Read what past LeaderworX members have to say about their experience.

“This might sound silly, but try not to come in with any expectations. I really think an open mind is key to getting the most out of LeaderworX. That being said, it’s always helpful to have an idea of what you’re going to be doing this summer. Expect the unexpected (sounds cliché I know, but it’s true). Things are going to happen that you may not be ready for and may not expect, but don’t worry these are not only challenges, often they end up being the best gifts of the summer. On that note, expect to be challenged and pushed outside of your comfort zone. The positive outcomes from it are incredible. Really start to think about what it means to live in community, because it is such an important element of the summer. Expect to give a lot of yourself to others, but also expect to receive back all that those you work with and encounter will give to you. Expect hard work, some long nights, and lost sleep. Also expect to bond a lot with the other leaders and to make some great friends. Your faith may be challenged and tested, but hold to it. Make time to pray and remember that you are the hands and feet of Jesus. Share that love with all those that you meet. Expect to learn on the job! You go through training and community building that first formation week, but you really will learn the most during that first WorX week. Expect to learn a great deal about the area, the world, others, and yourself. I hope you use this summer to discover what you’re most passionate about. Once you do, never forget it. This summer will be a great learning experience if you’re open to all that it has to offer.”

“LeaderworX is time consuming but even with all the responsibilities of being a leader, one does not have to do everything on their own. The LeaderworX community is supportive and if one is uncomfortable with any task, then someone is always willing to help you out. Also expect to be challenged in ways that you never would have imagined. There are activities that push you to be vulnerable and if we are not vulnerable as leaders, then how can we expect the participants to be open with us? In the end, expect to fall in love with this place as it will hold a special place in your heart.”

“Expect to have the best summer of your life. You will meet incredible people in the people you work with, the people you encounter on trips, and the teens themselves. Expect long days and longer nights. It’s exhausting in so many ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually, but it is also gratifying. There will be so many more moments that will make you want to pull your hair out and cry than there will be gratifying ones, but those are the moments that will get you through another day. Expect to be challenged living in community, but expect to love those same people like a houseful of crazy siblings. Expect the teens to push you to your limits of patience and kindness, but then expect to miss them like crazy when the week is over, and come home bragging about your group. But then again, don’t expect anything. Come into the summer with an open mind and heart, and just be present to the entire experience.”

“To truly be challenged emotionally but also learning to accept the challenges and differences the community will encounter along the way. This experience is truly what one decides to make it. Expect and allow yourself to come out of this experience a totally different person!”

“Expect to be stretched in a holy and beautiful way. This summer you will go through the gifts and challenges with living in community; get ready to love! This summer you will get a chance to not only lead others in service, but be at the service of those serving. Expect to be challenged by your students, their problems, awkwardness… in the same breath, expect to be challenged to grow in charity by the example your students set. Expect to rely on your LeaderworX community and to be stretched to love and serve beyond your capacity.”

“Don’t have expectations. Don’t come in with an agenda, because I’m telling you right now it’s going to be blown away within the first week. Don’t expect to know how service, community life, and personal interactions will occur. My advice is approach everything with an open mind. You will only experience this summer once (even if you do the program for more than one year, the experience will not be exactly the same). Since you only do it once, enjoy every moment. Even when times seem crappy, I promise you will grow from it and will eventually look back and have happy thoughts!”

“I’d say to expect to spend time in community and engage in community activities, for those formation weeks were a big part of my summer. It was not just about leading service, but also learning about fellow community members, building community, and being a part of the larger Trenton community. The weeks spent not leading service groups were important for my personal formation, which I did not realize would be the case. So, I’d say to expect also great personal development in faith and knowledge beyond leadership.”

“Whatever you expect based on the typical Catholic camp or service experience, forget it. LeaderworX is unlike anything else. The community is going to be filled with differing personalities that are reflected in pretty much everything they do – the way they wash dishes, lead a group of students, express their faith, etc. This community becomes your family and you will laugh with them, be constantly challenged by them, jam out to tacky top 40 radio with them, celebrate the Eucharist with them, and have an incredible summer with them! Expect to grow in your faith, knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching, communication skills, and appreciation for snack time. Just remember that it is okay to be drawn to some people more than others, to ask for help, and not always think that service is fun. You will learn what service means and just how meaningful one week can be. Expect lots of face to face communication and not a lot of texting, lots of sandwiches, to learn more than you instruct, to do things for the first time, to make the most of a week, and to spend lots of time outdoors. Most of all, expect to have the best summer of your life if you fully invest in the experience.”

