Find Your Mission Trip:


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Cost of a SERVE trip

SERVE is $360.00 USD* if registration is completed by March 31. Everything is included except transportation. After March 31, prices increase by $50, so register for your site today! Not ready to pay? That’s okay. Register by March 31 to lock in the early bird price and make a payment by the payment deadlines outlined below.

Payment deadlines:
May 1: trips beginning in June
June 1: trips beginning in July & August

*Some sites vary slightly in price based on different length of experience, costs or transportation. Check their site descriptions to find out more!

2. Schedule of a typical SERVE week


  • Registration, welcome, community building games.
  • You will usually be introduced to your small group, which consists of six to eight students and one adult leader from different churches.


  • Breakfast, personal devotions, commissioning service at the Host Church.
  • Lunch, team building, orientation and organized fun.
  • Dinner, session with a speaker, worship, and small group discussions.

Monday through Friday

  • 6:30 AM Wake up
  • 7:00 AM Breakfast/prepare lunches
  • 8:00 AM Devotions
  • 8:45 AM Leave for work sites
  • 4:00 PM Showers/free time/organized games
  • 5:15 PM Leaders’ meeting
  • 6:00 PM Dinner
  • 7:30 PM Evening session with a speaker and worship
  • 9:00 PM Small group discussion
  • 10:00 PM Snack and free time
  • 11:00 PM Lights out


  • Pack up and head home to serve in your own community.


  • During the week sometime, a half day or full day is set aside for recreation organized by the Host Team. Expect to visit a local attraction such as beach, theme park, sightseeing etc.
  • Detailed schedules are set by the local Host Team and may vary from what’s described here. Please be flexible, and follow the schedule set by the Host Team.
  • Middle School and Special Needs SERVE experiences may start on Saturday or Sunday and typically wrap-up on Friday.

3. Adult leader expectations

All adults are required to attend SERVE the entire week. They serve as small group leaders and work site overseers. They must be safety conscious at all times. They are responsible for driving their small group to and from work sites throughout the week. They are also responsible for general crowd control and spiritual coaching throughout the week.

One adult (21 years of age or older) is required for every 5 youth (20 years of age and under). At least one adult of each gender if students of each gender are attending.

All Adult Leaders (21 and older*) must have a current (within five years) background check on file at their church office. It must be a national (multi-state/province) criminal background check and sex offender registry check. A pastor or church council leader must sign each Adult Leader’s Liability Waiver form indicating that they endorse this person as a leader and confirming that they have a current background check on file at the church.

*The exception to this is for “student” participants at one of our Special Need SERVE sites; a background check is not required for them even though they may be over the age of 21.

Recommended organizations to run background checks through Shepherd’s Watch or Protect My Ministry. 

4. Small groups on SERVE

The host team will place participants in small work/prayer groups, trying to not have more than two people from the same church in the same group in order to promote community among the entire SERVE Site.

5. Registration process

STEP ONE: Place a $50 Deposit* per participant to Pre-Register spots at a particular SERVE Site. You’ll just need the number of youth and adult leader spots that your group needs. Approximately 1-3 weeks after the Deposit is made you’ll receive a Site Confirmation Letter by mail & email confirming which Site your group has been placed at and providing you the Deposit Code that your group will use to complete your Registration. Pre-Register beginning November 1!

STEP TWO: After you place your Deposit and receive your Site Confirmation Letter with your Deposit Code you can then complete your Registration for each participant individually. Do this before March 31 to lock in the early bird price! Payment in Full is due May 1 for June sites and June 1 for July and August sites.

*Participants and Mentors at our Special Needs Site do NOT need to place a Deposit. They can register in full beginning November 1 on the Site Location page of the Site they wish to attend.

6. Forms of payment accepted

Youth Unlimited accepts check, money order, Visa, Mastercard or Discover payments in US dollars only*. Payments can be made out to Youth Unlimited and mailed to: Youth Unlimited, Attn: SERVE, 1333 Alger St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507.

Explanation of USD funds only: Effective September 19, 2009, the Youth Unlimited Board of Directors determined that in order to properly plan and budget for income and expenditures of the ministry, all registration fees must be paid in US funds. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this decision may cause and thank you for your understanding. Canadian participants will always receive the most current exchange rate available at the time their payment is processed. We will also be granting each Canadian SERVE participant a $20 USD credit on their SERVE registration. This Canadian Exchange Credit of $20 USD will be applied automatically when registering. We pray this credit is a blessing and helps minimize the challenge of the current exchange rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.

*For SERVE 2017 there are a couple of sites that will be in CAD. Check out the list of Site Descriptions to learn more!

7. Who can participate

High School SERVE: any student who has completed grade 8 through graduating seniors in the spring of 2018

Middle School SERVE: any student who has completed grades 5 through 8.

