Teen WorkCamp to Break Records in Service to the Underprivileged: What is their motivation?


Study shows overall volunteer rate DECLINED in 2015, but remains high among teenagers at a rate of 26.4%

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - More than 850 teens from throughout the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will serve the underprivileged in six central Virginia counties during WorkCamp June 25 to July 1. The teenagers will focus on projects designed to make homes safer and drier. This year's 170 projects include building a wheelchair ramp for a disabled Iraq War veteran, a wheelchair ramp for Walnut Hills United Pentecostal Church and new bedroom floors for Loisann's Hope House (assists homeless families), just to name a few.

This year's record number of teenage volunteers breaks the previous record of teenage volunteers by 50.

"WorkCamp gives me the opportunity to give back to the community while helping me strengthen my faith immensely," says 17-year-old Jesse Dwyer of St. Teresa Catholic Church. This is Dwyer's second WorkCamp. "Going to WorkCamp, I expected to change the lives of others. However, at the end of the week, I realized it changed my life as well," said Alec Brown, a senior at St. John Neumann. This will be his fourth year at WorkCamp.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the overall volunteer rate in 2015 declined by 0.4% to 24.9%, the volunteer rate among teenagers (16-19) remains high at a rate of 26.4%.

"These young men and women have been preparing since January by attending monthly classes focusing on tool safety, Catholic social teaching, and other details to get the most of the camp experience," explained Kevin Bohli, the Director for the camp. "What's more, each teen fundraised hundreds of dollars to work on somebody else's house in the hot summer sun!" Four-hundred adult leaders, volunteers and contractors will join the teenagers. 

This will be WorkCamp's 28th year sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington's Office of Youth Ministry, but the first located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The week-long experience-based out of Massaponax High School-will also include daily Mass, an evening program complete with music and talks to help the young people reflect upon the experience, and other high-energy activities for the youth and adult leaders.

"In loving our neighbor, we love Christ," said Bishop Paul S. Loverde. "WorkCamp is a profound, life-changing moment for so many teens, as they encounter Christ in their service to those with significant material needs."



To interview a teenage volunteer, the WorkCamp Director, and a recipient, contact Angela Pellerano, Director of Media Relations at A.Pellerano@arlingtondiocese.org, (703) 841-2517 (office), or (571) 215-8731 (mobile).  For more information on the Diocese of Arlington's 2016 WorkCamp, June 25-July 1, visit, www.arlingtondiocese.org/youth

Follow the digital coverage of WorkCamp on social media with #ArlingtonWC16. Find Arlington Youth Ministry @arlingtonyouth and the Arlington Diocese @arlingtonchurch.