Frequently Asked Questions
When should we take our trip?
Most schools tend to look towards running their missions trip during Spring Break. This provides an ideal time frame to start working with students in the beginning of the school year to work on fundraising during the fall and winter, to allow enough time for the team(s) to start working together and getting to know one another, and build excitement across the school community. That being said, each school is different and TTW will work with each group to arrange for a trip that works best within the culture and calendar of the school. It is also possible to plan for a trip during the early weeks of the summer, immediately after school lets out.
When in the school year should we begin planning?
As soon as possible, it’s never too early! For schools that are looking to hold their trips during Spring Break, this is the typical schedule for planning:
|Spring prior to year of trip – Discuss with TTW possible trip locations, determine dates and basic trip logistics, cost, etc.|
|May/June prior to year of trip – Announce opportunity to students and parents, Provide Pre-Application to gauge interest|
|September – Promote trip and start receiving applications and deposits|
|October – Confirm team members, hold Family Informational Meeting, start team meetings and/or Missions Curriculum through The Missions Academy|
|November – Continue with team meetings and/or curriculum, collect forms and paperwork, begin fundraising|
|January – 50% of trip funds due, continue team meetings and/or curriculum|
|February – March – Participate in TTW Missions Training Weekend|
|March, April or June – Missions Trip! Follow up with debrief team meetings and Debrief curriculum, begin planning for next school year|
If you are still looking to plan something for the current school year, but are behind this proposed timeline, it may not be too late. The latest to start plans for a current school year (for a Spring or Summer trip) would be November/December, particularly for domestic trips that will not involve a flight.
What ages/grades should we offer this missions experience to?
That’s up to your school! TTW has worked with school teams ranging in age from middle school through high school. Depending on your school dynamics, you may want to consider offering multiple options for various grade levels or previous experience. Some schools have also held combined trips with middle school and high schoolers together. TTW will help you find the best suitable location for the age and experience of the students you would like to tailor a trip towards.
What should the purpose of the missions trip be?
The ultimate purpose of a missions trip within a school should be to provide a holistic experience of missions that integrates curriculum with service learning. Students will have an opportunity to serve alongside one another, building deep bonds across the student body, as well as grow in their understanding of Christ, strengthen their walk with God and build relationships with the local missionary host and their community. As they serve, they will also be learning lessons about culture and poverty that will drastically impact their worldview.
Some schools opt to tailor their missions offering towards a specific grade (i.e. Senior Class Trip) or individual content area (i.e. Advanced Spanish class) for strong curricular and experiential learning and immersion. TTW will work with each school to help tailor a trip that will best match with their individual goals.
The purpose of a missions trip should not, however, be strictly for tourism or sightseeing with a few service opportunities tossed into the schedule. TTW designs their trips for full integration within the local community and for a primary goal to be supporting the local ministry and missionaries. One afternoon will be reserved for some sightseeing or taking in the local culture, but this will serve merely as an add-on and not as a primary objective.
What will we do on our trip?
TTW’s missionaries strive to give participants a well-rounded experience where they are exposed to culture, poverty and service in various ways. Children’s ministry, refugee care, work projects, prayer, and social outreaches are all possible opportunities to serve. Each specific location has their unique ministry and TTW believes in partnering alongside the ministry host in their ongoing outreaches and efforts on the ground.
The daily schedule will include some consistent activities such as personal morning devotions and group debrief times. TTW provides each team member with a devotional journal to use while on the trip.
Are your trips safe?
First and foremost, we trust in God and pray continually for our teams to be safe while serving. Secondly, TTW makes every effort to ensure that trip participants are as safe as possible on location.
Before sending a team to a given location, we confirm that our hosts maintain proper levels of security at their facilities. We provide required travelers’ insurance for all participants traveling by plane and register all participants traveling internationally with the US Embassy in the host country.
We are in constant communication with our missionary hosts and trust their word about the realities happening on the ground in their communities. When teams are on location, their hosts will travel with them to provide additional guidance, especially in an unfamiliar culture.
TTW also spends ample time preparing students for serving in an unfamiliar context during Missions Training. During the 3-day training retreat, every student is assigned a count-off number to help Team Leaders easily keep track everyone on the team. Safety and travel procedures are introduced at training and participants practice the buddy system to avoid ever being alone on location. Trips are set up so that students will not have the opportunity to wander off or escape the eyesight of a Team Leader when serving.
Who will lead the missions trip?
Each trip should have a suggested ratio of 4:1 students to leaders. Adult participants should not view themselves merely as chaperones but recognize their role as a Team Leader, to not only look out for the safety and well-being of the students, but to serve as a guide to help walk through the experience with each student by intentionally challenging them to engage in new experiences and reflect upon those experiences. TTW provides Leader Training and manuals for all leaders to assist them in fulfilling their role.
For school trips, it is encouraged that school faculty participate and serve as Team Leaders. This helps provide continuity to their classroom learning to on the field learning. TTW will provide one Team Leader per group, if needed, and particularly for new groups. Schools may also opt to fill leadership positions from parents.
Most schools will budget to include all costs for their Trip Leaders, particularly if they are school faculty, as an acknowledgement of the sacrifice and commitment of the faculty member to give up their week to serve in this capacity. Any TTW Staff serving as a Team Leader must have their full expenses budgeted into the total trip costs.
Should parents be expected to pay for the trip?
No, in fact we discourage it! TTW provides students with various resources to assist them in the fundraising process. Part of the curriculum will include a Writing Workshop to assist students with writing support letters to send to family and friends requesting support. Students will be provided with a template to formulate their own rough draft, receive feedback for revisions from their faculty advisor, and create their final copy ready to be mailed. TTW also provides each student with a custom photo prayer card and support coupons to include with those letters to seek donations.
Additionally, TTW provides each student with their own online fundraising page (similar to GoFundMe) without additional fees. Any donations received on their fundraising page will go directly into the student account with TTW.
Part of the missions experience begins with fundraising as students invest individual effort into their trip and are challenged to trust God for provision. TTW encourages fundraising to be done on multiple levels: on an individual basis, among their team, and across the entire student body.
Whatever funds are not raised by the individual or team through fundraising efforts will then be required to be paid by the given due dates (50% of funds due 90 days prior to departure, 100% due 30 days prior to departure).
What forms/documents are needed?
Each trip may have specific forms that need to be completed. Participants are given access to TTW’s My Mission platform to assist them in keeping track of all of their paperwork and fundraising progress. On their account, they will see a full list of forms to be completed under the “Requirements” section.
For all international destinations, a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of re-entry to the US is required. Passports must be checked for the expiration date and if needed, begin the renewal process immediately.
International students are also welcome to participate! For F-1 visa participants or other participants without US citizenship, a valid permanent residence card or visa that will not expire before re-entry date upon return of trip will also be necessary.
Is TTW affiliated with a denomination?
Touch the World is an interdenominational organization and is not directly affiliated with any specific denomination or church. Participants from all denominations and backgrounds are welcome on our mission trips; TTW adheres to the basic doctrines found in The Apostle’s Creed.