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Diocese launches parish-based ‘Re-Boot’ WorkCamp

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Every year, hundreds of teens from around the diocese descend on a high school, splinter into teams and fix up homes throughout the area. While always a logistical challenge, with evolving safety guidelines, a gathering of that size didn’t seem possible or safe to have this year, even for a good cause. So the WorkCamp team began to reimagine what the annual week of service could look like.

“Like everybody, we’ve just been trying to read the signs, trying to figure out which ways things are going to go, but there comes a point where we needed to commit (to a new plan) and make it happen,” said Kevin Bohli, director of the diocesan Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministries. “We started talking about different options with (Bishop Michael F. Burbidge), and listening to pastors and directors of youth ministry to see what they wanted to do. And that's how we landed where we are.”

That new plan is Re-Boot. In the best case-scenario, participating youth groups will gather at their own parishes June 21-25 to worship together, eat a bag lunch and do a service project on-site or nearby. After dinner, they’ll watch the evening program of speakers and music via private broadcast. Bishop Burbidge, performer Steve Angrisano and musician Matt Maher are scheduled to address the teens.

If small gatherings are still not permitted in late June, WorkCampers will be encouraged to do service in their own home or neighborhood. They can still tune into the nightly program and will receive a devotional journal and WorkCamp T-shirt. “There may be cases where people can’t get together at all, especially since our diocese is broken into two different (phase) zones,” said Bohli. “We’re trying to help parishes have as much of a program as possible. We see this as a service, something we’re offering to the parishes and they can make it as a la carte as possible.”

Bohli and his team are disappointed WorkCampers won’t be able to help fix the homes of residents in the Winchester area, where the camp was scheduled to be held. “Unfortunately, we’ve had to mail letters to all those people and let them know we will not be able to do their projects this year,” said Bohli. “That’s the hardest part.”

But they’re glad to offer teens a chance to do something spiritually productive during this difficult time. Many parishes that had planned to attend other now-canceled work camps have since registered for Re-Boot, said Bohli. “We want (the teens) to understand that service begins at home,” he said. 

Find out more

Go to arlingtondiocese.org/workcamp. Contact your parish youth minister to see if your parish is participating. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020

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