Frequently asked questions
What does registration cover?
What if I have to cancel spots?
If you have to cancel any spots, please let us know so we can adjust your balance accordingly.
Can I get a refund?
If you choose not to attend your chosen mission week anymore, you can get a refund (minus deposits). This policy only applies if you let us know in advance. You may also get a SHINE credit (minus deposits) for use at a future mission week.
How much does it cost?
Determining the cost depends on when you register. The cost of the camp increases monthly, so the best thing to do is:
Know which SHINE week you and your group want to attend
Register for the amount of spots you know you can fill
Send in your deposits
Where do we stay?
Normally, SHINE will stay at a Catholic high school or church in the area. It will be used for lodging, programming, and meals. Showers are often times available at the host facility, other times they are made available at nearby high school. Participants bring their own sleeping bags, air mattresses, or other bedding (twin only) and sleep in classrooms. Adult chaperones are assigned to their own youth groups according to Local Diocesan Policies. There are separate sleeping quarters for males and females. Meals are prepared in the school kitchen by trained kitchen personnel and participants will eat meals in the host facility cafeteria (balanced, nutritious, and plentiful meals are provided).
How do we get there?
Most groups travel in vans and small buses (this depends on the number of people you bring). These same vehicles will also be used to transport groups to and from their work sites. (Due to Diocesan polices not allowing the use of 15 passenger vans to transport teens, you must have a 12 passenger van or a personal vehicle that seats at least 6 passengers). State laws require that all vehicles must be equipped with enough seat belts for all riders. If you choose to fly to a SHINE location, you must arrange to rent vehicles which can be picked up upon arrival at the airport. To keep the cost of registration low, all groups are responsible for all vehicle expenses.
What if we have to leave early?
Some groups leave Friday night after programming to get a head start on the road. If you plan on leaving early, please let us know in advance so we can plan accordingly.
Why the name change?
What is SHINE?
SHINE is a Catholic-based mission/service retreat based outside of Houston, Texas. SHINE stands for "Servin’ Him In the Needy and the Elderly" and was founded by Augie & Dawn Leal in the summer of 2000. Augie, with his music, youth ministry, and retreat experience and Dawn with her hospitality degree and youth ministry background, both decided back in 1999 to create a ministry that would give teens, young adults, and youth ministers the chance to serve those in need while growing in their catholic faith. Now entering its 20th summer, SHINE has encouraged thousands of teens and young adults from all the country to share the light of Christ with others and live out their baptismal call to serve.
What does the schedule look like?
Once you arrive, the contact person will check-in and make sure everyone gets settled into their sleeping quarters. Afterwards, participants will go to the "program area" to learn more about SHINE and its mission, get to know other attendees, receive important team-work skills training, and celebrate the Eucharist with an awesome liturgy. SHINE participants start every day with an early breakfast and morning mass. Once mass is over, each work group will pick up their supplies and leave the school/facility to their work site where they will participate in their project until the afternoon (lunches are taken with the work groups to work-sites).
What is the "God Squad?"
The "God Squad" is a group of teens who volunteer to be a part of a small skit during evening program. These skits are silently acted out to a song and portray a spiritual message. Those who participate in God Squad can have stage experience or not; just as long as they are willing to share a message thorugh song.
Will my teens grow in their faith?
Absolutely! At SHINE, we encourage and teach everyone, especially the youth, how to live out there baptismal call to serve. You and your teens will spiritually grow and be renewed through songs of praise, celebration of the Eucharist, inspirational witness talks, and God’s amazing love in the sacrament of reconciliation and adoration.
What is a D.R.T. Week?
D.R.T or Disaster Response Team Week is something SHINE has been doing for the last 10 years. Except now, it just has a name. It is open to any high school youth or young adults who are willing to help those affected by natural disasters. We team up with local agencies and churches that are in areas in need of assisatnce with debris removal, mucking, rebuilding, painting, or anything pertaining to a disaster recovery process. The days will be hard and you will get dirty, so please be aware of this. Click here to find out where we are getting DRT-Y next year.
Is there a "free" day?
Because we have come to serve those in need, we do not offer a free day. However, you are more than welcome to plan one on your way to or after you leave SHINE.
Do you offer anything for Middle School students?
Yes and No.
Who can come to SHINE?
SHINE is open to anyone entering high school as well as any young adult or college age student up to the age of 20. Once they turn 21, they will be considered an adult and are eligeble to come as an adult chaperone.
How many people come to SHINE?
SHINE is a place where we like to get to know as many participants as possible and build good fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ. In saying that, SHINE mission weeks normally range anywhere between 100-250 volunteers (depending on the amount of sleeping space we have access to).
What is expected of my chaperones?
Each adult chaperone will be assigned to a work group. This adult will be a part of the work team just like the teens. We depend on adults to work side by side with the teens and not just stand around and supervise. Teens need encouragement and the adult leaders need to be willing to encourage their team. We also depend on the adults to supervise their own parish teens while at the school during free time and programming.
Will my teens be mixed with other teens?
At SHINE, we believe that working together as a parish community works best. However, we do try to team your small group with another small groups from another parish. In doing this, everyone has the opportunity to meet others. Each work group consists of 6 volunteers from your parish. There is 1 adult and 5 teeens per group and we leave the dividing up of small groups up to you because you are the one who knows your teens and adults best. There is also adequate free time each afternoon and evening for the teens to hang-out with each other.
Can I bring my family?
Absolutely! Since we are all about doing ministry as a family, we encourage families to come and SHINE together. If you wish to come as a family rather than in a parish group, just give us a call to discuss your options.
What kind of work projects will we do?
SHINE partakes in a variety of service projects. These projects can be, but are not limited to, refurbishing homes by doing things such as painting, weatherizing, housecleaning, landscaping, yard work, basic construction, hanging doors, and windows (just to name a few). Participants may also help with cleaning up vacant lots, helping at a day care center for low income families, or working at a shelter. The goal of the service projects is for the participants to build up hope in the community and ultimately search for ways they can go back home and serve in their own communities.
How are work projects chosen?
SHINE tries its best to cooperate with various agencies such as Habitat For Humanity, Catholic Charities, UMCOR, United Way, and local churches in each city to choose the sites and write up work assignments. Residents who qualify for home repairs must be unable to do or afford repair work on their homes. Typically, residents are elderly, disabled, or unemployed. A SHINE representative will make every effort to inspect the work-sites before the camp and check the safety and appropriateness of the project. SHINE reserves the right to reject any projects that do not meet the qualification guidelines.
What if we have no experience?
As long as you and your group have the "nerve to serve," there really is no concern. There is plenty of work that needs to be done and takes little to no experience at all. SHINE will do a safety session at the beginning of the week and will never ask anyone to participate in projects they are not equipped to handle.
How well supervised and safe is SHINE?
SHINE takes supervision and safety very seriously. Aside from the SHINE staff and associates, each youth group participating must bring 1 adult chaperone for every 5 teens. Youth participants must be entering high school in the fall. Only adult chaperones listed by their churches as "designated drivers" are allowed to drive to work sites. Due to Diocesan safety policies, 15 passenger vans are no longer allowed. Adult chaperones should provide supervision of their work group at work sites and at the school.
What about liabilty and safe enviroment?
SHINE carries it's own General Liability Insurance policy that covers SHINE and any agencies we work with. It does not cover attendees. Everyone in attendance should have some sort of personal health/medical insurance in the unlikely case medical attention is needed.
Can our priest come?
Yes, but they must first send a letter of good standing from their home diocese to the diocese where SHINE is taking place. SHINE would not be able to celebrate mass and adoration or offer the sacrament of reconciliation without our priests.