Special Needs SERVE: for people from the ages of 16-28 with special needs. The work projects will be tailored to the ability of the individual students, allowing them to experience the joy that comes from serving others in the name of Christ. Participants are partnered with a peer who befriends and works alongside them for the five days.

Individuals are welcome to register on a site by site basis. Call the Youth Unlimited office for more information and to register as an individual.

8. 19 & 20-year-olds

19 & 20-year-olds are welcome to register with your church group on a site by site basis. Please call the Youth Unlimited office for more information and a list of sites that are able to host this age group.

9. SERVE Site confirmation

One to three weeks after you Pre-Register for a SERVE Site you will receive by mail and email Site confirmation and instructions to complete your Registration.

10. Still room at a particular site

Check the site description page or contact the office to find out whether there is still room available at a particular site.

11. Information about my SERVE Site

The Host Team for your SERVE Site will be sending out a welcome letter which will include more details about the week and a packing list. You can expect to receive the information approximately 30 days before your mission experience begins.

12. Canceling

Youth Unlimited will refund monies if a written cancellation request is received by Youth Unlimited by April 15, 2018. Please note that deposits are non-refundable and not transferable to your remaining balance due.

If you request a change of location or substitution of participants within 30 days of the start date, an additional $50 USD may be charged to cover administrative costs.

In the case of extreme weather or disaster cancellation: Youth Unlimited has your group’s safety in mind as we host events. If we are unable to host an event due to weather conditions or national disaster, deposits cannot be refunded. Refunds of final balance payments will be made only if properties and/or locations refund Youth Unlimited for these costs. If an event is hosted as scheduled and your group cancels or reduces numbers due to weather conditions or other concerns, all payments are non-refundable.

If a registrant or immediate family member has an emergency prior to or during the summer mission experience, Youth Unlimited will do what we can to refund a portion of the money.

13. Transportation Policy

Registration fees do not include transportation to and from sites (except where noted). Any exception is noted in the site descriptions as “on-site transportation included.”

Each group must provide vehicle(s) and adult driver(s) to transport an equal number of participants during the duration of the mission trip. If your group is unable to provide van transportation, please contact us to discuss options and additional charges.

Passport Information

Passport and travel requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens varies according to the country where you are going. For more information about passport and travel requirements you may check the websites below:

Canada Border Services Agency —
Foreign Affairs Canada —
U.S. State Department —
U.S. Customs and Border Protection —

* 15-passenger vans are not allowed into Ontario due to MTO restrictions

It is your group’s responsibility to have the correct documentation if you are crossing a border. For more information, contact us.

14. Traveling with students

Keep It Safe: Make photocopies of your passport’s identification page and/or of your identification cards and keep the copies separate from the original when you travel. For added security, leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.

Traveling with Minors: Any adult who is not a parent or guardian should have written permission to supervise the child from the parent or guardian, as well as the child’s identification and carry it with them. A letter would also facilitate entry for any one parent traveling with their children. This permission letter should contain addresses and telephone numbers where the parent or guardian can be reached. (Example Consent to Travel Form) It is strongly recommended that the letter is notarized.

15. Resources for sending churches (that’s you!)

There are numerous resources for your church to use in the planning and preparation of your trip. Click here to visit our Resource Box!

16. What’s included on SERVE

Short Answer: Most Everything
Long Answer: Your registration fee includes most everything you need once you arrive onsite, except transportation to the site and daily transportation while at the mission experience.

  • Spiritual Life Guide with small group leaders training notes, theme-based small group discussion outlines, pre-trip lesson suggestions and commissioning litany, post-trip debriefing and follow up guides for adult leaders
  • Spiritual Life Guides with daily devotionals for students
  • SERVE theme t-shirt
  • Supplemental medical insurance
  • All meals
  • Lodging (usually in a church or school)
  • Daily schedule with planned activities
  • Engaging worship and speaker
  • Organized service projects and supplies

17. Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are available for SERVE. Download a scholarship form and/or contact us for more information.

18. Insurance

Youth Unlimited carries secondary health insurance and liability insurance. All insurance claims must be submitted to the participant’s individual insurance first. Youth Unlimited’s insurance will begin where the participant’s insurance ends for any medical expenses incurred while at the site. If a participant does not have insurance coverage, Youth Unlimited’s insurance becomes the primary coverage. Participants are not covered while traveling to or from the youth mission experience. Check with your insurance provider to verify your coverage in the state/province/country where you are traveling, and bring a copy of your insurance card along.

19. References

Would you like to hear from a youth pastor or volunteer who has either brought their youth group on SERVE or been a part of a SERVE host team? We would love to connect you with a reference! Contact us today to request a reference.

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