Frequently Asked Questions
We can help you through this process. Adding spaces can happen at any time as long as we have availability. There are some deadlines for decreasing spaces. Please check out the Registration Process for more specifics.
YouthWorks trips are affordable. Many trips start at $269 per person. Cost varies by location and can be found on each trip’s page. For a complete list of trips, see the Trip Finder and browse via list or map view. Cost per participant includes:
- 14 Meals
- Project Materials and Resources
- Program Resources
- Evening Activities
- Staffing – Recruitment & Training
If cost of the trip is an obstacle for your group or for a specific student in your group please call us to find out more about scholarship opportunities.
- Our summer youth trips run Sunday evening through Friday morning. Please note that some of the trips during the July 4th week are shortened.
- We do offer fall, winter and spring trips that are customizable. Check out this page for more information.
We encourage you to extend your trip on the front or back end to accommodate for any sightseeing or recreational activities that you would like to do with your group.
Registrations for a YouthWorks mission trip must be made through a church or organization. Because of YouthWorks’ program and policies, agreements with ministry partners and to be respectful of other groups, we do not allow individuals who are not in the appropriate grades to attend the mission trip. The minimum group size is five.
- Each YouthWorks trip is categorized as middle school (junior high), mixed (middle school/high school), high school, or high school & up trip.
- 2023 Middle School trips are open to those students who have completed 6th grade in spring 2023 through students who completed 8th grade in spring 2023.
- 2023 High School trips are open to those students who have completed 8th grade in spring 2023 through seniors who have graduated in the spring of 2023.
- 2023 Mixed trips are open to those students who have completed 6th grade in spring 2023 through seniors who have graduated in the spring of 2023.
Yes! In fact, Adult Leaders play a key leadership role on your youth trips. A leader needs to be at least 20 years of age and be willing to take a role of leadership with your teenagers.
- High School Trips: 1 Adult Leader for every 7 students
- Middle School Trips: 1 Adult Leader for every 5 students
- Mixed Trips: 1 Adult Leader for every 5 students
Yes. Each church group will need to conduct a national (multi-site) criminal background check and sex offender registry check on any participant (adults or students) that is 18 years and older. Church groups will then provide YouthWorks with written confirmation that every participant 18 and older has been approved to work with youth and children, and will provide written confirmation that all participants (youth and adults) are deemed safe.
For more on this check out the Background Check FAQs on your paperwork page of the dashboard.
For questions about our COVID-19 safety measures, click here.
Safety is of the utmost importance to our organization! We want participants to feel safe throughout the entire week, and we want parents and church leadership to know that we take every precaution in order to ensure their safety. Our staff are thoroughly trained on a variety of safety practices and procedures. With that said, we do rely on Adult Leaders and youth to help the YouthWorks staff in maintaining the safety policies and procedures for their mission week.
Each YouthWorks site is unique. We encourage you to take a look at the specific community pages to learn more.
It depends on the YouthWorks site. We seek to meet the needs of our community partners and their ministries. Some of our organizations prefer the same volunteers to come back each day, all week long so there is consistency in the relational aspects but also logistically as well. In other situations you might serve with multiple partners during the week.
A typical YouthWorks site has capacity for 65 to 80 participants depending on the site and week. Our goal is that as many teenagers as possible would experience mission trips so there may be multiple other groups on site during your week. The only way this would not happen is if your group were to register for the whole week (all of the spaces on site).
If your group is larger than seven people and has more than two Adult Leaders, you will most likely be split into different ministry/work crews for the week. Each crew will have anywhere from 7 – 10 people with 1 – 3 Adult Leaders depending on the needs of our service partners, the size of the group on site, and the number and size of vehicles available.
Each group is responsible for transportation (vehicles, gas and mileage) to and from the YouthWorks site and throughout the week of your trip.
Bus accessible communities are designated as locations that can accommodate groups traveling on buses. Buses are defined as any vehicle that is larger than a standard 15-passenger van. We do not allow buses at all of our sites because of safety, the needs of the community and the problem of parking. Even if a site is designated as bus accessible, we still require that you provide additional transportation for participants during the week.
For ease of travel we recommend that each person obtain a passport. U.S. groups also have the option of obtaining a U.S. Passport Card. Visit our Travel page for more information.
