Dear Adult Leaders,

We are so grateful that you have chosen to sacrifice your comfy beds to join us for Catholic HEART Workcamp! Your willingness to be a part of this week of service with teenagers is truly appreciated. Whether you are a seasoned youth leader or a last-minute parent volunteer, your involvement is crucial for a successful week. But don’t think of this as just an experience for teens; you’ll get a lot out of it, too! You will make a difference in the lives of the people you serve and have an opportunity to grow and be impacted by the spirit in a new way. Thank you again for giving up a week of your time and let’s make a difference!

– The CHWC Team

Here are a couple of videos to help you prepare for your CHWC experience:


A positive attitude is important especially when stress, problems, and other complications arise. Your reaction will influence how your teens respond. For example, if something goes wrong (like the school water heater breaks and there’s no hot water for showers or supplies arrive late at your worksite), teens will watch how you react and move forward to handle the situation. If they witness you accepting a setback with a good attitude and problem-solving approach, they too will accept it and carry on a positive outlook. You will impact the lives of young people by offering faith to them through your speech, conduct, hard work, and willingness to pray and participate in activities. Remember: you are a role model. We need your help and support in expressing enthusiasm and creating a positive atmosphere. Your participation in every part of the morning and evening program is vital. Your teens will participate in planned activities if you are participating too. Please do not plan activities by yourself or with your group that would conflict with Workcamp scheduled events. We encourage you not to go off campus by yourself or with your teens during free time. If you do have any negative feelings about CHWC facilities, staff, or program, we ask that you do not talk to the teens in a derogatory manner about CHWC and instead reach out to a CHWC employee to express your concerns.


A work team typically consists of one adult and six teens. We do our best to have a mix of experienced and inexperienced campers, both male and female, from various churches and states. Your team will work together all week, usually in one spot. Sometimes teams will have more than one adult and/or teams will switch work projects throughout the week. Again, we ask you to have an open mind and a positive attitude with any changes or variations that you encounter.

Each work team will (typically) have one adult leader. You will not have one specific team role, rather you will oversee all the roles and make sure your team is running smoothly. For example, if the Prayer/Share time during lunch is lacking participation from the youth, encourage members of your group to start with a small piece of experience to get the conversation going and eventually make your way into deeper responses. Take time out to get to know each of your team members. Yes, you will be working side-by-side with the young people, but don’t get so wrapped up with repair work that you forget about the needs of your team members; be a relationship builder. Your function is to work alongside the teens and provide support and encouragement to them.

The adult’s role on the work team is not to dictate and “take charge,” but rather to encourage all group members to work together as a team cooperatively and constructively. This can be a stretch for adults who are the “get it done” types. An exception to this rule would be on the last day of work if you find your team needs to work faster in order to finish your project; then by all means “take charge” and encourage productivity. Teams work best when they discuss problems and make decisions together; no one enjoys being bossed around. Seek input from everyone and when your team encounters a problem and work together to reach a consensus. Dictators can ruin a Workcamp experience, so we encourage you to create an atmosphere of support, acceptance, affirmation, cooperation, and shared decision-making. Adults need to walk the middle road between allowing young people to assume responsibility and guiding the experience of the work team. Become part of the team instead of being in charge of it.

There may be times when you will need to intervene and assume a leadership role, like in an emergency situation or if someone’s safety is at risk. You certainly need to use your developed resources of maturity, common sense, and experience to assist your workgroup in the event of an emergency. We also ask you to step in when you see any unacceptable behavior such as the use of profanity, put-downs, uncooperative attitude, misuse of materials, or situations in which someone may get hurt. The use of power tools is limited at CHWC so it’s important you oversee the use of any electrical equipment. Additionally, since we do not always know which houses have been painted with lead-based paint (which can be hazardous), CHWC’s rule of thumb is for campers to always wear a mask and goggles when scraping. Your job will be to make sure the teens follow these safety precautions. Safety is always our #1 concern and top priority.


