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SMP is a service project. Accommodations are often very basic which means sleeping on the floors and having limited access to shower facilities. Everyone is expected to help prepare food and perform other chores. The work is often physically challenging and the work conditions can be difficult. Everyone participates in daily Bible study, worship, and prayer.
1. to build your relationship with God
2. to serve others
3. to build a relationship with a group of committed Christians
SMP is designed for middle school students, high school students, and college students, as well as young adults and adults and families. Students are assisted and lead by adults of all ages from college age up. The family trips include families with young children.
2013 Trips At A Glance:
College Students (must be 18 by June 1) and Adults
Colombia, South America
6/13 - 6/24
Current 9th-12th grades, College Students and Adults
MINC: Ministries in the North Country, Presbytery of Northern NY
6/22 - 6/30
Current 10th-12th grades (must be 16 by June 24), College Students & Adults
6/25 - 7/2
Current 10th-12th grades (must be 16 by July 8), College Students & Adults
7/09 - 7/16
Current 9th-12th grades and Adults
Adventures in Missions,
7/06 - 7/13
Current 9th-12th grades and Adults
7/07 - 7/13
Current 10th-12th grades (must be 16 by July 5), College Students and Adults
Accion Ministries, Mexico
7/07 - 7/14
Current 6th-8th grades and Adults
Pittsburgh Project, PA
7/15 - 7/19
Current 7th-12th grades, College Students and Adults
Local Missions Week
7/22 - 7/26
Current 9th-12th grades and Adults
YouthWorks, Logan, WV
7/28 - 8/02
Read more information about costs
Transportation, lodging, food, building materials, training, t-shirt, recreation activities, and administrative costs.
Scholarships and fund raising opportunities may be available. Forms for applying for a scholarship can be found on the SMP website (under Forms and Resources). Support Raising options will be discussed by trip leaders at trip meetings.
The work is often physically challenging and the work conditions are often difficult. Work varies somewhat from trip to trip so see details on individual trips.
For domestic trips we travel by car or van. For international trips we fly and then take local transportation.
Accommodations are often very basic which means sleeping on the floor and having limited access to shower facilities. At the Pittsburgh Project, for example, sleeping is in a large dormitory space; showers are available in the host facility. For more information on specific trips, contact the trip coordinator(s) listed in the Trip Details section.
The host agency identifies those in need in their area. This usually includes children, the elderly, handicapped and low income families.
It depends on the trip, but you will be provided with a detailed list at a trip-specific meeting.
Again it varies from trip to trip. Meals are not fancy but are usually very good. Trip coordinators will provide more information at trip-specific meetings.
Pray for them or become a prayer partner.
Pray for them. Be a prayer partner for another participant. Come to the training sessions and the reunions. Make certain their paperwork gets filled out.
You’re assigned an individual on the trip that you’re asked to pray for everyday while they are on the trip.
We have emergency contact forms and health forms for every participant that we keep with us at all times on the trip. The trips working with outside organizations have their own emergency forms and procedures.
Absolutely, we encourage people to invite others.
They are welcome if they have a heart for missions and service and are willing to participate in all the activities of the group including worship.
For the domestic trips run by VPC, on a typical work day we rise between 6:30 and 7:00 (those preparing breakfast or making lunches usually rise earlier) and have breakfast at 7:15, followed by a short devotional. We pack up and head for the work site. We usually have frequent work breaks to make certain everyone stays hydrated. We break for lunch about noon and eat on the worksite. Lunch is followed by a quite time Bible study. Work resumes in the afternoon and usually we work until about 4:30 or 5:00, depending on the time required to travel back to the host Church. The crew responsible for dinner usually leaves a little earlier. We stop for showers before returning for dinner. Dinner is usually at 6:00 or 6:30, followed by a short amount of free time. Usually worship and crew meetings start about 7:30 and go until about 9:00. Lights out is at 11:00pm. The trips working with organizations have their own schedules; refer to their websites for more detail.
Probably not a bad idea if you haven’t had one recently. (Note: Some international trips may have special requirements; details will be provided by the trip coordinators).
