Get answers to frequently asked questions about working on Summer Staff at YouthWorks.
Summer Staff FAQs
YouthWorks mission trips began in 1994 to provide quality, affordable, Christ-centered mission opportunities for teenagers. That first summer, we had two mission sites with over 400 youth participating in mission trips. Over 28 years later, we have 25 mission sites and over 10,000 participants joining us in service during the summer.
Each week a group of approximately 65 teenagers and their Adult Leaders come to sites to participate in service. These groups, coming from across the country and many denominational backgrounds, arrive on Sunday afternoons and depart on Friday mornings. Staff facilitate all aspects of the groups’ service and mission experience. From breakfast until lights out, staff serve, build community, organize service projects, lead meals, network within the community, facilitate programming elements, and spend time getting to know youth and Adult Leaders. Days are full, weeks have a lot going on, and great ministry happens within it all.
Most of our housing sites are local churches or schools where staff will be permitted to stay in a specific section of the building (such as a small classroom). Staff sleep in quarters separate from youth and Adult Leaders, but will share a sleeping room with staff of the same gender. Staff will need to purchase an air mattress or sleeping pad to sleep on during training and throughout the summer in their assigned community. Showers and laundry may be on-site or off-site, depending on the community.
Summer staff are needed to serve at one of 25 communities located across the United States and Puerto Rico. The types of communities include: small town, small urban, large urban, and Native American reservations. Check out the Community Sites to learn more about the unique personality of each community. The majority of staff will be placed in a community outside of their current or home state. YouthWorks intentionally places diverse staff together to bring a variety of skill sets and experiences to each team.
Throughout the application and interview process we want to learn about any specific knowledge, experience, or passion you may have regarding a community or type of community. Several factors go into community placement, and the process takes much time and prayer. The Recruiting Team will strongly consider your community type preference, however, requesting to be placed at a specific community is not guaranteed.
Staff will find out their specific community and team placement details typically in late Spring, in the weeks leading up to the summer.
A typical site has one Site Director and at least two Site Coordinators. Site Coordinators include Community Service Coordinators and Work Projects Coordinators, and each site has a different combination of those roles. YouthWorks also hires people to fill the Utility Support Coordinator position. See Staff Positions for more details.
We seek individuals with the qualities and traits found in our most successful summer staff: an active relationship with Christ, servant leadership, humility, perseverance, critical thinking, organizational and motivational skills and respect for and ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, denominations, and theological/political perspectives. We also are seeking staff who are emotionally ready to serve in a rigorous environment alongside diverse communities and team members. Potential staff should demonstrate flexibility and respect for authority. Many of these traits are the same characteristics that define great leaders in any context.
At a minimum, staff must be 18 years of age and one-year post-high school or equivalent. YouthWorks policy requires that staff be 19 years or older to be eligible to drive company vehicles. Non-driver staff positions exist, but are very limited. YouthWorks also requires that staff be able to conduct various physical and strenuous tasks safely. Tasks include, but are not limited to, lifting and carrying up to 60 pounds, directing participants in meal preparation, and safely operating YouthWorks vehicles. See Staff Positions for more details.
When hired, staff will have access to the YouthWorks Training Website that includes helpful information and summer prep tasks. Summer staff spend their first week with their team at a training location. After training, staff teams travel (using YouthWorks vehicles) to their community to spend the next week preparing their site for participants. Programming typically begins the following week. A more experienced YouthWorks staff person will be present for the first week that participants are on site to provide additional leadership and training for the team.
Yes. You will need to be Infant, Child & Adult CPR certified and First Aid certified if hired. YouthWorks requires that staff take the skills portion of their CPR course in person. Certification must be completed before the start of summer training. YouthWorks will reimburse you for half the cost of the class(es) if you are hired and complete the summer as staff. We advise all hired staff to begin looking for a class as soon as possible. Visit www.redcross.org or cpr.heart.org for possible classes in your area. Many schools offer certification classes as well.
We encourage all people, at least one year out of high school (equivalent to a first-year college student) or older, to apply at any point in the season. If you are under 19 years of age for the dates of our summer employment, due to our insurance requirements, you are considered a non-driver. There are a limited number of positions for non-drivers, which makes these positions very competitive. 19-year-old staff are allowed to drive compact rental cars, 20-year-old staff can also drive minivans and cargo vans, and anyone 21 and older can drive all rental vehicles. We begin hiring staff in the fall and will continue to accept applications until all positions have been filled.
Site Director candidates must be a graduating college senior, post-college age, or at least four years post-high school. A college degree is not required to be considered for a Site Director position, but substantial leadership, maturity, and management experience must be shown in post-high school settings.
*Alumni who meet all other qualifications other than college graduate or four years post-high school may be considered for a Site Director position.
In 2023, the dates for full-summer employment are May 19-August 2, 2023. Site Directors will arrive early for training, so their session of employment will be May 17-August 2, 2023.
The base stipend for new full-summer Site Coordinators is $3,000, plus any eligible bonuses. Site Directors have a higher starting stipend. One of the bonuses is an added $150 for qualified guitar, piano, and ukulele players who help facilitate worship on site. Returning staff receive a pay increase from their last YouthWorks summer. In addition to your stipend, YouthWorks provides lodging, meals, and transportation.
Costs not covered include travel to your training location at the beginning of summer and travel home from that location at the end of the summer, as well as any meals eaten off-site. Because of limited summer expenses, summer staff have found that they can make a comparable summer wage to that of a mainstream summer job.
The Recruiting Team will hire until all positions are full. It is to your advantage to apply as soon as possible rather than waiting, as positions are filled on a rolling basis as interviews are completed.
Hired summer staff can find answers to their parents’ questions on the Training Tab of their Dashboard. If answers cannot be found, questions can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject “Summer Staff Parent Questions”), and someone will respond within 72 hours.
YouthWorks is committed to running a safe, full summer of programming in 2023. We are working on COVID safety plans for the upcoming year. You can find staff COVID safety information soon. We will also have a section in the Training section of the Dashboard for hired staff with up to date info. If you have any specific COVID questions, reach out to our team!
At this time, YouthWorks will not require our staff to be vaccinated for the summer, though we highly encourage it. Each week staff will interact with 65+ youth and adult chaperones from different areas of the country as well as local community members.