Frequently asked questions about workcamps

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Registrations will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis starting January 16, 2020, at 7 p.m. (central time). Participants must register on the workcamp webpage at www.brethren.org/workcamps. A $150 non-refundable deposit is due seven days after the online registration confirmation is sent. This deposit holds each registrant’s workcamp location “spot.” The full balance of the registration fee is due by April 1, 2020. Make checks payable to Church of the Brethren and mail them to Workcamp Office, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
Registration for a workcamp covers food, housing, local transportation, recreation, a t-shirt, and materials for the project.
No. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the workcamp. Pick-up/drop-off to and from the airport, train station, etc. will be available through the workcamp.
Junior high workcamps are open to those who have completed grades 6, 7, and 8. Senior high workcamps are open to those who have completed grade 9 through age 19. Adult workcamps are open to those over the age of 18. The intergenerational workcamp is open to those who have completed grade 6 and older. The We Are Able workcamp is for those with intellectual disabilities ages 16-30.
You most definitely do not have to be a member of a Church of the Brethren congregation to attend a workcamp. We will have a time of worship each day, however, that will be based in the Christian faith and prompted from Church of the Brethren traditions.
Individual congregations are asked to comprise no more than 1/3 of the total participants of any one workcamp. Custom workcamps can be arranged for groups of 12 or more participants early in the year before registration opens.
The workcamp office provides a director and coordinator for each workcamp. Advisors from the churches sending youth are also part of our leadership team.
Adult advisors are required to attend with groups of youth and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the workcamp. Advisors also are expected to act as role models and mentors for the youth and often are asked to take on extra responsibilities such as leading work crews. Advisors register at the same time as their youth and pay the same registration fee. We ask that congregations send at least one adult advisor for every two to four youth participants, keeping gender in mind (i.e. if youth are all male, there should be at least one male advisor). Advisors are also required to go through a background check administered by the denominational office and should be 21 years of age or older. Please contact the workcamp office if any of these requests are not possible for your group.
There is always one day during the week which we call our “recreation day” in which the youth get to experience the area they are staying in from a different point of view. Sometimes they are outings such as seeing the statue of liberty in New York City or the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC, or going to a park for dinner and taking a dip in the pool.
Workcamps exemplify the Brethren philosophy of simple living and often cross the line to extreme simple living. Along with simple living, essential positive attitudes, flexibility, and openness to new experiences are essential for every workcamp. Those who have the best time at workcamps are those who can most successfully adapt to their surroundings. Although the projects and living conditions are different for each workcamp, they all share some basic universals. Eating (simply), sleeping (often on the floor), showering (at least once!), working hard, playing, and having fun can be expected! Participants also have a chance to meet lots of people from all over the country (and sometimes out of it) and make new friendships that last much longer than just one week. All the details for the individual workcamps will be provided from coordinators in the spring. This communication contains important information, so please read it!
Workcamps are short-term service trips that challenge us to be more aware of ourselves, our communities, and our world so that we may learn to participate in God’s vision of justice for all people. Through these trips, participants will grow in Christian discipleship, formed by the command to love God and neighbor, and inspired by Christ’s example of humbly serving others. We strive to build relationships of mutual learning and understanding with the communities and individuals we serve. While we seek to make a difference in the lives of others, we know that we are equally benefitted by the difference others make in our lives. We hope that, by serving, we will deepen our faith and better understand our own privileges and values as we aim to be compassionate and just global citizens and children of God.
Since workcamp budgets are based on the number of registrations, there will be no refunds for cancellations after April 1, 2020 (deposits or balances). Please keep in mind that each registration holds a spot that could be filled by another participant, and late cancellations prevent other people from being able to experience workcamps.
The only thing you will need spending money for is travel to and from the workcamp and for one meal and possible shopping opportunities during our recreation day (though shopping is not always a part of every workcamp). Everything else is covered in your registration fee.
The Church of the Brethren provides a small, primary group accident insurance policy for its workcamp participants.