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Mission Trips

Our 2019 Mission Trip Calendar Opens at Midnight Central Time on January 1, 2018

By | Mission Trips | No Comments

Soon, it will be time to wish each other a happy New Year! And with each joyous new year comes a new Back Bay Mission mission trip calendar!

Mission trips to Back Bay Mission are a great way to learn about poverty, serve the poor and marginalized of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and build community in your group. Volunteers serve in our housing rehabilitation program, our client-choice food pantry, and the Micah Day Center. Some volunteers are also able to serve in other ministries or with our partner agencies. This is the best mission trip opportunity in the United Church of Christ and one of the best in the country (or, for that matter, the world). It is a truly life-changing experience that keeps volunteers coming back again and again.

The 2019 mission trip calendar opens at midnight central time on January 1, 2018. Highly desirable dates (summer and spring break season) fill up fast, so make your reservation as soon as possible by sending an email with your information and the dates you want to our . All requests are honored on a first come, first served basis.

You can see a preview of our 2019 calendar, and learn what dates are available, here.

The 2018 Mission Trip Calendar is Open!

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

Our 2018 mission trip calendar opened at midnight central time on January 1, 2017! You can see the calendar here. We do our best to keep the online calendar up to date, but things change quickly at the beginning of the year.

. We only accept reservations through email (we use the timestamp to reserve weeks on a first come, first serve basis).

Remember that there are changes to our mission trip program that take effect for groups coming in 2018. You can read about those changes here. You can see a FAQ about those changes here. You can learn more about mission trips here.

The 2018 Mission Trip Calendar Opens Tonight!

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

Our 2018 mission trip calendar opens – and we’ll begin taking reservations – at midnight central time tonight!

To reserve a week for your group, We accept reservations only through email (we use the time stamp to make reservations on a first come, first serve basis).

Remember that some changes to our mission trip program take effect in 2018. You can read about those changes here. You can also see a FAQ about the changes on our website. You can learn more about mission trips at Back Bay Mission here.

Reminder: The 2018 Mission Trip Calendar Opens on January 1, 2017

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

Our 2018 mission trip calendar will open at midnight central time on January 1, 2017. We’ll begin accepting reservations at that time, but a preview is available now.

To reserve a week for your group, We accept reservations only through email (we use the time stamp to make reservations on a first come, first serve basis).

Remember that some changes to our mission trip program take effect in 2018. You can read about those changes here. You can also see a FAQ about the changes on our website. You can learn more about mission trips at Back Bay Mission here.

The 2018 Mission Trip Calendar Opens on January 1, 2017

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

Are you ready to plan your 2018 mission trip to Back Bay Mission? Our 2018 mission trip calendar will open at midnight on January 1, 2017. A preview is available now.

To reserve a week for your group, We accept reservations only through email (we use the time stamp to make reservations on a first come, first serve basis).

Remember that some changes to our mission trip program take effect in 2018. You can read about those changes here. You can also see a FAQ about the changes on our website. You can learn more about mission trips at Back Bay Mission here.

Mission Trip Changes FAQ

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

As you may know, we’re making some changes to our mission trip program that will take effect for mission trip participants in 2018. We know that changes bring questions, so we put together the FAQ below. We’ll do our best to keep this FAQ up to date and to keep you informed.

If you have other questions, please leave them in the comments and – if appropriate – we’ll add them to the FAQ.

What Changes Are You Making to the Program?

We’re making three broad kinds of changes to the program:

First, we’re going to restrict the number of volunteers we take each week. Most weeks will be capped at 20 volunteers, with a few weeks allowing larger groups. We’re also going to enforce some rules about skill and age ratios for groups that we haven’t been enforcing in recent years.

Second, we’re going to revamp the educational part of the mission trip program, strengthening the ‘learning’ part of this service-learning experience. We’ll be working out the details over the next several months, but we’re hoping to provide a more consistent education, deeper looks into our ministries, and opportunities for self-directed learning.

Third, we’re going to change the fee structure and increase fees. The new structure will be: a $200 per group reservation fee (regardless of group size) and a $250 per person participation fee. These fees will cover lodging at the Mission House, service materials, and educational materials.

Why Are Weeks Being Capped at 20 Participants?

The first priority of our housing rehabilitation ministry is to our clients. That means that we want to provide high quality repairs and renovations as quickly as possible. Believe it or not, that’s easier to do with smaller groups.

