provided by CHWC and must be signed by the Youth Minister/Contact Leader and Pastor.

CHWC requires all summer staff employees to have a background check prior to being hired by CHWC.

CHWC requires all summer camp staff to make available personal information, references, and recommendations from a Priest/Youth Minister for employment.

Sexual misconduct is defined as unwanted or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature and can occur when it is directed at members of the same or opposite gender. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Written words or verbal comments of a sexual nature
  • Sexually motivated or inappropriate physical contact
  • Sharing or bragging about one’s sexual experiences
  • Pressure for sexual activity
  • Pornographic photography or video

Sexual Misconduct of any type is not tolerated!

All reports of Sexual Misconduct are taken seriously and will be reported. If a camper has any concerns about the behavior or remarks from another camper (adult, young adult or teen), he or she is urged to tell the CHWC Staff or a trusted adult.

As an organization, CHWC has developed procedures and policies to deal with sexual misconduct. When a complaint or an allegation is brought to the attention of the camp director/manager/staff member, the following procedures will be set in motion:

  1. When a complaint comes forward, the accuser and the youth minister will meet with a CHWC representative to discuss the incident.
  2. If the accusation is credible, the parents and the pastor of the accuser will be contacted by the youth minister. A CHWC representative will contact our Safety Environment Specialist and notify the proper authorities.
  3. CHWC will create a safe place for the accuser until proper authorities arrive.
  4. The home parish of the accuser will be notified. The accused will meet with a CHWC representative and the youth minister. The accused will then be removed from the camp property in the company of an adult from his/her parish until the proper authorities deem it safe and appropriate for him/her to return to camp.
  5. Authorities will direct CHWC on continued action.

General

Specific details are available on each camp’s dedicated page. However, in most cases, participants are lodged in schools, community buildings, or sometimes retreat centers. Participants are to bring their own sleeping bags/blankets, pillows, sleeping pads, or air mattresses that are twin-size or smaller. (Unless the camp’s page specifies other arrangements).

Sleeping quarters are separated by females and males.

Shower facilities are located either on-site or at a nearby location. In instances where showers are off-site, they might be at local community centers or YMCA facilities.

  • Regardless of the shower location, it is MANDATORY that all campers wear a bathing suit.

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 the 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
  • Giveaway items for each participant
  • Contributions to other ministries
  • Dues and resource subscriptions
  • Equipment rental
  • Office Supplies
  • Print materials cost
  • Musicians & Keynotes
  • 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. CHWC takes 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 a 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.

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 camps. In addition, we partner with various priests across the country to act as Chaplains. We also bring in local priests 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.

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. Catholic HEART Workcamp also depends on adults to supervise their own parish young people during free time and evening programs.

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 emptying trash, taking pictures at the worksites, and running 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 help 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 throughout 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.

*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.

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 a program and Mass on the morning of the free day. Campers depart after Mass and are not able to return until later that night.

While we love children, CHWC is a camp for teenagers. We cannot accommodate or permit small children or infants at camp or any of the programming activities. For the safety of all, and to follow the guidelines a school or diocese may request pertaining to lodging in the school, as well as liability insurance restrictions, Catholic Heart Workcamp must have this policy in place.

Be creative, persistent, and prayerful. Check out our resources tab to gather some promotional materials. 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 link that includes complete pre-trip planning details. Have monthly meetings leading up to when you leave with everyone signed up to pray, prepare, plan, and build community.

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/mission-trip-fundraising-ideas/

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 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 for coordinating 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 mornings. Lunch is either an Uncrustable or a sandwich with cold cuts and various snacks, including a drink. Here is a sample of the dinner menu for the week.

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 as role models of how to live a holy life. Calling 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 to make 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.

Having fun also helps 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.”

Laughter 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. 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.

Worksite & Safety

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. However, there is free time each afternoon and evening to socialize in your own groups.

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 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 they come with a servant’s attitude, there is no problem involving them in home repair projects. We match skills to projects. No one is 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.

Each camp experience will have its unique aspects, and you can find additional details about the projects that might be planned for each camp on their respective pages. (NOTE: Projects are subject to change, and specific projects are often not finalized until a few weeks before each camp.)

In general, service projects often involve renewing homes with interior and exterior painting, housecleaning, yard work, building ramps, and minor home repairs. Other service projects include assisting at daycare 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 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.”

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 workgroup. 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. Every safety precaution is exercised to produce a safe and injury-free atmosphere.

Unfortunately, no neighborhood is 100% sure 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 does not send campers to places where there is a clear risk of violence, crime, danger, or deemed unsafe.

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