General Ministry
Josh Griffin

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about violence and accidents that happen during youth group. Was hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

I was wondering, when it comes to youth trips, how are chaperones funded in your ministry?  Does everyone pay out of pocket?  Are all of their costs subsidized by the ministry budget or fundraisers?  Is there a split between the two? I was just curious as to what your policies are.  How many “trips” would an adult leader have the opportunity – or even be expected – to attend in the course of a year with your youth group?


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  • Bekah says:

    We do a combination of things. For retreats, I have our students cover the cost of leaders. We usually assume a ratio of 1:5. If I bring more leaders than that, then I cover it out of my budget. For mission trips, it is significantly higher. We have the students cover 30% of the cost, we are able to cover 30% through our missions budget for short-term missions, and then the leaders cover 40%. Often our students raise more money than they need and that will go towards helping cover more of the leader’s portion. I would love to be able to cover everything for our leaders as they give up so much time and are often taking off of work to be there, but I also need to keep things affordable for students and within my budget.

  • Travis Williams says:

    We typically will do a discount for chaperons and take the money out of the budget. They pay for food. I feel like they deserve a discount but not a free ride since most of the time our trips are weekends(not taking away from their jobs) and our trips are a blessing to them too.

  • We do not ever ask leaders to pay for a trip or a retreat; the cost is covered by the general youth budget. However, not everyone gets to go on our trips, especially our summer trips. I understand that paying some money would create buy-in and serve as sort of a filter, but we know our leaders pretty well and hand-select the leaders that come on our trips, and we don’t want to create a financial burden in addition to the time they will take off work. (Some leaders do offer to pay; when they do, I ask them to contribute to the scholarship fund if they feel compelled to do so.) Of course, we don’t do really expensive international trips; we do domestic trips that would include more students, and our church’s international trips (about four a year) are open to high school students if they want to go that route.

    • Jason says:

      I was wondering on a different but related topic. On average how much do students
      Pay out of pocket per year on events and retreats ? We have a large group so trying to keep
      Things different gets expensive. Having the kids (there parents) pay out of pocket can add up
      Over a year especially if they have siblings around the same age.

  • Joe Dore says:

    For basically anything other than mission trips, we pay for leaders through the budget. They cover some expenses while on the trip (meals while traveling, extra things, etc.) unless there is room remaining in the budget. For mission trips, fundraising opportunities help them too. Like Bekah said, for our mission trips the money raised by students can often offset the expenses of others.

    My basic philosophy is to do whatever I can to make sure there is no out of pocket cost for those I’ve asked to help lead a trip. A lot of times they are giving up vacation time and time away from family – I want to make it as easy as possible for them.

  • Coop says:

    In the ministry I’m part of, adult leaders pay half price, and cover their own meals (unless it’s a group meal, like if we order pizza). If it’s just leaders going to a conference, the church picks up travel and hotel, and we pay meals and registration.

  • Josh says:

    This is a great question. For many of my retreats or service trips, I ask the other adult leaders to drive and that is their contribution (their vehicle and cost of gas). As far as registration, I use a mix of fundraising and youth budget to cover them. If it is a week-long mission’s trip, I ask the adults to pay the trip deposit and then I ask our mission’s team to cover them or a person in the church to assist with the cost.

    I am grateful that they are giving up their time. Like Benjer, if they want to pay, I ask them to contribute to our Youth Mission’s Fund Raising so that students can go for less cost.

  • Kraig Bishop says:

    We budget yearly to cover all adults on trips. They pay travel food and incidentals, but we cover all registration costs. In most cases, my adults are taking a week of paid vacation from work or even an unpaid vacation, and I am very thankful that we have the resources to cover their costs. The awesome thing is, those same adults, knowing that their costs are covered, often give generously to our students fundraising efforts.

  • Ryan says:

    My trips depend.

    For instance, running a retreat in just a few weeks and I am covering the cost for the adults. The only responsibilities they will have is the fast food that we purchase on our drive home.

    Our summer missions trip is no cost to my chaperones, either. Not even at gas stations when we stop to get snacks. They take a week of because they want to serve in our ministry and I want it to be worth their while. I want it to be a perk of being in leadership and lead them through that.

    I try to cycle through my volunteers (all parents at this point) and use them at different parts of the year for different events. I will cover their costs if I need them. In some cases, some have wanted to join and I have turned them away because I simply don’t need them. But if I am taking them as a part of my team, the cost is covered for everything in most cases.

  • Kyle Corbin says:

    We try to cover all the expenses of our youth volunteers. Whether it is a coffee with a student to going on a trip with us. They give of their time and sacrifice a lot of heart for our students. The least we can do is try to cover that. There have been a few occasions when we cannot cover them but we do our best. I also have the fortune of being able to work this into my budget every year without any conflicts.

  • Rusty says:

    It varies by event. Retreats, camp, and other event where I want them at we pay the cost. If it is a event where I will have more than enough adults: mission trips, fun events, etc we will subsidize their cost when we can. I also try to budget in perks for leaders like free swag: jackets, sweatpants, gift cards for above and beyond service.

  • Derek says:

    We pay for all the registration fees and such for all of our trips and retreats. This money comes out of our general youth budget each year.

    Each year we have roughly 4-5 “big” events/trips that this would cover. We do not put any pressure for our leaders to attend a certain amount of these trips, but the majority of all my leaders make each trip or event a priority. Usually in any given year there 1-2 events that each leader will miss. For our group this works out tremendously.

    My thinking is that my leaders need to be taken care of. They are already devoting a ton of time and money (vacation time, etc.), so the more I can do to show them that they are appreciated the better.

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