A YWx trip is unique because the Trip Leader decides on the majority of safety policies. During the week, it is up to the group to maintain their safety policies and procedures for the mission week, as we will not have YouthWorks staff on site.

In addition, groups certify that they will have the following safety policies in place, which they will communicate and enact during their trip:

  • A child safety policy
  • Sexual harassment policy
  • The Three-Together-Rule (All participants are required to travel in groups of at least three including at least one adult)
  • Meet the adult to student ratio:
    • High School Trips: A minimum of 1 Adult Leader for every 7 students
    • Middle School Trips: A minimum of 1 Adult Leader for every 5 students
    • Mixed Trips: A minimum of 1 Adult Leader for every 5 students
  • Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian
  • Communicate local police and child safety reporting contact information
  • Conduct a background check on all adults 18+ (more information below).

As you find out about site and community specifics, community partners may have additional safety requirements.

It is easy to overlook potential safety issues in the midst of the busyness of planning for a mission trip. Once you register, Trip Leaders will receive a YWx Planning Guidebook with additional suggested safety policies and procedures.

If you’re attending a YWx trip and have specific questions about safety considerations, contact your Trip Leader.

For information about YouthWorks COVID-19 safety measures, click here.

Background Checks

To promote a safe environment for YouthWorks participants and for the communities that we serve, we require that a federal and multi-state (also called “national”) background check and sex offender registry check be completed on all participants 18 and over, including Adult Leaders and youth attending the mission trip. Knowing that all adults are getting background checks will give peace of mind to community groups and your group. It will also fulfill requirements from ministry partners that want background checks completed on adults who will be volunteering at their organizations.

Money & Valuables

You and your students may choose to bring a small amount of spending money for souvenirs. We encourage participants to leave valuables at home. Please remind all participants to keep cash and valuables in a secure location at all times. YouthWorks cannot be responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.

Shower Safety

As a rule, we do not allow youth and Adult Leaders to take showers at the same time. Students should still be supervised by having adults in the general vicinity of the shower area in case of an emergency.  If students do not have private shower stalls, they must wear swimsuits while showering.


During the trip your clothes may endure paint, sweat, mud and lots of love from children! Bring clothes that you can work and play hard in, including closed-food shoes or work boots to keep your feet safe. YouthWorks has a packing list available to registered participants that lists out what to bring on their trip. Registered participants can find this packing list on their paperwork site.

Community Partnerships

We diligently seek out reputable partnerships within each community. Community experiences (including housing sites, service sites, cultural activities, etc.) are commonly established through trusted community members or existing organizations. In addition, YouthWorks consistently gathers feedback from local leaders when seeking new partnerships.

When committing to work alongside community organizations and leaders, our procedure is to review our safety expectations with our partners to ensure the safety of our participants. It is our desire to create a mutually safe environment during the service day.

Driving Throughout the Week

Each group is responsible for transportation throughout the week.  During the day, you may be at one place all day or serve at one place in the morning and a different place in the afternoon. You will be given addresses to and from each location, back to the housing site and to emergency facilities.

We know that everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to driving and parking. Because you will be in unfamiliar places, please work together with your leaders before the trip to determine who is comfortable driving, parking and leading in this role. It is very easy for the transportation aspect of your trip to become stressful and, in some cases, to change the tone of your experience. We don’t want a bad driving experience to negatively impact your overall experience! Be prepared to be flexible in this area. Directions change and construction happens, but it doesn’t need to get in the way of a great mission trip week.

Alcohol, Drug & Weapon Policy

Alcohol, illicit drugs and weapons are strictly forbidden at YouthWorks housing and ministry sites. Anyone (leaders/youth) in possession of such items will be sent home immediately. To ensure the safety of your youth, we request that any prescription drugs and other medications be held in the custody of one of the Adult Leaders from your group.

Harassment & Abuse Policy

YouthWorks prohibits sexual harassment, verbal harassment and physical and/or sexual abuse on or off the YouthWorks premises or in the course of YouthWorks activities or ministries. YouthWorks will take seriously any allegations of such misconduct in accordance with applicable law. YouthWorks will not retaliate against the reporting person.

Though requirements vary state-to-state, YouthWorks considers our staff and Adult Leaders mandatory reporters of abuse or neglect of minors. Our staff are trained through MinistrySafe, and we recommend groups complete this, or a similar training for their adults.