Groups are housed in a local church, school or community building. Participants need to bring their own sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping pads or air mattresses that are twin-size or smaller (Puerto Rico has a slightly different requirement). All females and males sleep in separate rooms, including married Adult Leaders. Showers are available either on site or at a nearby location. Off-site showers may be at local community center, YMCA or public high school which may include open shower rooms or private stalls. Specific details will be available in the spring as they are confirmed in each community.
YouthWorks welcomes youth and adult participants with disabilities and works collaboratively with Trip Leaders to provide accommodations to need and circumstance. Due to the diverse nature of our 45+ mission sites and on-going changes at service locations, creating a coordinated plan with a Trip Leader is important to help us discern if and how the special need can be accommodated. While we are working toward greater accessibility in each of the communities we serve, there are some mission locations that are more easily equipped to handle special requests than others and some communities that cannot fully accommodate all needs. For more information, please talk with a Trip Consultant, if not yet registered for a trip, or a Mission Trip Associate, if you are registered already.
We believe Christ-centered mission trips….
- Disciple Students
- Develop Leaders
- Serve Communities
We handle all the behind-the-scenes set-up, logistics, and on-site support so that you can lead the discipleship of your students. We’ve built a mission trip structure that can spot, empower, and launch student leaders. We utilize a mission trip model based on servant-leadership that prioritizes what God is already doing through the local Church and community development organizations so together, we can serve communities respectfully.
It is our privilege to partner with organizations already at work serving the needs of people within the community. We want to help these organizations do what they do every day of the year by providing them with volunteers. Our partnerships include working with the elderly, children, individuals with special needs, people who are homeless or in transition, or serving through hands-on labor with food banks, community gardens or neighborhood revitalization projects. While we place a priority on relational service ministry opportunities, we are also pleased to serve behind the scenes through manual labor; many YouthWorks participants will experience a little of both.
We love to partner with organizations that have a faith-based focus, but we also value what other non-profit organizations are doing in our communities. Our hope is to provide volunteer support to local organizations (service partners) that share our desire to love and serve the people of the community. We are blessed when we can be part of the story of what God is doing in a community whether the work is being done through a secular or faith-based organization. Of course, YouthWorks does not endorse its partners beyond providing volunteer support, so participants will not be asked to solicit gifts or donations for any of our local partners.
We certainly want to be able to share God’s truth and love with the people in our communities; however, some of them have seen a great deal of aggressive Christian evangelism, and we also understand that many of our ministry partners rely on government funding that limits traditional evangelism. It is because of this that while we encourage participants to be open about their reasons for serving, as well as in sharing their faith, we believe that this sharing is most meaningful when it is done primarily through our actions and within the context of relationships that have been built during the week. We serve as the hands and feet of Christ and in turn He uses us to impact others for the Kingdom.
Full-time YouthWorks staff along with our summer staff will be responsible for choosing appropriate service opportunities for your week of ministry. The Trip Leader of each group will be asked to place each person from their group on a ministry, or work crew, with the input and help of site staff leaders.
You will not know specifically where you will be serving until after the Adult Leader Meeting on the Sunday night of your trip.
Yes, you are responsible for your transportation to the service location each day. You may be at one place all day or serve at one place in the morning and at a different place in the afternoon. You will be given addresses to each location, back to the housing site, and to emergency facilities. In some cases, YouthWorks staff may be available to escort you to your service location.
In some communities, groups will be participating in a kids program facilitated by YouthWorks. In other communities, groups will have the opportunity to partner with churches or other organizations that work with children in the community such as a VBS or a Boys and Girls Club.
Because each community is unique, each kids program will look a little different. If you are serving at a kids program, your day will most likely include games, crafts and a storytelling component. You will learn more about the specifics of your service day after arriving in the community.
In communities with kids programming, your youth may assist one or more kids programs in a variety of ways. Students may hold the primary responsibility in leading games, reading activities or crafts. They may also hold more of a secondary responsibility as they assist YW staff and/or community partners in leading and interacting with children. Youth serving at a kids program will spend time surrounded by community kids, so they can expect to have numerous opportunities to play with and listen to them.
The role of an Adult Leader on any service site is multi-faceted. As an Adult Leader you will always be a safety champion, committed to upholding safety at every service location. While serving at a kids program, Adult Leaders can motivate students to lead and engage with the community kids. Throughout the service day and at the end, Adult Leaders will help their students process their experiences through asking questions.
We partner with organizations in the community who are providing a safe place for kids to spend their days during the summer, and we are happy to assist them however we can. We love to partner with organizations that have a faith-based focus, but we also value what other non-profit organizations are doing for children in their communities. Our hope is to provide volunteer support to organizations that share our desire to love and serve the kids in the community.
