WorkFest (College Alternative Spring Break)

WorkFest is Christian Appalachian Project’s alternative spring break for groups of college students. The event attracts more than 400 students from 40 different colleges and universities each March. At WorkFest, students serve in teams to repair substandard housing and build new homes for low-income families in Eastern Kentucky. No prior building experience is necessary.

WorkFest is about service to the poor, but it’s also about building community in an ecumenical Christian environment. Students lead each other in devotion in the morning and evening, and each college group gathers nightly for a separate reflection time. We’ve seen WorkFest change lives, not just those of the families served, but of the students as well. If you have questions or would like to register your group, please contact us at

WorkFest FAQ

When is WorkFest 2016?

Week 1 – February 28 – March 4 (FULL)
Week 2 – March 6-11 (FULL)
Week 3 – March 13-18
Week 4 – March 20-25

How many people can we bring?

Maximum of 10 people (students and faculty/staff). Higher numbers may be permitted during less popular weeks (typically the last two weeks in March).

What will we do?

  • Upon arrival at WorkFest, students from participating schools are divided into teams of 7-12 students and 2-3 experienced crew leaders. Students will typically serve on one home during the week. Projects may include roofing, hanging drywall, flooring, painting, siding, window replacement, insulation, underpinning, and new home construction. Students are also encouraged to get to know the the homeowner families with whom they are serving.
  • Prior to students’ arrival, CAP asks leaders and students to spend some time reading about the unique cultural and economic characteristics of Eastern Kentucky. At WorkFest, evening programming introduces students to Appalachian music and culture.

How will we get to CAP? Is transportation provided once we arrive?

  • Groups provide their own transportation to Kentucky.
  • Transportation must be in the form of a van(s), either owned by the college or rented.
  • Groups must make vans available as transportation to and from job sites Monday through Thursday.
  • Your school must be able to transport students from other colleges in your college-owned or rented vehicle(s). Your students must be able to ride in college-owned or rented vehicle(s) from other participating colleges.

*If CAP’s transportation requirements will prevent your students from participating in our program, please contact us to discuss alternatives. *

How much does it cost?

  • Because of the high number of colleges interested in WorkFest, pre-registration is necessary.  A $200 non-refundable registration fee is required.  Please note that the registration fee will not be deducted from the final cost, but is in addition to the participation fee of $225 per person.
  • The fee for participating in WorkFest is $225 per person.
  • $225 covers expenses for facilities, three meals/day, entertainment, and helps pay for job materials.

*Payment is due prior to your group’s scheduled arrival.*

What are the accommodations?

  • Accommodations are arranged and provided by CAP Sunday evening through Friday morning.
  • Students and college leaders stay in single-sex dorms or cabins at a camp or CAP groups facility.
  • Showers are available, though hot water may be limited.

What is the Spirituality component?

  • CAP is an interdenominational Christian organization, and daily devotions are an essential part of all CAP volunteer life, including at WorkFest. Each college group will be assigned a morning or evening to lead the large group in a 10-minute devotion. Devotions can include scripture readings, music, and/or reflections on Christianity and social justice. College groups also meet nightly for reflection time to prayerfully discuss their experiences of the day.
  • Devotions at WorkFest are almost entirely student-led, so the strength of the spiritual experience depends on the strength of our student-led devotions. Please come prepared to offer a meaningful ecumenical devotion or reflection so that all students may leave WorkFest spiritually refreshed and challenged. Although non-Christian students and secular student groups are welcome at WorkFest, participation in devotion is expected. Groups discerning participation in WorkFest should understand that Spirituality is an intrinsic part of our spring break program.
What do we need to bring?
  • A full packing list will be sent to each group leader prior to arrival. See our “what to bring” list to get a sense of what you will and won’t need.
Who comes to WorkFest?
  • Groups are typically sponsored by campus ministries or service-learning offices. See our participating schools for a complete list.

What time should we arrive? When do we depart?

  • Participating college groups must arrive between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday of the week spring break is scheduled. Inclement weather, such as snow or heavy rain would be the only exception for late arrival.
  • All students and faculty/staff must participate in WorkFest orientation. Orientation will be held on Sunday afternoon, beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m.
  • Participating college groups must stay until the closing program is complete on Friday morning at approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • Groups must leave following closing on Friday, as the facilities need to be cleaned and prepared for the following week.
How do I obtain the required background checks?
Each group member is required to have a background check performed prior to arrival. Contact us at if you have questions about how to go about obtaining these checks. Some schools ask students to obtain a background check from their local police departments while at home for Christmas break.