Posted April 9, 2020
Dear Friends of Youth Unlimited,
In light of the current realities of this global pandemic, we, the staff and board of Youth Unlimited, have determined that SERVE will not be able to happen this summer in the traditional way. However, we have a new plan.
Our decision to cancel the SERVE plans we had in place, and readjust our expectations for the summer are strongly guided by travel restrictions without a firm end date. If we are serious about the statement that your safety is our number one priority, then we could not, in good conscience, continue to encourage anyone to make plans to travel across state and province lines, let alone across the Canada/US border.
There is a lot we don’t know right now. We don’t know when these travel bans will be lifted. We don’t know how long we will be working from home. We don’t know when it will be safe to hold gatherings of any size again.
Here is what we do know. We do know that psalm 100:5, “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations”, is as true when it was first written as it is today. We know that maybe now more than ever people need hope. Finally, we know that we can stay at home.
So, we want to suggest a new way to do SERVE. SERVE@Home, if you will. For those of you who were registered to attend a SERVE trip this summer and still want to partner with us, we will be putting together boxes with spiritual life guides, t-shirts, string backpacks and letter-to-self materials. In addition, we will be developing an online resource center with recordings of some of our favorite SERVE speakers walking your group through each session of the curriculum, resources on how to come up with worksites, and other materials for you to use for an at-home version of SERVE.
If you sign up for this option we anticipate being able to deliver supplies to you by June 15th. However, you do not have to “host” your SERVE experience at that time or even when you were originally planning to attend SERVE. You will have the freedom to wait until it is safe to be out and about in your community.
We hope this new plan will do two things. First, we are releasing you from the commitment you made to us for the summer. (We will explain how the money works below). You no longer have to make the hard decision about if it is a good idea to travel with a group of teenagers this summer, we have decided for you. Second, we hope that SERVE@Home will still allow you to have something to look forward to with your youth group. This could be a wonderful opportunity to show your church and community what teenagers are capable of.
What about my money? Good question. You have 3 options when it comes to the money that you have already paid for your SERVE trip.
- You can participate in SERVE@Home we will keep a portion of the money you have already paid and refund the rest. One SERVE@Home box will cost $150 USD and include enough supplies for 10 students and 2 adults. You will be able to purchase 1,2, or 3 of these boxes to accommodate your group size.
- You can donate any portion of what you have already paid to Youth Unlimited, we would be honored and grateful. We will refund anything beyond what you would like to donate.
- You can simply cancel your group we will issue a refund of all money that you paid, including your original deposits.
We have set up a simple online form for you to fill out and let us know which of the above options works best for your group. You can find that form here: SERVE Updates and Refunds
Friends, this is a hard time in the world and we have not made the above decisions lightly. We have explored all the options that we had for this summer and truly believe this is what is best and safest for all involved. We want to thank you for trusting us through this process.
If you ever have questions or would just like to talk through this decision we would love to speak with you. You can reach out to our staff through the online contact us form, through a phone call to 616.241.5616 ext 3038, or by email at email@example.com.