The road trip is one of the greatest things about student ministry. Adventure. Memories. Laughs…God-awful smells from the back of the van. This is the fifth post in a 6 part series on the things you should know before you get in the van with a bunch of students and go somewhere. You can find the first post HERE, the second post HERE, the third post HERE, and fourth post HERE.
You might also be interested in these posts as well: Social Birdflu: How Twitter Almost Killed Our Student Ministry and Social Birdflu Part 2: When Words Take Flight
These are insights that I have picked up mostly from getting my tail kicked by experience. The better prepared you are to handle life on the road, the better chance you have to provide an experience that your students will never forget!
Things you should know before you get in the van continued…
1. Designate a banker and a drug dealer
Some kids just can’t handle money. If you are on an extended trip, it may be wise to help them manage it so they don’t blow it all with in the first few hours you are on the road.
Talk to their parents before hand – if they feel that their child will need help with managing their money, find an organized and trusted leader that can take on that responsibility. It helps you, it helps the student, and it allows a leader to step up in responsibility. Definite win.
2. Meet up times / check in times
Over communicate these to leaders and students! During long days with extended free time, check in times help you keep track of your crew.
3. Relationship issues… Set the standard up front, then keep your radar on
No one wants to deal with PDA on a youth trip. You don’t. Leaders don’t. Other students don’t. Set the standard for relationship expectations upfront, during a pre-trip meeting WITH PARENTS PRESENT. Lay out the rules – they heard them & mom and dad heard them. I’ve always laid out these 2 basic rules:
Dating relationships are to be put on hold for the duration of the trip
Any issues arising with couples on the trip will be addressed by the student pastor and will result in a call to parents.
For the most part, when I make it known that mom and dad will be notified if there are any issues… problem solved.
HOWEVER… keep your radar on for sneaky couples and encourage your leaders to do the same.
4. If reserved seats are available, they’re worth it – get them.
Any pressure you can take off of your schedule is worth it. If an event offers perks like reserved seating – go the extra mile.
5. Allow time in your schedule for mishaps and traffic
Its always a good idea to build “buffer” time into your schedule. Traffic and road woes happen. Its always good to have more than enough time than it is to be constantly rushed and pushing to keep up with your schedule.