“It’s really challenging to give an image of what to expect, I can say that everyone should come with open hearts and minds and let the Holy Spirit flow through all aspects of the program. I feel like the whole point of the program is to grow with God and our global family through service and social justice conversations, so maybe everyone should expect that to grow spiritually and emotionally – your perceptions must be challenged!”

“There are two types of WorX programs: ServiceworX for middle school youth and JusticeworX for high school teens. Both of them are week-long retreats that, in addition to prayer and community time, focus primarily on service to others. Each week you will be part of a team of people that will organize and facilitate one of these retreats at a variety of locations. The ServiceworX participants return home every day, so you will return to the CASA each day; the JusticeworX participants stay on site for the entire week, and you will be joining them. As a member of LeaderworX, it will be your responsibility to live and work together with your fellow LeaderworX members, prepare retreat locations for the summer, and organize and facilitate the events of each particular week with your staff for that week, which will usually involve your participation in things like leading group activities, guiding group discussions, and conducting service projects.”

“Expect to be welcomed with open arms by community members and to embrace it even if it something you’re not used to. Also, expect a lot of activities meant to bring the LeaderworX community together on a deeper level. On JusticeworX, be prepared for very long days all week long and only little sleep! Expect to not be able to get along with everyone, that is what happens sometimes, but we all learn to live in community and appreciate one another.”

“Expect plenty of food while you are there! Also, be ready to deal with odd sleep hours – some late nights and some early mornings. Be ready to talk in front of large and small groups and be ready to lead discussions. Expect to meet plenty of outgoing people your first few weeks; try your best to remember them and their names. It is very important that you can work with different types of people. Expect to encounter a wide range of personalities from your supervisors, coworkers, and participants.”

“Expect that you will click with some people more easily than others but it is important to keep trying to forge relationships with everyone in the community.  A LeaderworX summer is one of adventure and being pushed out of your comfort zone; if you don’t step out of your box to meet new people you won’t get everything possible out of the summer.”

“To be part of LeaderworX means to be part of a family that works together toward a mutual, important, and complex goal. Not complex in the way that it is difficult, but complex in the sense that it brings about numerous opportunities and experiences of learning and growth beyond what you can imagine. LeaderworX is a group that leads programs for middle and high school teens to experience various types of service. To be part of LeaderworX requires a lot of physical and internal energy, but in my experience, I was refueled by my fellow LeaderworX staff as well as the teens and the people I was serving. You live in community with your fellow LeaderworX members, and the experience is unique and challenging, yet is so much fun. The entire LeaderworX experience has the chance to be so much for you. My advice: if you want to get the most out of your experience, drop your expectations.”

“LeaderworX participants can expect to be challenged physically, emotionally and spiritually. Working non-stop for nine weeks can take its toll physically, so it’s important to take time for yourself and eat healthy. Emotionally, there will be days when it all seems like too much and you will wonder what you got yourself into. Lean on your community and on your faith to get through. Spiritually, this summer will test you because you will encounter people who do not interpret faith the way you do. Take it as a lesson in tolerance, not an opportunity to attack. There will be days when you hate it but you will experience God and the beauty of love and community so much this summer, and that will make the hard days worthwhile.”

“The biggest thing to expect from LeaderworX is the unexpected. Due to the community living and actual work component during your time at the center, no one day is the same as another. You will meet all sorts of different people, serve at a wide range of service sites, probably feel uncomfortable at times and through all of this, most importantly, you will grow. Expect change in many positive ways.”

“Expect a fantastic summer as long as you have an open mind and willing hand to help.  You will be placed in situations like serving at a soup kitchen, facilitating conversations between 13 year olds, and walking into a home for mentally disabled adults with five teenagers trailing behind you.  As long as you refuse to be scared and allow God to help you, you will always come away from your experiences having learned something.  Do not expect a lot of free time or a lot of sleep, but be prepared for community building and late night discussions revolving around your faith journey. Expect cooking, working, driving, attending Mass, and community service as a family, because that’s what your housemates are. Expect to find the teens on retreat to be equal parts challenging and inspiring. That way you’ll keep your sanity. Expect a lot of help which will always be available to you.  Expect long car rides, especially to West Virginia. Bring music and games. Expect to be humbled this summer in the best way possible.”

“LeaderworX is a great opportunity for you to grow and to help form the minds of  others you work with. You are going to be challenged and you are going to experience conflict. This is not a bad thing for it is through conflict that growth happens. The important part is to be yourself, to be the person God has created you to be. This includes all of your little quirks and personality traits. LeaderworX is an opportunity for you to grow as a person, so make sure and bring your whole self to the program!”

