There’s Still Time To Organize Your Summer Mission Trip

youth summer mission trip

Whether or not to take your students on a mission trip this summer is a more challenging decision than ever. We’re living through a pandemic, so is it safe? How many of my students will sign up? Will their parents be comfortable with having their teenagers travel to a new community? Will I even have time to pull it off? 

All of those questions are great ones with no easy answers, except for the last one! “Will I have time to pull it off?” If you truly desire for you and your students to serve on a mission trip together this summer but are worried that there’s no time to make it happen, let us assure you that there is. Don’t let this reason stop you from giving your students the opportunity to experience a life-changing mission trip. 

Yes, it’s easy for us to say that but we have good reason for it. Over the course of our 26 year ministry, it’s not uncommon for youth leaders to book a last minute mission trip as close as a few weeks before packing up the van and heading out. Now, we don’t suggest that you wait that long. It’s April, so every day is another day gone by. The sooner you make the decision, the better. 

So below are critical steps you’ll need to take to pull off a successful “last minute” mission trip. But before we get into all of that, let us just speak to the safety concerns of going on a mission trip during a pandemic.

COVID-Proofing Trips

We know that there are so many factors and considerations when planning a mission trip during a pandemic. We don’t want to spend the time it deserves here but if you want to read about the safety measures YouthWorks is implementing this summer to ensure the safest mission trip possible for your group, check out our COVID-Proofing Trips webpage. Everything you need to know about COVID safety on a YouthWorks trip can be found there. 

youth summer mission trip


Ok, you’ve made it this far, so you want to see what it’s going to take to pull off your mission trip. The first thing you’ll need to do is register. When registering for a trip, you’ll have to decide on these three things: 

  1. Location – There are several community types to choose from including Small Town, Small Urban, Large Urban, and Native American. While we usually serve in about 50 communities any given summer, due to COVID-19 we’re serving in 18 this summer so location options are limited although, we still have a great variety of communities to choose from. Also, we have a new option this year to serve on the US/Mexico border with Border Perspective. More info on South Texas Border Trips here.

  2. Dates – You’ll need to choose the week that you’ll want to go on your trip. An idea might be to look for a trip in July which will buy you more time for planning your trip. Again, dates are limited due to COVID-19 but we still have plenty of dates to choose from.

  3. Group Size – You’ll want to determine the size of the group you want to register for.  Remember, it’s always best to book spaces conservatively, so that you are only putting down deposits for individuals who will be going on the trip. You can always add more people if there is space available at your site location, however reducing your number of spaces may cause you to lose out on money down the road. 

Note: Locations, trip dates, and capacity is limited and spots are filling up fast. You can view all of your trip options here

Youth mission trip planning


Now that you’ve registered for your trip, you might be feeling overwhelmed but that’s ok. You got this! If fact, we got this together! 

Before we point you to some great resources for mission trip planning, we want to highlight YouthWorks’ Extended Care which is free of cost. In short, Extended Care is where we come alongside and assist you with any struggles you have in planning or preparing for your mission trip. We’re here for you to help with whatever you need. You’re not in this alone!

We’ve created a couple of resources that we’d like to point you to that will make your mission trip planning a lot easier and efficient. 

Mission Trip Planning GuidebookThis comprehensive guidebook walks you through the entire process of planning a mission trip. You can receive help with things like:

– Creating a trip budget
– Determining what to charge students
– Planning travel to and from your mission site

This information is crowdsourced from numerous youth workers who have been on YouthWorks trips in the past. It is their best advice on how they plan and fundraise for a mission trip. Our hope is that this guidebook is helpful for you and will free up your time so you can do what you do best, focus on leading your teenagers!

Recruiting Students Guidebook – Getting students signed up can be really tricky, especially for this summer. This guidebook is divided into three chapters: attracting students, drawing in the best adults for the job, and keeping everyone engaged in the process from beginning to end. 

YouthWorks also has other tools in the toolbox that can help you get students signed up. Use LIVE CHAT or call us at 800-968-8504 to contact a Trip Consultant so they can get you options for more resources and help you brainstorm ideas.

youth summer mission trip


Ok, you’ve registered for your trip and are now in the process of planning for your mission trip. Another thing to be aware of so you can budget accordingly is the payment plan. Our payment plan is broken down into a couple of payments (depending on when you registered). View our PAYMENT & PAPERWORK INFO page for the breakdown.

When your group is making each payment, what are you really paying for? Why would YouthWorks not just have you pay a lump sum payment right before you go on your trip? We’ve broken down these payments and the reasons why YouthWorks collects money in three rounds in this TRIP LEADER’S GUIDE TO THE PAYMENT PLAN.

fundraising for youth mission trips


Now that we went through the payment plan, you might be starting to wonder “How can I help my students fundraise for their mission trip and get our church or community to get involved and support the mission?” We’re so glad that you asked. We’ve created a brand new guidebook called 25 SAFE FUNDRAISING IDEAS FOR YOUTH LEADERS DURING COVID-19

This guidebook is a collection of fundraising ideas adapted to work in a pandemic. These will work really well and be easy to pull off, especially when your time is planning time is limited.

youthworks extended care


We mentioned Extended Care previously but wanted to call it out again because it’s so important and gets at the heart of our ministry. Consider YouthWorks your mission trip partner all the way through the mission trip process. We’re here to help and have 26 years of experience in proving youth mission trips. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge on our team of people who have been involved in youth mission trips for years. Reaching out might seem overwhelming but we can come alongside you and make your planning and preparations for your mission trip a lot easier. We have a ton of resources and can quickly get them in your hands. We have a wealth of knowledge to help you problem solve when you’re feeling stuck. Our fancy marketing term for this is Extended Care but it’s really just us partnering with you in ministry and letting your students experience God in a whole new way! 

local mission trips


We hope that we’ve convinced you that you still have time to pull off a mission trip and give your students the opportunity to serve others this summer. If those other questions around safety and traveling during a pandemic that we addressed at the beginning are a concern, consider a local mission trip where you can serve with your students in your own community. We call these SERVE AT HOME experiences. These trips are powerful in their own way as they illuminate some of the hidden needs in your community that you weren’t aware of and they’re encouraging because you get to partner with local ministries and see the work God is doing in your own community. Serving at home also provides the benefit of making lasting impacts in your community since you have access to serve with local partners year-round.  

We hope you can find a way to serve with your students this summer. Our community partners need volunteers now more than ever after a trying year. Here’s a great example why… 

We had a spring break trip happen last month in Denver, and the main community partner we served with actually gave his team the week off. It’s the first break they’ve had in over a year. They are exhausted and our spring break trip was a lifeline for them. It’s the boost they need to be able to continue their ministry long after we leave. That’s the common story across ALL of our community partners, no matter the location.  

So join us in serving on a mission trip this summer. God is up to something incredible, and we hope you and your students can be a part of it.  


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