Mescalero, New Mexico 2018

Mescalero, New Mexico

Explore the mountain world of the Mescalero people. High above the barren New Mexico desert is the cool, pine-forested mountain homeland of the Mescalero Apache. Historically a nomadic group of hunter/gatherers who roamed across the Southwest, the Apache were well-known for their staunch defense of their lands. And thanks to respected warriors like Geronimo and Cochise, their descendants now live on this land sacred to them, surrounded by their four Sacred Mountains.

For years, Group Mission Trips has partnered directly with the Mescalero tribe to serve their respected elders. You and your students will be part of a long-term, sustainable ongoing project to protect the health and safety of people who are looking forward to getting to know you. Like many Native American people, the Mescalero hold a deep respect for their elders—and consider taking care of the elderly to be of the utmost importance. You will be welcome here—everyone on whose home you will be working will have asked specifically for your help.

This will be an awesome opportunity to explore a rich native culture where many people still hunt for food. Once they get to know you, most residents will be happy to answer your questions, or teach you a bit of their history. Plus you’ll have a chance to learn about a traditional ceremony!

The school where you will be staying is awesome! Big, bright, modern, and surrounded by a pine forest. And plenty of showers!

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Date Age Availability Register
Jun 24 2018 to Jun 30 2018 Senior High (14 +) Open

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Date Price Age Trip Type  

How You'll Serve

Like many Native American people, the Mescalero hold a deep respect for their elders—and consider taking good care of the elderly to be of utmost importance. For that reason, you will most likely be working on the homes of older people.

The repairs your group will be doing are needed to preserve the life of the structures there, as well as provide for the health and safety of the residents. Projects like porches, sturdy steps, wheelchair ramps, and painting to protect the siding.

Our Partners

Our partners are awesome, caring people with whom we at Group work closely with to serve the people of their community while giving you and your kids an unforgettable experience in faith and cultural exchange.

We connect directly with an entity of the Mescalero tribe, with the local people themselves, rather than some outside organization. Our partners work every day to provide safe and decent housing for their neighbors, and this Workcamp is part of a long-term, sustainable, ongoing project to build up the community.

For stuff to do in the area, either on Wednesday afternoon or before/after the Workcamp, the town of Ruidoso is just off the reservation. It’s a delightful little mountain tourist town, with lots of restaurants and unique shops. You can learn more at

Head down the mountain the other way to the larger desert town of Alamogordo. There are restaurants there and a Wal-Mart, etc. Just beyond Alamogordo lies White Sands National Monument—a fascinating world of white sand dunes with some short hiking trails. Learn more at

Between Mescalero and Alamogordo is the charming small village of Tularosa and just beyond Tularosa are a couple of pistachio farms with shops open to the public—one even offers tours!

For a longer trip, either before or after the Workcamp, consider visiting the town of Roswell where, supposedly, the remains of a crashed alien spacecraft (and its occupants!) were brought back in 1947. The Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center is a definite must!

Price: $464 per person
Deposit: $50 per person
50% of Remaining Balance Due: March 15, 2018
Full Balance Due: May 15, 2018

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We offer trips for senior high students. Participants who are at least 14 years old or entering 9th grade in the fall of 2018 can attend Catholic Workcamps. 

  • Due to liability, under-aged participants will be sent home at their own expense (NO babies or any children under the required age).
  • Only registered participants are permitted at the lodging facility and on the project sites.
  • No special skills are required.
  • 19 or 20 year olds are welcome to attend as participants! Remember that only those that are 21 or older will be considered “adults” at camp and count in your 1 adult to 5 youth required ratio. 

Yes, you must have 1 adult (21 years of age or older) for every 5 youth (20 years of age and under). If both boys and girls are registered in your group, you must have at least one male adult and one female adult registered for supervision at night. 

  • If you have extra adults over your 1-to-5 ratio, they can be part of your group or, if staff positions are open at your location, they have the option of serving on staff without paying the registration fee. Information about staff positions can be found on under About Us and Join Our Team.

Yes, group requires that all participants 18 years of age or older be screened and background checked by their church prior to attending.

  • Background checks must be national and no older than two (2) years from the start of the mission trip.
  • 18-20 year olds are not considered “adults” during camp, however because of our commitment to safety, we still ask them to go through your church’s screening process and have background checks run.
  • Group requires a digital pastor signature on our Screening and Verification Form for every 18+ participant in order for them to attend the mission trip.
  • You may use any organization to run your background checks, but if you are looking for a reliable one, we recommend Shepherd’s Watch. They are waiving their $30 sign-up fee for our youth leaders and their basic background checks start at just $12. They can be reached at 1.800.447.1070.