“Be ready to experience the best summer of your life! You are going to have an amazing time at LeaderworX. The best part of this experience is that you will develop relationships with members of an awesome community of students, brothers and sisters who share the same faith and are passionate about serving God and serving their neighbors. Always have a positive attitude with the youth that you will be serving and develop relationships with them as well. Bring your acoustic guitar or ukulele, congas, skateboard or longboard, a soccer ball, and all of your energy to participate and do a lot of service learning. You are going to learn many new things especially living in community.”

“With this experience, I saw on previous “what to expect posts” that they had a life changing summer or the best summer of their lives. I thought they were being dramatic or trying to make people want to be leaders, but I was so so wrong. I can say I had the most life changing, beautiful and fun summer ever. Yes, expect stress. Expect it to be scary the first formation week during training when you have no idea what you are doing or what to expect. Expect it to be awkward for the first bit of this with the community of leaders. Expect there to be unexpected issues during the trips, whether with the kids or at sites or even challenges within yourself to stay awake or be positive. But, expect to have an incredible and intentional leader community to lean on during the difficult times, make you laugh when there is nothing else you want to do but cry, and just simply be there for you. Expect to do the same for them. Expect to have fun, whether it is singing songs in the vans, goofing off during staff meetings, or joking around with the kids. Go in without expectations, and just let things happen. Expect that it will all be okay. Expect to find God and find love in the simplest of things and within the people around you.”

“These past two summers have been the best of my life. I have met some amazing friends, fallen in love with the city of Trenton, been challenged in so many ways, and loved every minute of it. The fewer expectations you go into the summer with the better. Except that you will be tired. So very tired. But that it will be worth it, and that you will come off each trip with such a happiness, and love of service and love of your fellow Leaderworx and the kids. It’s all consuming in the best way possible. Your fellow LeaderworX are the most amazing part of this experience. No one else quite gets what you are going through like these guys. They’ll make you laugh in the difficult times, cheer you on when your struggling, and celebrate your successes like no other.”

My process can be described like this: interested in getting to know new people, overwhelmed, struggling with the language, vulnerable, supported, happy, sad, lonely, supported, happy. I became closer to God, I lived my faith with people my age who then became my fam, I taught a lot of things to the kids (based on the palancas, which I didn’t expect), I had a lot of fun, laughter, tears, happiness, and support. I also learned how to accept, socialize and love everyone. The thing about vocations is that, at least for me, the program didn’t help me specifically to discern a vocation. It helped me more than I expected on my vocation, but I think I am probably not ready yet to know what am I going to do for the rest of my life. I learned a lot about vocations, like I have to be open and ready to accept what God wants me to do, because He knows me better than I do and He knows what is going to make me happy.”

“I would tell everyone to expect the unexpected. To be open to everything that comes your way. To expect long, fulfilling service weeks. To be ready to be challenged in your weakest and strongest abilities. To cry and laugh so hard all in the same night. To grow as a child of God. To be ready to drive long distances with a van full of high schoolers. To learn to not judge someone by their current or past circumstances because we are all one. And lastly, to always be present. This will be a phenomenal summer that you will never forget.”

“Expect to communicate with people you may not have come into contact with before and for your preconceived notions to be challenged. Ideally, come in with no expectations and an open mind because you may miss out on something transformative and meaningful if you close yourself off. (If you see that a lot of us are saying the same overall message in these paragraphs, it’s because it’s true!) Expect to experience growth (if you let yourself) and to say some difficult goodbyes. Lastly, you’ll need to bank on trust — trust in your fellow leaders and especially trust in God that things will work out the way they need to.”

“Be prepared for a summer of growth! Growth spiritually, emotionally, physically and even in ways you may not want to grow in. You will learn to engage with others as well as your inner self, build community, express your faith, challenge yourself in service, and reflect with others on the experiences you have. Expect not everyone to be on the same page in their faith journey, definition of community, level of engagement or expectations of the summer. Don’t dwell on these differences but allow yourself to bond with those you do see eye to eye with but also be challenged by those who have a different view. Don’t expect to have a super tight bond with every kid in your service or family group but engage each of them. Expect to feel more like a supervisor at points than actual volunteer at some of the sites. You have to remember that you are there for the students and their needs and protection are more important than your own desire to serve. Be open, be confident, be strong, be real and an amazing summer is in store!”

“Expect to never want to leave! Expect to want to live with your LeaderworX fam forever! It will be very overwhelming at first but you have your community there to lean on. Expect to get out what you put in. If you are intentional and make an effort then you will get so much out of it. Expect to be very tired but take refuge in the Lord! Some weeks we were surviving solely on His grace! And humor! When you feel like crying, just laugh!”