That’s the wrong reason to go on an SMP, but yes it probably would. More importantly it makes you a more complete person, more certain in your faith, and more knowledgeable about your priorities.
The trip coordinators are listed in the Trip Details section.
This is a question we wish somebody would really ask. We’re always looking for students or adults to help with music leadership so the answer is an emphatic yes. For the foreign trips you should check with the coordinators to see if there are any transportation issues.
No but these are especially welcome: home repairs, food coordination, worship coordination, music leadership, or guitar playing.
(You may download and/or print a copy of these rules.)
Summer Missions Projects are great opportunities for intergenerational relationship building, a chance to learn some practical life skills and to experience life in a Christian community, all to the glory of God.
In the summer of 2012, the VPC staff seeks to reaffirm its commitment to providing a physically and psychologically safe environment for students and adults who are participating in our missions projects. SMP, like much of life, is not without risk.
We will look to gather your input at the end of each trip to give us insight as to what the “rules” should be as we work with the different challenges we will face in trips around the world and “how we have always done it.”
It is important to note that we will be looking at how we organize each site at each work project for an appropriate set of group dynamics so there is a healthy ratio of adults to students as well as healthy male/female interaction.
One important rule for all is that at no time should there be adults and students in one-on-one situations out of the view of the group for more than 15 minutes. This is for the protection of both students and adults. It is preferred that when possible we travel in groups.
- Cell Phones – Cell phone use is to be kept at a minimum and is for important information exchanges. When a phone rings the response should be immediate such as communication between work parties, between cars during travel, communications with parents, etc. (Again, use discretion.)
- No alcohol, tobacco products, drugs, pornographic material, weapons, inappropriate sexual activity. For the safety of students and adults be aware of your surroundings and do not allow yourself to be alone with anyone else, out of view, especially someone you are unfamiliar with.
- SMP is about being in community. Everyone participates in all activities: meals, recreation, work, and worship. No headphones until lights out.
- Everyone stays with the group at all times, unless permission is granted. Crews may enjoy a trip to McDonalds, Sonic, 7-11, or other snack type restaurant. This builds team camaraderie during the week.
- Restricted Areas – Please establish common (co-ed) areas for participants to meet/relax/fellowship together. Please respect male and female needs for privacy. Opposite sex participants should never be in each other’s sleeping areas (if an awkward situation presents itself please discuss it with the group leader).
- Judicial use of materials on the worksite. Please don’t waste material or cause any safety hazards.
- Feel free to share any and all concerns with your group leaders.
- Curfew/Lights Out – 11:00PM**** (This is one we NEED to be flexible on. Wonderful discussions or the completion of games are two great reasons to let this one slide now and again. Explain to the students that we need them to be awake and in good spirits in the morning for work. Sleep is important. Many of these students don’t need as much sleep as adults. As long as an adult (not college) is with the students this should be up to the adult as long as it is quiet enough for others to sleep.
- All drivers must be at least 25 years of age.
- Music on the work site is allowed. However, it should appeal to many of the people at the work site and music should be shared. Also the volume level should be adjusted to the situation – if there are neighbors, children or tenants, be very considerate. No explicit content. Set a good example! There are situations where full attention is necessary; during those times please refrain from music playing. (USE JUDGEMENT – don’t fight.)
- Music off the work site. We do not allow headphones except after lights-out because of their isolating affect even if the students desire this. During free time or down time music is allowed (Christian and secular – again no explicit lyrics) either on a boom box or played on a guitar.
- Work Site – work boots or hard-soled shoes, shorts or jeans depending on type of work. ALL participants should wear a T-shirt on the site (sleeveless ok). NO tank tops, tube tops, spaghetti straps, or strapless garments while working.
- Non-work site – be respectful and modest.
- Swimming – Girls please wear respectful, one-piece suits; if you wear a two-piece you will be asked to wear a tank top or shirt over it.
The trips sponsored by other organizations have additional rules that apply; refer to their websites for more details.