Yes. We strive to follow all aspects of the Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. We will also work with you and your Diocesan policies to make sure everyone at Group Catholic Workcamps is safe. Please contact us with any questions. 

  • Groups must provide transportation to and from the mission trip as well as daily to and from the sites.
  • All vehicles must be available for transportation to and from the sites. (Mileage or fuel costs are not reimbursed for any transportation costs.)
  • Vehicles with a minimum capacity of six passengers are required, with seat belts. While adults will be driving their vehicles, they typically will not be transporting a crew that includes their own youth members. Typically, the youth from your group will be traveling in other vehicles with their crews.
  • Due to rough terrain and narrow roads, there are some locations that are labeled “Not Bus Accessible”. If you are serving at one of these, you’ll need to plan on bringing smaller vehicles.

A "typical" day at Group Workcamp involves serving others, "God Sightings," daily devotions, and interactive worship programs. Your schedule will look similar to this:

Check-in: Sunday between 12-2 p.m.

3 p.m First program, followed by the Adult Meeting
5 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Evening Program, everyone will get to meet their work crews!
8:30 p.m. Youth group devotions
11 p.m. Lights-out

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
6:45 a.m. Rise and shine! 
7:00 a.m. Breakfast, gather supplies and sack lunches
8:00 a.m. Morning program and then depart for work sites!
12:00 p.m. On-site lunch and devotions
3:30 p.m. Return to lodging for clean-up and free time
5:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Evening program
8:30 p.m. Youth group devotions
11:00 p.m. Lights-out

Same schedule as the other days until 12:30 p.m.
12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Youth groups have free time (dinner is on their own)
7:30 p.m. The Variety Show and Evening Program starts.
8:30 p.m. Youth group devotions
11:00 p.m. Lights-out

Check-out: Saturday by 9:00 a.m.

Liturgy Schedule
4 p.m. Monday
7 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday
8:15 p.m. Wednesday and Friday

Your participants will provide home repairs at no cost for elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged people who need your help. Project crews typically serve the same resident for the entire trip, creating an environment where meaningful relationships develop.

Most projects are designed to be completed during the trip, allowing your group to experience the satisfaction of a job well done. You’ll serve the needs of others through projects like... interior and exterior painting, building or repairing porches and wheelchair ramps, building or repairing steps, weatherization and other home repairs. No skills are needed!

Participants are placed on crews of six people- generally one adult and five youth- each person from a different parish. We will work with you and your Diocesan policies and protocols. If that means your group needs to stay together on crews, we will work with you to make sure we fulfill your needs. Call your Mission Trip Advisor with any questions.

Each group is asked to bring painting and construction tools including rollers, gloves, hammers, circular saws, post hold diggers, electric drills, ladders, etc. A cooler and water jug is also needed for every 6 people--these keep lunch and water cold for participants on their work site. The full Tool List is located online for every registered group on their Group Page.
Personal Items:
The full Packing List is also located online for every registered group on their Group Page, but it’s pretty much what you’d expect. A twin-size air mattress and bedding for sleeping, water jugs and coolers for lunches, work gloves, and modest swimsuits and clothing appropriate for a Catholic mission trip.

Safety is our top priority!

  • We require groups to bring 1 adult (21 or older) for every 5 participants that are under 21 years of age.
  • We require participants that are 18 and older be screened and background-checked by their church. Their pastor signs off that they meet Group’s requirements and that they are approved to attend.
  • Every staff member has been screened, background-checked, and reference checked by Group.
  • For overall protection, we have separate shower times designated for participants that are 17 and younger from those that are 18 and older.
  • We review safety procedures at camp—appropriate closed-toe shoes, gloves and goggles are recommended.
  • Participants are not required to do any work that they consider unsafe. Participants may be using a drill for screws, but no one under the age of 16 can use a power tool or drill for drilling holes. No one under the age of 18 can use a power saw.
  • Our staff visits each work site at least twice by the time of camp and the first thing a crew will do when they arrive to their work site is check for potential safety issues.
  • Although we do serve in needy areas, we require work crews to stay together at all times. No one should ever be left alone and all participants are back at the lodging facility by their designated check in time.
  • Site Coaches and other Group Staff visit work sites every day so they are aware of where a crew is working and any issues in the area.
  • Every work crew has the direct phone number to the Group office and directions to the closest hospital. If an injury occurs on the work site, and is not serious, Group staff will contact the youth leader and coordinate any transportation needed. If the injury is serious, the adult on site will call 911 and Group staff will offer support and ensure needed medical forms are delivered to hospital. Each work crew will have a small first aid kit and a bigger one in each vehicle.