“I would tell someone to expect a long and exhausting summer but to also expect to have an incredible summer filled with friendships, faith, and service.  I would also tell them expect to be really overwhelmed at times but to know that the community is there for you every step of the way.”

“Expect that you will get out of this summer what you put into it.  Expect that you have to open yourself up, be vulnerable, and initiate conversation if you want to form meaningful relationships. Expect to be running on empty from early mornings, late nights, and hard days, but expect to be fulfilled by the work you do and the people you’re with. Expect to be in the car a LOT. Expect some WorX  participants to drive you crazy with their shenanigans and some to astound you with their incredibly thoughtful insights and beautiful hearts. Expect that oftentimes those participants are one and the same. Expect to meet an extremely wide array of people and expect each and every one to teach you something – but only if you are open to listening and learning. Expect that you won’t always see eye to eye with your community members and that you will grow from that. Expect things not to go according to plan. Expect to be challenged in your faith in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Expect that you will not leave this program the same as you came. Expect to grow and expect that you might not realize it until long after you leave 24 Rossa Ave.”

” Drop expectations and go into the summer ready to be stretched, to be inspired by your peers, to give what you have to give, to meet people you would have never had the opportunity to meet and to let them change you with the gifts and wisdom that they bring. Let your world and mind be broadened and allow yourself to experience God’s love in new ways.”

“Expect to have one of the most memorable summers of your life. Expect to have one of the most exhausting and challenging summers of your life. Expect to have long days with short nights of sleep. When I first arrived I was told that I would grow a lot in “the Garden State”. That is an understatement. If you apply yourself and are open, you will definitely grow in your faith and as a leader. Know that you will be asked to drive about 10 hours with a van full of kids. But it’s fun and worth it because West Virginia is awesome. Formation weeks can be a lot of fun and you will have time to go out and enjoy New Jersey and surrounding areas if you so choose. There is a lot of time to spend with the Leaderworx community, which is super important because you have the opportunity to make life long friends and to grow together in your faith. You also want to have a strong community during JusticeworX and ServiceworX because you have to be able to rely on each other.  Overall, expect to have a great, fun, and challenging summer. Personally, I had the best summer of my life participating in LeaderworX. Cheers.”

“I would tell someone, to expect the unexpected. There will be amazing times where you never in your life thought you could laugh so hard, or be working with a great, diverse, community & city. There will be tough times, where your community members will be right there for you to lean on and receive encouraging words. Last but not least, expect your heart to be touched by so many awesome and bright kids that attend these camps.”

“The LeaderworX experience is a paradox, it will be awesome and awful, easy and difficult, happy and sad, but at the end of the day, it is going to be great, because it changes you in the sense that you end the summer knowing more of who you are and what you want. Expect to take out of the LeaderworX experience exactly what you put in. Be willing to take the challenges this experience will offer you, do the things you want to even if you don’t feel like it! No one will be controlling you, they tell you what to do and you just need to push yourself and do it! Why? Because it is only by embracing and trusting the thousand of occasions you have in front of you during the summer that you will win thousand of happy and learning moments. And remember, this “pushing yourself” is difficult, but totally worth it! So, expect to feel tired but truly happy and loved by a God who reaches you through the community you are living with and the poor you are serving. Expect the summer to be your best and your worst one, but once again, at the end of the day this summer is going to be just one of the greatest experiences of your life!”

“Expect to be changed in ways more than you think is even possible. Expect to be challenged in your beliefs and concept of faith. You will leave this summer with a strong faith base built upon your personal experiences with people you will not only meet, but will know, and I’m not just talking about your fellow LeaderworX. You will leave with lifelong friends and memories and a family in the CFJ community that will always be there. You will leave wanting to come back. It truly is life changing. But most importantly, you will leave with a strong love for those you serve and a need to seek social justice.”

“It will definitely be the best summer of your life. It’s very important for you to know that you need to get out of your comfort zone. Know that all of the activities require a lot of effort from you. Everything will be as good as the effort and enthusiasm you put into it. I didn’t know what to expect and everything was just amazing!”

“When people tell you this summer is amazing, they’re not lying! However, I wouldn’t come in with the expectation that the summer is perfect at every moment. There will be challenges; you will be tested physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, you will see that at the end of the summer, those challenges were where you grow the most.”

 “Expect to be challenged more than you have ever been before in your leadership, your creativity, and your faith. Bring an open heart and a willingness to serve and you will have the best summer of your life.”

“Be prepared for your expectations to be exceeded and to grow in ways you were not aware you would. Living in community is the most challenging and rewarding experience ever.”