Workcamps are high-energy and action-packed, yet powerful and life-changing. The camps are big: Sometimes upwards of 450 youth participate, creating lots of energy and excitement throughout the entire week.
At Workcamps, teenagers come together to serve individuals and communities while building strong, long-lasting relationships with their friends and youth leaders. In six short days, hundreds of students from youth groups across the country repair and transform homes—and strengthen and transform their own faith.
One way their faith gets built is through daily challenges to do something they may not have done before: painting a house, using a chop saw or drill, or doing some other task that can make students feel a little uncomfortable and vulnerable—exactly where God can speak to them.
Workcamps began in 1977 as a home repair project in Loveland, Colorado, in response to the tragic flood of the Big Thompson River the previous year. In July 1976, more than 12 inches of rain fell within three hours near Estes Park, overflowing and flooding the river. Ultimately, the river became a raging wall of water that destroyed hundreds of houses, washed away miles of roads, and killed more than 140 people—the worst natural disaster in Colorado history.
After that flood, Thom Schultz, founder of Group Publishing, asked church youth groups from across the country to come to Colorado and help rebuild the homes and lives of the flood’s victims. Over 300 youth and their adult leaders responded, working on more than 50 home repair projects.
And so the first Workcamps experience was born. Thom saw a dramatic change in the hearts of youth and adults serving the flood’s victims, and realized that the challenge of helping others in need could ignite and strengthen the Christian faith of teenagers and adults.
Since then, about 300,000 people have participated in a Group Mission Trips experience—logging more than 6 million volunteer hours. These participants have gained a new understanding and deeper faith in Jesus by serving others.
The mission opportunities keep growing, and the same passion that prompted Thom Schultz to launch the first Workcamps continues to help teenagers from all different Christian denominations grow closer to God and take on the challenge of service by helping people in need.
Read testimonials from Youth Leaders and campers who have attended a Workcamps mission trip…
"My favorite thing about working with Group MissionTrips is the expertise they bring to the table. With the many years of experience and quality of work, Group Mission Trips is an invaluable partner in our outreach ministry. I have taken hundreds of kids on youth mission trips and Group Mission Trips is consistently amazing." -Rob Dyer, First Presbyterian Church
"It was an amazing experience. We worked, we played, we prayed, we sang, we shared, we cried, we danced, we grew. We grew in relationship with each other, we grew in relationship with new friends from around the country, we grew in relationship with our residents, and we grew in relationship with JESUS! -Cheryl Greiss, Youth Director, Rejoice Lutheran
"One of my favorite parts of Workcamps is the incredible and special relationships and friendships that are made and strengthened throughout the week. The nightly programs and worship music are both so powerful and the feeling of the precense of Jesus is overwhelming." --Kelsey Bigando, Youth Participant
"There is just something so great about helping someone who cannot help themselves. It makes you feel on top of the world. Workcamps is truly an indescribable experience that will make you want to do more." -Devin Robertson, Youth Participant
"At the beginning of my Workcamps experiences I was very shaky in my faith. I was doubtful whether God was real or not. After the past four years of Workcamps, my faith has grown so much." -Chelsea Glass, Youth Participant
"This was my first Workcamp experience. I did not know what to expect from the camp and community but it turned into an unbelievable week. As an adult leader, I was able to bond with our amazing youth group along with all the other youth that attended from all parts of the country. The community and our residents opened up their homes and hearts to us. I watched and learned how total strangers came together to help out a community which turned into everlasting friendships. This experience strengthened my faith and brought me closer to God. As much hard work that went into this week, it was definitely rewarding. I hope to attend many more Workcamps." -Dina P, Adult Leader
"The camp on Walpole Island summer of 2010 was one of the best camps ever. Great group of teenagers, great group of youth leaders and a great group of residents. I can honestly say my faith grew a ton. Seeing the looks on many of the residents faces after seeing the finishing products… PRICELESS. Sleeping in an ice hockey rink with over 100 other people. PRICELESS. Workcamps… PRICELESS." -Natalie, Youth Leader, Trinity Ecumenical Parish
What's included in the registration fee?