A Workcamp can hold up to 400 participants and we house them all typically at a middle or high school. Group staff transforms the facility into a home away from home–there will be a separate boy’s hall and girl’s hall, a cafeteria for meals, adequate bathrooms and showers, and either a gym or auditorium for programs.
Participants need to bring twin-size air mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags or other bedding to sleep on classroom floors. Youth groups are assigned to sleeping rooms together, gender separate. Sleeping rooms may be shared with other youth groups, depending on the size of groups and the size of the room.
Registered groups can see more information about their lodging facility online on their Group Page under the General Lodging tab. Trip Leaders are given the lodging facility’s address.

Meals will consist of hot breakfasts, picnic-style lunches, and hot dinners. All meals will be prepared for participants by kitchen staff. Picnic-style lunches will be assembled in the mornings and brought to work sites. The first provided meal is dinner on Sunday and the last meal is breakfast on Saturday. IMPORTANT NOTE: Dinner is NOT provided on Wednesday. Youth groups have free time this day and dinner is on their own.

For registered groups: If you have a participant that has to eat gluten-free--please let us know. We are going to have a few gluten free options at camp this year and need to have an accurate number. The sample menu is located on Your Group Page under the Schedule, Menu, and Packing tab. Share this with your participants so they can start planning. Participants with special diets or allergies are welcome to bring their own food items to fill in as needed during the week. Please know that we do have peanut butter on the menu. Group is unable to guarantee there will not be any cross-contamination during meal preparation by kitchen staff. There will be a staff member available at camp who will be able to answer any questions about food. 

Jesus-centered. Our goal with Group Catholic Workcamps is to point people to Jesus. Programs focus on Bible passages and daily themes that challenge us to respond to Jesus in ways we will never forget.

Interactive. People learn better by doing. Participants will be involved in sharing, speaking, singing, acting, reflecting...not just sitting and watching.

Relevant. Through creative multimedia, thought provoking sound and video, and moving liturgies and prayer, programs are designed to reach everyone.

Fun. Relationship-building activities, games and having fun are part of every program. Expect to have a great time!

After you register by paying a $50 (non-refundable) deposit per space, there are 2 payment dates for the remaining balance:

March 15, 2018: Half of what is remaining is due.

May 15, 2018: The final balance is due. (All payments are non-refundable after this date.)

Payments can be made here online, by phone, or by mail.

Call us! If there’s space available in your camp, we’ll ask for necessary payment. If you have a cancellation, and you’ve exhausted all efforts to re-fill spaces, call us to make cancellations. We’ll adjust your balance accordingly. If you cancel a space before May 15th, 2018 you’ll just lose the $50 deposit. The entire fee is forfeited for cancellations made after May 15th, 2018. 

Cancellations have a huge effect on the people we serve--it is devastating news to them when we have to cancel. Based on the number of registered participants, we plan for lodging, food orders, work materials and staffing–just for starters. Also, depending on the time of year, sometimes it’s simply impossible for us to re-fill cancelled spaces.
We recognize that unexpected events happen that can pull participants away from their original commitment. Please give us a call, we are happy to talk through ideas to recruit other participants and keep your group intact.
If there is no other option but to cancel your group, keep in mind that registration fees, less the $50 deposits per person, are refundable when you notify the Registration Team by May 15, 2018. The entire mission trip fee will be forfeited for cancellations after May 15th, 2018.

We want your trip to be as easy on you as possible. That's 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
  • Bible-based, fun, Jesus-centered programs
  • Comprehensive safety training
  • Highly trained, mission-minded staff
  • Online Group Page with forms, promotion materials, advice, and more
  • Fundraising ideas and support
  • Worksite 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)
  • Themed T-shirt for each participant

We ask that all participants arrive on time and stay for the entire time. Every part of the program is valuable and helps guarantee a life-changing experience. We really try not to make exceptions to this because it does affect other participants, residents, and work projects. Please check the schedule and make travel arrangements accordingly. Contact us if a situation arises.

  • Personal health insurance is not required to attend, although highly recommended
  • If you carry personal health insurance, bring the appropriate information. It is needed if treated at any health-care facility.
  • All health-care costs are the responsibility of the participants or his or her parent/guardian.
  • If you have participants without adequate medical insurance and/or you desire to purchase trip protection insurance, you can purchase from any insurance provider of your choice.

Absolutely! Don't just take our word for it. Give us a call (1-800-385-4545) and we'd be happy to connect you with other youth leaders who have served with us.

14 +
Trip Capacity:
Bus Accessible:

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