Frequently asked questions


What does registration cover?

- Mission week selection, organization, and administration by our mission team. - Coordination with local social service agencies. - All meals during the mission week. - Lodging at a local high school, church or retreat center. - Inspirational, motivational, and faith/relationship building programs. - General Liability insurance. - Themed mission week t-shirt. - Development and organization of future SHINE mission weeks.

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?

SHINE does not give refunds. You will receive credit for a future SHINE 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
Once we receive your deposits, you are locked in for that price and can add more spots later on if there is still space available (call to check availability).


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?

When SHINE started in 2000, most service weeks were called work camps. So once SHINE started, it only made sense to call it a work camp. We have called it SHINE Catholic Work Camp for 19 years, but because SHINE is more like a retreat than a work camp, we decided that the time was right to change our name to SHINE Catholic Missions. We still have the same mission, just with a new name.

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. Every SHINE mission week offers daily mass, adoration, service projects, high energy praise & worship, fun team building activities, delicious homestyle cooked meals, nightly skits, youth group prayer time, great guest speakers, a talent show, and a team of really cool and engaging staff members. "We don't strive to be the biggest...we just strive to be the best."

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). Participants will then return back to the school/facility and have free time for showering, (showers may be taken at other facilities depending if the school has showers or not) recreation, writing letters, and resting until dinner. After dinner, everyone will meet in the "program area" for evening program which consists of games, ice breakers, skits put on by the "God Squad," jammin' praise and worship with the SHINE Praise Team, motivational speakers, praying, singing, dancing, and fun! After programming, youth groups will meet for nightly prayer and then have free time to socialize, pray in the chapel, or just hang-out until "lights out." Friday night, there is a "SHINE's Got Talent" show where any participant can sign-up and showcase their gifts and talents for everyone. On Saturday morning, everyone packs up and helps clean the host school/facility before they head home to SHINE!

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. If someone in your group is interested in joining God Squad, please have them include it in their SHINE profile.

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.

Is there a "free" day?

Starting in 2022 SHINE will be offering a Free Day for certain events.

Do you offer anything for Middle School students?

Starting in 2022 SHINE will be offering a parish work camp called HOPE Work Camp that can be modified for middle school students. It is designed as a 3 day event that begins on a Friday night and ends on Sunday afternoon. It can take place in your parish hall and has the same dynamics of a mission week without the overnight stay. There will be music, fun and games, mass, talks, and an opportunity to serve parishoners in need . We bring the production team, By offering middle schoolers a weekend mission experience, it helps them prepare for summer mission trips later on when they enter high school. If you are interested in having a HOPE Work Camp at for your parish, call or email us to discuss details.


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. Anyone 18 and over must be in compliance with their Diocesan Safe Enviroment policy.

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. We require 1 male/female chaperone for every 5 male/female students.

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. - SHINE will not involve or put anyone in jeopardy by putting them in dangerous situations. - No one under 18 will be allowed to use any kind of power tools. - No participant is allowed to work on roofs. - Safety goggles are made available for workers as needed and are required when power saws or drills are used. - Each participant will try to be matched to a project he/she can handle comfortably. - First Aid kits will be assigned to every work group. In addition, each participant should drink adequate liquids and are requested to bring and wear protective clothing, shoes, hats, gloves, and sun screen. - Close adult supervision is built into the program. Youth leaders are requested to bring only responsible and service-oriented young people who will work carefully in the program.

Safe Enviroment

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. - Any participant 18 years and older are required to complete their own diocesan safe enviroment training. - All adults must sign a notarized Youth Protection Policy (adult volunteers will NOT be allowed to participate without this form).

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. SHINE makes arrangements for the priest to stay in either the rectory of the host parish or in a classroom seperate from the teens.


Do you have to be vaccinated to attend SHINE?

Due to the severity of the Covid19 variant, we strongly encourage participants to get vaccinated before coming. This will help keep everyone safe without having to worry about spreading the virus. Every participant will be required to sign a Covid19 Liabilty Release Form before coming.

Are we required to wear a mask?

If you are fully vaccinated you do not have to wear a mask, however if you are not vaccinated we ask that you wear a mask while indoors or if you are working on an indoor project out of respect for those we will be serving.