Occasionally, you will have a team member who will work as little as possible. He/she might not participate and would rather sit back and let everyone else work. You may even wonder, “Why did this person come to a Workcamp?” Here are some ways to deal with slackers:

  • Pray for the person (and for patience). Specifically, ask God to change this person’s work habits and give you the wisdom to handle the situation.
  • Remind the group of the importance of your work for the greater good/resident/agency you are helping.
  • Ask during the prayer/share lunch discussion time “how do you think we are working together as a team? Do you think everyone is doing their fair share of work?” Try to have other team members answer this question instead of you.
  • If a person has someone else on the team who has become a friend and together they are slacking/goofing off, try to split them up. Kindly ask them to do separate jobs.
  • Compliment and encourage him/her to keep working hard. Try asking, “I’ve noticed you look tired (or are not working as hard as you did yesterday) are you feeling okay? Can I help in any way?”
  • Ask this person to work with you on a project. (be sure to have another team member within the same area so you are not 1-on-1/alone with a camper)
  • Talk to their group/parish leader back at the base camp about your concerns. Maybe ask the leader to talk to this person about your concerns.
  • Ask another team member to speak with him/her one on one about your concerns.


It is understood that some young people will clearly demonstrate the need for more supervision than others. CHWC would like to leave the task of handling any behavior problems with your teens to your Youth Minister and your adult volunteers. The CHWC staff will only become involved if:

  1. The situation requires immediate attention.
  2. Per your request.
  3. If a youth needs to be sent home.

If you see a young person (whether he/she is or is not from your group) doing something that is disruptive, destructive, or a safety risk, we need you to intervene and encourage this person to stop. Don’t be afraid to use your authority in a kind and constructive way to resolve the negative behavior. Keep in mind, there may be times you are tired and stressed out but losing your cool rarely solves anything. Stay calm and pray for patience and gentleness to help you deal with the situation.

If a problem continues, talk to their group leader. If you see someone completely disregarding the rules, contact the Workcamp Manager, Team Captain, or Director and make them aware of the situation.


As an adult leader, we need you to be responsible for your teens during afternoon and evening free time and in your sleeping quarters. The CHWC staff are not typical ‘camp counselors’ and have various duties and responsibilities to tend to throughout the day so we rely on you to keep an eye on your own group members to ensure their safety and supervision. We need you to make sure all of your teens are accounted for during morning/evening programs and in your rooms before you go to sleep. Please be in the hallways and move your campers along to brush their teeth, say good night to their friends, and get ready for bed. We also need your assistance in enforcing “lights out” and encouraging your young people to keep quiet after “lights out”.


What Is Four Corners?

  • An opportunity to experience the power of prayer and God’s forgiveness.
  • An opportunity for an adult leader to pray for a teen’s personal concerns, needs, pain, stress, problems, worries, fears, or faith.
  • An opportunity to release burdens, clear up conscience, and reflect on personal hopes, dreams, worries, and disappointments in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
  • An opportunity for any participant to visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation. *Local priests join us to help with Confessions.
  • An opportunity for peer ministry to happen naturally by having one young person offer comfort, hope, understanding, encouragement, and/or prayer for another teen.

*Regarding Reconciliation: It is not mandatory but it is strongly suggested that campers participate in this sacrament. It can be one of the most memorable parts of Workcamp in the youths’ minds. At their home parishes, it may seem intimidating or daunting to stand in line on an early weekend morning or late weekday night waiting for a priest who may recognize them. Offering Confession at CHWC can provide a more comfortable environment and the option of speaking with a priest who they may never see again can also remove some pressure.


  • An opportunity for campers to gather with friends to meet new people and socialize.
  • An opportunity to force or manipulate campers to pray. Most campers choose to take advantage of this prayer experience, but if a person chooses not to go to a corner, they are asked to sit quietly, reflect and/or listen to background music so as not to disturb others that are participating.
  • An opportunity for a youth leader to focus on a person’s “erroneous” actions.
  • An opportunity to shame, reprimand, scold or put down a teenager’s behavior.
  • An opportunity for adults to be or to wear their “parent hat” and treat camper as a child (even if they are your child!).

The adult leaders are instructed to keep anything regarding the camper’s moral behavior (such as drinking, sexual activity, smoking, etc.) in confidence. Four Corners is meant to be a safe environment for healing, prayer, and the release of burdens. Adults are asked to encourage campers to attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation to seek forgiveness and healing. In the unlikely case that an adult leader is listening/praying with a teenager and senses or hears anything about the camper being in danger, being sexually or physically abused, being suicidal, or harming him/herself (whether in the past or currently), the adult leader is instructed to share this information with the teen’s youth leader. The adult leader needs to let the camper know he/she will have to share the incident with his/her youth leader for the welfare of the camper. The responsibilities of the camper’s youth leader is to follow up, share the incident with his/her parents and if needed, report it to the local legal authorities.

*An Adult Meeting will take place on Wednesday afternoon to explain the night in more depth to all chaperones.