Summer Work Camp

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What is the Diocesan Work Camp?

The Diocesan Work Camp is a weeklong camp experience for high school youth to serve our brothers and sisters in need by making their homes safer, warmer, drier, and greener while also having the opportunity to grow in our Catholic faith.

Work Camp is not just a youth event. It is an opportunity for parishes to make a difference in the lives of those in need right here in our diocese while encouraging youth to answer their baptismal call to serve others.


Youth Registration Form

Adult Registration Form

Contractor Registration Form

Download a PDF of this page

Who should attend Work Camp?

Work Camp is open to all high school-aged youth (rising 9th graders through graduated 12th graders). The week is going to require that youth give of themselves to serve others and to grow spiritually. It will be a challenging week that will provide many learning opportunities for participants.

Where and when is the Diocesan Work Camp?

The Diocesan Work Camp will be held Saturday, June 23 through Friday, June 29, 2018 in the Wise County, VA area. The work projects will take place in the surrounding community. The University of Virginia at Wise will serve as our home base where participants and adults will sleep, eat, and participate in evening programming.

Who will be the host?

Dan Harms is our Work Camp host this year. Dan is the youth minister at Saint Bridget Catholic Church in Richmond in addition to being a speaker and a musician; since 2005 he has been one half of the acoustic-humor ministry Popple. Growing up in a military family, Dan moved all over the U.S. and twice lived in Japan. He went to high school in San Diego, California, and attended Purdue University, where he was a four-year rower. Dan resides in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and children.

What is the structure of Work Camp?

Each day of Work Camp will have a full schedule of events. Below you will find a brief overview of the activities for the week.

Saturday: Arrival
Opening Program
Sunday: Teambuilding
Work Site Visit,
Monday – Wednesday: Daily Mass
Work Day
Evening Program
Thursday: Daily Mass
Work Day
Dinner with Residents
Evening Program
Friday: Daily Mass
Closing Program

Youth will have the opportunity to serve alongside youth from other parishes during the week. We will spend some time getting to know each other and learning how to work as a team. We will also review general safety and instructions and have the opportunity to prepare for the specific site locations. Each day we will celebrate Mass together. At various points throughout the week, there will be the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration and Reconciliation. Evening program will have a wide variety of components and will be geared towards helping participants understand what the Catholic Church teaches about social justice. Each day there will also be the opportunity for each parish to gather to process the experiences of the day.

Due to the structure of the week all participants must be able to attend the whole week of Work Camp. Full participation is expected from check-in time on Saturday until after the closing programming on Friday.

What are the requirements for adult participants (chaperones)?

For this event, 1 adult is required for every 6 youth (or fraction thereof) who are participating in the Work Camp. Adult participants are responsible for looking out for the well-being of youth participants both at home base and at the work sites. Knowledge of home improvement is not needed to serve in this role. Because of the work we will be doing, adults should be able to work in environments that do not have air conditioning, be able to lift light-weight items, and be able to drive. Chaperones must be 21 years old before the beginning of Work Camp.

Each adult volunteer participant must be in compliance with the Diocesan Safe Environment Policies, which includes completing the following:

  • Screening One (every 5 years)
  • VIRTUS training (once)

Please note that parish employees and Catholic school employees have additional screening that must be completed.

What are the requirements for adult home base volunteers?

One adult home base volunteer is required for each parish bringing 10 or more youth participants. These individuals will need to serve in various roles at home base such as Work Camp set-up and clean-up, kitchen assistance, running team building activities, performing office related tasks, running errands, etc. Home base volunteers must be at least 20 years old before the beginning of Work Camp. Individuals in this role cannot serve as a chaperone or a contractor.

Home base volunteers are required to serve from Friday afternoon, June 22 to Friday, June 29, 2018. They will need separate transportation from their parish vehicles and will need to arrive by 2 pm on June 22, 2018. They are welcome to come on June 21 to join the Diocesan Staff that will be present. Carpooling may be available for volunteers coming from the same area. This role can be performed by up to three people, but this split scheduling must be approved prior to registration.

What are the requirements for contractors? What is a contractor?

All parishes are required to bring approximately 1 contractor for every 10 youth participants. A contractor is an adult who has home improvement knowledge, skills, and experience and is willing to teach and assist youth in completing work projects during Work Camp. Potential contractors will need to be approved by the Coordinator of Diocesan Work Camps and the lead contractors before they can serve in this role in order to ensure the safety of all participants, residents, and potential contractors. Approval can be obtained by submitting a Contractor application to A brief phone interview by one of our lead contractors may be required for approval. Contractors will be asked to provide their own transportation and specialty tools needed for their work site.

Contractors will have the option for having overnight accommodations provided at the home base location. Contractors are not required to stay overnight. There will be a required contractors meeting that will happen in the spring.

NEW this year. Any parishes who cannot provide a contractor to meet the minimum guidelines below will be charged an additional $750 per missing contractor so the Diocese can provide a contractor. The Diocese reserves the right to reduce the number of youth participants for a parish if an appropriate number of contractors cannot be obtained.

Youth/Adult Ratio Table

The following breakdown chart should be used when determining number of youth with the corresponding adults (chaperones, contractors and home base) Youth Participants

Youth Participants Adult Chaperones Contractor Home Base Volunteer
1-6 1
7-12 2 1 1
13-18 3 2 1
19-24 4 3 1
25-30 5 4 1
31-36 6 5 1

What is the lodging situation?

Participants will be staying on the campus of the University of Virginia at Wise. The accommodations will be in the dorms which include air conditioned double-occupancy rooms that include beds and mattresses. Participants will need to bring a sleeping bag or other bed linens and pillow. Showers will either be included in the dorm room or on the dorm hall. Procedures for housekeeping to clean restrooms and showers will be provided during your stay.

