1. Fun and Lifelong Memories.
2. Confidence. Teens learn a specific set of skills at home and a separate set of skills at school. Global Expeditions mission trips open doors to a whole new world of skill development, as teens are presented with new situations, relationships, and challenges.
3. Character Building. Mission trips are a place where children and teens discover their talents, interests, and passions. Every experience on a mission builds character, prepares teens for adult life, and contributes to the development of a well-rounded person.
4. Peer Support and a Sense of Community. On Teen Mania’s Global Expeditions mission trips, teens spend day and night with a group of staff and peers who come from all over the world, from all different cultures and grow to know one another well. This closeness fosters tolerance and acceptance and creates a strong sense of community, which in turn helps teens develop a sense of belonging and teamwork. For teens struggling with emotional or behavioral issues, these skills translate to the home environment, where a sense of family cohesion is important for healthy relationships.
Struggling teens often need to get away from their negative peer group at home in order to change troublesome behavior patterns.
5. Educational Gains. Research shows that students generally score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the beginning of summer vacation. But the summer or holiday doesn’t have to be a vacation from learning. Our summer and holiday missions trip programs offer a variety of educational opportunities, with some even granting academic credit. Rather than spending three months completely removed from academics, summer and holiday mission trips create many opportunities for hands-on learning, ensuring a smooth transition back to school.
6. Positive Role Models. Although most teens think they are already adults, they still have a lot to learn from positive role models. At home, parents may be wonderful role models, but the average teen is far more influenced by the opinions and actions of his peers.
On a Teen Mania’s Global Expeditions mission trip, teens have a number of adults to look to as mentors, including field guides, residential staff, and even small group who are passionate about working with teens and trained to ensure safety in every aspect of missions life. They model appropriate behaviors, healthy ways to resolve conflicts, teamwork, and service to others.
These authority figures, who spend day and night with the participants, are experts in establishing trusting bonds with adolescents and helping them learn important lessons without the resistance and attitude parents often receive. They also challenge teens to decide what kind of person they want to become and help them set and achieve their goals, while simultaneously working with parents to make significant strides at home.
7. Independence. For teens who have never been away from home, a mission trip may be their first opportunity to test their skills and abilities without assistance from mom and dad. This is particularly important for adolescents who will soon embark on their transition to adulthood and college. All adolescents, particularly those who are shy, reserved, or socially withdrawn, leave summer and holiday mission trips with a renewed sense of personal power and independence.
8. Appropriate Risk-Taking. In order to succeed, teens have to learn to take risks – sure, they will sometimes make mistakes and fail, but mission trip guides know this is often the best way to learn. Mission trips encourage teens to take calculated risks and push themselves beyond their perceived limits. Always wanted to try something new? Summer and holiday mission trips will make it happen, while ensuring every participant safety and satisfaction. By taking risks early in life, teens learn how to achieve success even when the task seems insurmountable – and they will have a handful of experiences few others could even imagine.
9. Responsibility. Ever battle with your child to get him to make his bed? Eat breakfast? Clean up his messes? Mission trips require teens to organize their personal items, contribute to group chores, maintain their living quarters, and follow a set schedule. And surprisingly, once they get into the groove of missions life these routine tasks are not up for discussion. Teens take responsibility for their own care without debate, setting the stage for good habits and self-care at home.
10. Teamwork. Although teens tend to be fairly self-absorbed, it is possible to teach them the value of teamwork and cooperation. Summer and holiday mission trips take teens away from the computer screen or television and provides them with positive face-to-face interaction. During ministry events, travel time and even meal preparation, teens learn how much better daily life can be when everyone works together. When conflicts or disagreements arise, staff members are around to model healthy communication and resolution of problems. These skills are essential to every relationship the teen creates, whether on a mission trip or at home, and are the building blocks for lasting friendships.
adapted from Meghan Vivo’s, “10 Reasons to Take Your Kids to Summer Camp”