So it’s almost December and you are worrying about the Youth Christmas Party, the Coat Drive , the Advent Festival, and what gift to give your youth sponsors. Who has time to worry about next summer’s mission trip?! Although it’s true that summer is still 6 months away, the smart youth minister will have reservations for their mission trip(s) by the end of the year. Why should you worry about that now? Because the best mission locations fill up early. There are a good number of locations that are already full for most of the summer weeks. And you definitely don’t want to be stuck going to a place that is 3 days drive from your church!
What should you do if you don’t already have reservations? Start looking for a place today. Here are the steps:
First, figure out what week your mission trip needs to be. If you are lucky, you will have a couple of weeks that are possible mission trip dates in your church’s schedule.
Second, figure out how far you are willing to go. I like to limit my trips to 1 days drive, or about 500 miles from my church.
Third, decide what kind of work you want for your youth. If you do mission trips divided by age, then you want to find Junior high friendly work for the younger youth and more difficult work for the older youth. If you take your whole group together, you want a place that is safe for everyone.
At this point, you know what you are looking for and you can winnow down your choices more easily. There are some places that put together mission trips for youth for you. Although it is nice to have most of the work done for you, they tend to be more expensive. Talk with your youth worker friends and ask them where they have been in the past that they would recommend. I also found a document that lists United Methodist projects in the United States . I have been to several of these projects and can recommend: C2K in Dallas TX , Epworth Project in Slidell LA , and Upper Sands Mountain Parish in AL . If you find a place that you haven’t been before, don’t forget to do a pre-trip to check out the place or ask them for several references that you can check out. And when you do find a place, be sure to make van reservations. The sooner you make them, the less they will cost!
What are your favorite mission trip destinations and why do you like them? Or what places have you gone that you won’t go to again, and why? Knowledge is power, my friends!
Georgia Harrison is a veteran and certified youth worker in the North Texas Conference. She’s an ordained deacon and an all around awesome person. She is married to Charles Harrison and they have amazing kids. The whole family has a heart for missions like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, if you’d like to tell her how great she is or just hear more about mission opportunities, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be blessed. (Georgia didn’t write her own bio, just in case you were wondering. -EJ)