1. How much does a SERVE mission trip for teens cost?
SERVE is $375.00 USD* if online paperwork is completed by March 31. Everything is included except transportation. After March 31, prices increase by $50. Not ready to pay? That’s okay. Final payment isn’t due until May 15th.
*Some sites vary slightly in price based on different length of experience, costs or transportation. Check their site descriptions to find out more!
2. What’s the typical schedule of a 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. (Interested in hosting a mission trip as a “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!
- Recreation/Sightseeing: At some point during the week, 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, do some 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: What are they?
All adults are required to attend the entire week with SERVE. 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. Download the leader handbook HERE.
How Many Adult Leaders Are Needed for a SERVE Mission Trip?
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 supply Youth Unlimited with a current (as of July 1, 2018) background check. 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 Liability Waiver Form (found on this page) indicating that they endorse this person as a leader.
*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.
4. What do small groups look like during 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. What’s the registration process?
STEP ONE: Place a $50 deposit per participant to save spots at a particular SERVE site. You’ll just need the number of youth and adult leader spots for your group. Approximately 1-3 weeks after you submit this form, you’ll receive a site confirmation letter by mail and email confirming which site your group has been placed at and providing you with the access code that your group will use to complete your paperwork in Step 2. Save your spots starting November 1!
STEP TWO: After you place your deposit and receive your site confirmation letter with your access code, you can then complete your online paperwork for each participant individually. You must complete your paperwork by March 31. All paperwork completed after March 31 will be charged a $50 late fee
STEP THREE: Payment in full is due on May 15 for all SERVE sites.
*Participants and Mentors at our Special Need SERVE sites do NOT need to place a deposit and can skip Step 1. They can register in full beginning November 1 on the trip location page (one of the sites listed on this page) of the SERVE Site they wish to attend.
6. What forms of payment are accepted? How can I mail payments to Youth Unlimited for my mission trip?
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:
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!
7. Who can participate?
High School SERVE Mission Trips: any student who has completed grade 8 through graduating seniors in the spring of 2019.
Middle School SERVE Mission Trips: any student who has completed grades 6 through 8.
Special Needs SERVE Mission Trips: for people between 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 5 days.
Do I have to be in a youth group or can I come by myself?
Our current SERVE model does not accommodate individual participants. For more information contact us.
8. Can 19 & 20-year-olds come along?
19 & 20-year-olds will be considered on a site-by-site basis. Please contact us for more information.
9. What’s the SERVE Site Confirmation?
1-3 weeks after you place a deposit for a SERVE Site, you will receive (by mail and email) a site confirmation letter with an access code and instructions to complete your online paperwork (if you already have your access code, click here).
10. Is there still room at a particular site or is it full?
11. Where can I get more 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. You can find out who your Host Church is by going to the site’s page (one of the locations found here).
12. What’s the cancellation policy?
Youth Unlimited will refund monies if a written cancellation request is received by Youth Unlimited by April 15, 2019. 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. What’s the 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” (find the site description on one of the locations found here).
Each group must provide a 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 and travel requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens vary according to the country where you are going. For more information about passport and travel requirements you may check the websites below:
*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: Any tips?
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 – find more forms and resources here) It is strongly recommended that the letter is notarized.
15. Are there resources for sending (going) churches?
16. What’s included in SERVE mission trips?
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. Are there scholarships available?
18. What about 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. Could you send me some 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.