Plan A Trip Without Chaperones

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When I started out in ministry I stressed out greatly when it came to planning trips. While there were many aspects of trip planning that stressed me out, the one that got to me the most was recruiting chaperones.  The problem wasn’t finding people to ask, it was not feeling guilty about it.  I felt like I was asking them to be a part of an event where they needed to babysit a group of teenagers.

This past Friday our ministry planned a trip to Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley.  It’s a trip we done several times before, but what was amazing about this trip was the fact that the majority of our chaperones were current small group leaders in our student ministry.  And because this trip was mostly driven by small groups it was an event filled with:
  • HIGH ATTENDANCE – It’s a pain to collect dozens of permission forms on your own and to make sure that everyone got the reminder text, email, or smoke signal.  You can put the responsibility on your small group leaders to recruit their 6-8 teens and collect the necessary paperwork.  In the end it makes planning a whole lot easier. 
  • TRUST – Parents should know their teens small group leader, so they trust the adults overseeing their teens.  You trust them because you know that they will step-up and fill in the holes you miss.  Teens will enjoy the fact that they know someone (even if it’s an adult) so the awkwardness of going alone won’t be there.  When the trust is there it makes it a whole lot easier to rally and organize the group.
  • CONSTANT ATTENTION – The teens become numbers when you just recruit chaperones.  While bonding may occur on the trip, you can only go so deep.  Because the relationships have already been established you allow the experience to go deeper.  Even if a teen is new or this event is an evangelization tool, your small group leaders know how to plug in the new guy.
  • FOLLOW-UP – When you just have chaperones you might form a connection between an adult and a teen; however, when the experience is over, so could the relationship.  When you have small group leaders work with you on a trip, you can guarantee that every student has the opportunity for follow up.  Even if the teen is new, they could connect with a leader and later join that person’s small group.
To use small group leaders as your chaperones is a long term plan and that’s why you can also use trips as a way of recruiting future small group leaders.  It’s about being intentional with who you ask and clear that what they are doing is more than just babysitting; it’s about building relationships.  So, start recruiting by asking God for His guidance and words so that you can get rid of chaperones and plan your trips with leaders.
How do you recruit leaders for trips and events?