In rare circumstances, some individuals may be housed in a room that will require one or more individuals to sleep on the floor. Your parish will be notified if this is the situation.

All participants are required to stay at the home base location.

What kind of transportation is needed?

Transportation to and from Work Camp is the responsibility of each parish to coordinate. Additionally, adult participants will be responsible for transportation to and from work sites each day during Work Camp. For every 6 youth participants, 1 vehicle (mini-van: 7 seatbelts or SUV: 7-8 seatbelts) is required. Please keep in mind that space will be needed for participant’s gear and Work Camp supplies both to and from Work Camp. As a reminder, the use of 10 – 15 passenger vehicles is strictly prohibited per Diocesan Policy.

Where do we get the tools for the work projects?

Each parish will be asked to bring some tools with them. This may include items like paint brushes and rollers, shovels, post diggers, circular saws, etc. A detailed list will be provided by May 31.

Collecting tools to borrow for Work Camp from parishioners is both a great way to involve the entire parish and eliminate the need to purchase all the tools.

What supplies do parishes need to bring with them?

In addition to vehicles and general tools, parishes will be asked to bring certain supplies with them. A complete list will be provided by May 31. This may include items such as 5 gallon water coolers and a supply basket for each van which includes a basket, toilet paper, tissues, soap, and antibacterial hand soap.

How do we prepare our participants for Work Camp?

We will be providing materials that will help facilitate preparation for participating in Work Camp. Preparation materials will include topics like tool safety, what to expect, and how to prepare spiritually. This will require participants to gather together prior to Work Camp, and it is up to the parish to coordinate. The diocese will provide guidance and resources as to how to facilitate these meetings.

What is the registration fee?

The registration fee per participant is listed below as well as available discounts.

Registration Fees:

For every 6 Youth Participants there needs to be 1 Adult Participant. For approximately every 10 Youth Participants (see previous chart) there needs to be 1 Contractor. Each parish also needs to bring one Adult Home base Volunteer.

Youth Participants

Registered online on or before April 26, 2018

Registered online after April 26, 2018



Adult Participants

Registered online on or before April 26, 2018

Registered online after April 26, 2018



Contractors Contractors are accepted at no charge.
Adult Home Base Volunteer Home base volunteers are accepted at no charge.

Each participant substitution

(The last day to request a substitution is June 8, 2018.
After this date all changes will be processed as cancellations.)

Cancellations Fees

Each participant cancellation on or before April 26, 2018

Each participant cancellation between April 27 – May 31, 2018

Each participant cancellation after June 1, 2018



No refund

The last day to register is May 15, 2018.

Discounts and Additional Fees:

Contractor Credit

One contractor is required for approximately every ten youth participants. For each additional contractor (above the ratio, see previous chart) you provide for the full work week*, your parish group receives a discount of $300. (See “What is a contractor?” section for more details.)

*Contractors are needed Saturday, June 23 through Friday, June 29. It is preferable that the same contractor would work Monday through Thursday to ensure the continuity of the projects, but it is possible to have two contractors split the work week (this will count as 1 “Contractor” Credit).

Missing Contractor Fee

If your parish cannot provide the requisite number of contractors or if you contractor does not attend Work Camp, your parish will be charged $750 per missing contractor.

Medical Staff Credit

Your parish group will receive a $150 discount for each 24-hour shift that you provide a trained medical staff member to cover. Please contact us at to determine if your applicant will be approved.

In-Kind Donation Discount

A list of needed in-kind donations will be available in the coming weeks. If a parish wishes to donate materials from this list or gift cards, they will receive a discount proportional to their donation. Contact us at for more details.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, scholarships are available to individuals and parishes on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for more details.

What does this registration fee cover?

The majority of the registration fee goes to cover the cost of materials necessary to complete the work projects. The work projects completed during Work Camp are significant home improvement projects (for example wheel chair ramp construction, deck and stair construction, and window replacement) that are designed to make homes warmer, safer, drier, and greener. The registration fee also goes to cover lodging, meals (Saturday dinner – Friday breakfast), and evening programming for all participants.

How do I register?

For youth and adult chaperone registrations, follow this process:

  1. Medical Form: Print out and distribute the medical form for either YOUTH or ADULT participants. DO NOT SEND THESE TO THE OFFICE FOR EVANGELIZATION.
  2. Register Participants via the Online Registration System: If you are a youth coordinator, contact the Office for Evangelization via email ( or phone (804-622-5159) to get your username and password for the online registration system.
  3. Parishes are responsible for the registration fee. An invoice will be sent to each parish after the event for any unpaid fees.

Registration will close on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm.

For contractor registration, follow this process:

  1. Registration Form: Have each contractor complete the Contractor Registration Form and email it to
  • NOTE: Do not enter Contractors into the online registration system.

My parish is not planning on attending this year’s Diocesan Work Camp, but how can we help?

There are several ways in which parishes can help support the Diocesan Work Camp.

  1. Pray. Pray for all the participants, parishes, volunteers, residents, and staff involved in Work Camp
  2. Volunteer. Let your parish know about Work Camp, and ask if anyone would like to volunteer. We each have a unique set of gifts and talents and individuals may want to share theirs with the community. We are especially in need of volunteers with home improvement experience and knowledge.
  3. Collect Tools. Help support participating parishes by collecting tools needed for the work projects. A list will be available by May 31.
  4. Donate. A list of needed “in kind” donations will be available in the coming weeks. Your parish can also sponsor a work project through a financial donation.


Contact us via email ( or phone (804-622-5159).


University of Virginia at Wise
1 College Avenue
Wise, VA 24293
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