Capping most weeks at 20 participants will help us in two major ways.

First, it will give us more opportunities to have smaller groups working on smaller projects. While there are some projects that require a large number of volunteers at one time, many can be completed more efficiently with a small number of volunteers.

Second, it will reduce the time that staff need to spend on supervision, freeing them up to work on planning and logistics. This will improve our services to clients by helping us complete projects faster. It will also improve the volunteer experience, since better planning means less time waiting for materials, staff supervision, or instruction. 

What about the Weeks for Larger Groups?

We recognize that there are larger groups who want to come to the Mission. We’ve even had to turn down some very large groups who want to volunteer with us. Reducing the number of volunteers most weeks will give us the freedom to open up a few weeks to larger groups. We will accept three larger groups (of any size) each year. These groups will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

What Are the Rules on Skill and Age Ratios?

The rules on skill and age ratios have been around for a while, but haven’t been strictly enforced. These rules apply to all groups, regardless of size.

All groups will be required to have at least one adult for every five participants. For example, a group of 20 will have to have at least four adults.

All groups will be required to have at least one skilled person (a professional or accomplished hobbyist) for every five participants. For example, a group of 20 will have to have at least four skilled volunteers.

Why the Rules on Skill and Age Ratios?

Appropriate supervision is important for every mission trip. This means having enough adults to supervise youth. It also means having skilled volunteers who can teach, supervise, and help less skilled volunteers. Appropriate ratios helps ensure the safety of volunteers, improves service to our clients, and allows our staff to meet other needs.

What Are the Changes to the Educational Portion?

We’ve always talked about our mission trips as service-learning experiences, and we’re going to be revamping the ‘learning’ part of that experience. While we don’t know exactly what will be included yet, here’s what we’re working on:

  • Orientation to Back Bay Mission and our ministries
  • In depth orientations to the ministries that volunteers work in: housing rehabilitation, the food pantry, and the Micah Day Center
  • Opportunities to learn how we administrate our ministries (e.g., how we select clients, evaluate projects, etc.)
  • Opportunities for self-directed learning before, during, and after the mission trip, including manuals for our ministries, discussion questions, and devotionals.

What Are the New Fees?

The new fee structure is very simple.

There is a $200 per group reservation fee, regardless of group size, which reserves space on the calendar for the group. This fee is due when the group makes its reservation.

There is a flat $250 per person participation fee, which provides lodging at the Mission House, materials for service projects, and educational materials.

Why Are the Fees Going Up?

Let’s be honest: the fees for mission trips to Back Bay Mission have always been very low. In fact, they’ve been well below the market rate for the quality of mission trip experience we provide. We could keep those fees low in part because the mission trip program – and the housing rehabilitation ministry – were generously supported by a variety of funders.

Over the last few years, the funding available for housing rehabilitation has gone down while the cost of each project has gone up. Likewise, the cost of providing the kind of volunteer experience that we can be proud of has increased. After careful analysis and a lot of thought, we’ve found that it’s necessary to bring our mission trip fees more in line with the market so that the mission trip program – and the housing rehabilitation ministry – can be financially viable.

Introducing the Changes to Our Mission Trip Program

By | Mission Trips, Volunteering

In our October e-news, we announced that we’re making some changes to the mission trip program at Back Bay Mission. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be letting you know the details of those changes, which will be in effect for volunteers coming in 2018. For now, we want to give you the outline of what we’re planning.

First, we’re going to restrict the number of volunteers we take each week. Most weeks will be capped at 20 volunteers, with a few weeks allowing larger groups. We’re also going to enforce some rules about skill and age ratios for groups that we haven’t been enforcing in recent years.

Second, we’re going to revamp the educational part of the mission trip program, strengthening the ‘learning’ part of this service-learning experience. We’ll be working out the details over the next several months, but we’re hoping to provide a more consistent education, deeper looks into our ministries, and opportunities for self-directed learning.

Third, we’re going to change the fee structure and increase fees. The new structure will be: a $200 per group reservation fee (regardless of group size) and a $250 per person participation fee. These fees will cover lodging at the Mission House, service materials, and educational materials.

These changes will make this volunteer program stronger (and more financially stable). It will also make the housing rehabilitation ministry, food pantry, and Micah Day Center – all ministries served by volunteers – stronger.

We’ll give you more details – and the reasoning behind them – over the next couple of months. Keep your eyes on your email, or our website and social media channels, to learn more.

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