We are blessed when we can be part of the story of what God is doing in a community whether the work is being done through a secular or faith-based organization. At any of these partnerships, the way that you interact with and listen to the kids will demonstrate God’s love for them.
The best way to prepare is to come with an open heart and mind, and be willing to serve in any way that supports community kids.
During your Pre-Trip Communication with your Site Director, you will find out more specifics about what service will look like during your mission week. This call also gives you an opportunity to ask if there are any additional materials that you can bring to the community. Once you’re on site, your group will learn the specifics of where you will be serving for the week. A community may have kids programming as one or more of their service opportunities, but there is no guarantee that your group will be serving there while on site. Again, the best way to prepare for service is to come with an open heart and mind.
Work Projects are a tangible way for you and your youth to serve the community through the painting of homes, yard work and other simple projects. Our goal for Work Projects is to create a meaningful work experience where youth can make a difference with their skills and abilities while also building relationships with families and neighbors.
We seek to meet needs in the community through various types of Work Projects. Ultimately we want to do projects that are at, not above, your teenagers’ skill level. This allows youth to take ownership of a project. Although we often paint homes, other projects may include yard work, community beautification, building cleanup or any other project that will serve individuals or groups in a community.
When we do paint homes, a painting project consists of scraping old paint, filling holes with insulation, caulking windows and applying a fresh coat of paint to a home. You may be involved in any or all of the painting process and may or may not complete an entire house during your time. Painting is a relatively easy task and is something in which youth can be successful. Done well, it can create a real sense of pride both by the painting crew and the homeowner. Occasionally, we encounter lead-based paint at a project; however, our staff are trained to take extra safety precautions during lead-paint scraping in order to follow health and legal standards.
We work alongside members from the community to identify those in the greatest need. Possible community partners include local churches, tribal councils, local government agencies and other key members of the community in which we are serving. First priority is given to the elderly and the housebound as they are unable to do work like this for themselves. Second priority is given to the impoverished, unemployed or the underemployed that have significant physical needs hindering the resources they have to complete a project like this without help.
All the supplies are included in the price of your trip.
Often there is a site-specific need for supplies and materials, including but not limited to gloves, paint brushes, tarps, and paint scrapers or other project-specific materials. Two to three weeks before your trip, the Site Director will be contacting your Trip Leader to talk through a few specific trip details and help you finalize your plans. This would be a great time to ask about any supply needs that the site may have.
The Adult Leaders have three main roles on a Work Projects site. The first is to watch for safety. Safety is our number one priority on all aspects of your mission trip, and the work site is no different. Additionally, Adult Leaders oversee all aspects of the work project. Our hope is that the youth will take leadership of the work and of the site, but as the adult you are ultimately in charge. Lastly, the role of Adult Leaders is to work alongside the youth. By participating with students, you will have an incredible opportunity to serve the community in a very tangible way as well as opportunities to build some great relationships with the youth you are working with.
Although adults at Work Project sites are ultimately responsible, our desire is that your youth will feel empowered to take leadership in every aspect – from beginning to end. Look for ways to empower your youth at Work Projects sites and throughout the week.
Relationships are important! At Work Projects sites, we find that great conversation can develop with students when standing side-by-side painting a house. Since your work crew will most likely be made up of people from at least two different churches, you have the great opportunity to get to know people from a different church and perhaps even a different part of the country than you. Additionally, our desire is that you also get to know the people you are serving. Although health issues or work schedules sometimes prevent the level of interaction we would like, we seek Work Projects partners who can be present with the work crew as much as possible. As visitors in the community, you and your youth have the opportunity to seek these relationships – but do so humbly, understanding that cultural, economic and other barriers are factors to be considered.
YouthWorks hires and trains a Work Projects Coordinator who will be supervising your worksites. However, because there will likely be multiple work projects running at once, the staff will not be on your site with you the entire time but will check in with you at various points throughout the day. You will also receive an orientation and training before arriving at your Work Projects site.
Primarily, we seek to do projects that are at, not above, teenagers’ skill level, so students are able to step out in leadership of those projects. Occasionally, however, there is need for skilled labor in the community. Two to three weeks before your trip, the Site Director will be contacting the Trip Leader to finalize any details. This would be a great time to let them know if you have adults with specialized skills who are coming with you. We cannot guarantee we will have projects that require those special skills, but it is helpful to know what skills are available as we are considering how to best serve the community.