In my previous post, I talked about the importance of keeping parents plugged-in with your mission trip experience once you arrive at your destination.
Today, I want to emphasize the importance of preparing our leaders for mission experiences as they support students. This video is a quick “Top Ten” video update of important things I created to remind leaders as they prepare to leave for our trip. Some of the content has come from my friends over at Leadertreks who provide some pretty sweet resources. Leadertreks also provide some great mission experiences for students with a leadership emphasis. Check out a review I did for The Student Mission Trip Greenhouse too. It’s a brilliant freebie you can download straight from their website.
In addition to this video, I have prepared my leaders in the following ways.
1) Had Individual Meetings with the Whole Team: This might seem a big deal if you have a lot of leaders, but it is possible. I have found that the investment is huge if you can take the time to prepare leaders well before the trip. We have a team of 17 adult leaders, and I have met with or talked by phone individually about the trip.
2) Strategic Planning Meetings with the Whole Team: We have met intensively twice as a team and two more times with students and parents. These meetings have been packed with training, planning and a question and answer team. I have also 3-4 meetings with a leader who has been my volunteer point person for this mission trip.
3) Provided Training Materials: Toby Rowe has written The Volunteers Back Pocket Guide to Youth Mission Trips. It is fantastic and super practical for my volunteers. The feedback has been brilliant! In addition to this, they have all received a leaders packet of specific details for the trip.
4) Ongoing Training: What I mean by this is the mission trip itself. Just as I encourage my leaders to look for the teachable moments with the students, I am also looking for opportunities to train leaders while we are there. It’s impossible to cover every eventuality, and the best training can come in the teachable moments. With this in mind, I tell my leaders to expect challenges and to be flexible.
How have you prepared your volunteers for a mission trip?