We want to make sure your trip is as easy on you as possible. That is why we provide the following so you don't have to:
- Lodging during the week
- All meals, except for dinner on your free night
- Supplies and project materials for each worksite (check out Workcamp Details for supplies you need to bring)
- Themed t-shirt for each participant
- Development of Bible-based thematic, fun, faithbuilding programs
- Devotions to read before, during and after your trip
- Highly trained, mission-minded staff
- Comprehensive Leader Manual and project preparation materials online
- Fundraising ideas, support, and Giving Spree® (a webbased fundraising management tool)
- Site selection and organization
- Unlimited customer support from professional and courteous staff
- Mission trip handbook for each participant
- A personal devotion book and guide for the week
Click here for more information about these details.
Who can participate?
Senior High Trips: Participants must be 14 years old or entering the 9th grade in the fall of 2013.
Junior/Senior High Trips: Participants must be at least 12 yrs. old or entering the 7th grade in the fall of 2013.
No special skills are required…just a willingness to serve. The minimum group size is one young person and one adult (21 or older) of the same gender.
How many adults need to chaperone?
Adults (age 21 and above) are a critical part of the mission experience. Adults provide safety, relationships, spiritual guidance, and discipline. And adults serve on project crews, shoulder-to-shoulder with young people.
Please bring a minimum of one adult for every five youth. If you register both males and females, bring at least one adult male and one adult female. If additional adults want to come, bring them along! Or have them apply on our website to serve as staff volunteers for the week.
How are crews organized?
Groups are typically split up on six-person crews for the work portion of each day. In most cases, this is one adult and five youth, each person from a different church. It has been our experience that when groups allow us to mix participants up to make crews, individuals develop social and leadership skills, make new friends, and develop a closer bond with their own group. If being split up is a problem for your group, please give us a call and you can request to be kept together as a group on (6-person) work crews.
At our Preteen trips, church groups will be kept together on (6-person) crews because of their age.
What about transportation?
You need to provide transportation for your group to and from your mission trip. Also, during your mission trip, the vehicles you bring will be used to provide daily transportation to and from project sites. Please ensure the number of seats and seat belts in your vehicles matches or exceeds the number of people you bring. Vehicles with at least six seats and seat belts are preferred. All vehicles, including chartered buses, must be available for transportation to sites during the week. If you intend to bring a large bus, please be sure your trip location can accommodate it. Check the trip description on the website.
Where do we stay?
Most lodging is in local churches, Christian schools, or community centers (accommodations vary by trip). Accommodations will include areas for groups to room together by gender, a common eating area, and a program area. Showers will be available, though they may be indoor showers (locker room style) or may be outdoor (cold, semiprivate, temporary) showers. Have all participants bring a swimming suit so they're prepared for any showering situation. Participants will sleep on the floor and need to bring their own sleeping bags, pillows, and a twin-size air mattress. Facilities may or may not be air-conditioned, so consider bringing a small fan. Cell phone coverage may or may not be available, but there will always be an emergency phone onsite.
What happens if the trip I want is full?
All trips are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so it pays to register early. However, if you register for a trip that's "full," we'll give you the option of being on a waitlist for your first choice or registered for your second-choice location. Call us. We'll help.
When do I have to pay?
To make it easier for fund raising, we've broken your payment into three convenient steps:
Deposit: A nonrefundable deposit ($50 per person) is required at the time of registration to reserve space on your trip.
Payment 2: 50% of your group's remaining balance is due March 15, 2013.
Payment 3: Your remaining balance is due May 15, 2013.
Early Bird Registration: This special offer lets you hold spaces free and delay the deposit until September 30th, 2012.
Registration fees are in U.S. dollars and can be paid by check, money order, or credit card. Payment 2 and 3 are refundable if cancellations are made at least 30 days before the start of your trip.
Do you have references?
Absolutely! Don't just take our word for it. Give us a call (800.385.4545) and we'd be happy to connect you with other youth leaders who have served with us.
What if I need to change the number of people I have registered?
You may alter (up or down) the number of participants you have registered to bring on your mission trip as long as there's capacity at the location. However, there are a couple of things you want to be sure you know before you change anything:
- Deposits you've paid for any registered space are nonrefundable.
- Deposits can be used to add new participants to your group BUT cannot be transferred to an account balance or to another group.
- Registration amounts paid (less deposit amounts) are refundable when the Registration Team is notified at least 30 days before the first day of the trip. The entire fee will be forfeited for cancellations less than 30 days from the start of your trip.
All of this can be done by contacting your Registration Team at 800.385.4545, option #3.