Committing to come on a mission trip is a huge decision. We've designed this page with your questions in mind. From the big questions about what we believe in to the specific details it takes to pull off a safe trip, we try to cover the things you might be wondering about. Click on the topics below to find a series of related discussions within that topic.
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|LIST OF TOPICS|
Our Mission & Purpose
Location & the Week Plan
Participant Age Limits
Coming as Group or Individual
Health Concerns & Safety
In general, why does S.A.L.T. Mission Camps exist? We exist to create a space where teens from Mexico and the U.S. come together and live side-by-side for a week to two weeks. As we see it, this is a profound example to the church, and the world, of what it is to be a part of the large body of Christ. It’s obvious that our teens are more globalized and informed than ever. This reality asks us as a church to think in new ways about ministry and relationship. While we will serve the Nazarene churches and communities surrounding these churches during the mission trip, we also place a high emphasis on genuine interactions between the participants from both cultures. We hope, through service projects and daily camp life, to foster an environment where it is safe to ask tough questions about our predominant worldviews and build real relationships that provide some answers.
What can I expect from the S.A.L.T. Mission Camps? The S.A.L.T. Mission Camps staff is committed to a quality mission done with integrity, sensitivity, and humility. We handle the pre-trip communication and registration so that you can focus on spiritually preparing your church team. The moment you check-in with us at Point Loma Nazarene University, we manage the logistics of transportation, food, housing, and schedule. Then as a group, all participants and staff will unite with the Mexican participants in Mexico for a week or two of deep conversation and daily service in the community with your small group, worship within camp and at local Nazarene churches, and developing friendships across all levels.
Who is S.A.L.T. Mission Camps connected to? S.A.L.T. Mission Camps is dependent on and so grateful for our connections to the Nazarene church at large. The Nazarene leadership team in Baja and Southern Mexico extends an invitation to us to join its churches in the compassionate work they are already engaged in. We are the official mission agency of the Southwest Region NYI Council, the Southwest arm of the newly installed Border Initiative, and a student ministry sponsored by PLNU. We also rely on Nazarene Work & Witness to give us insight into the mission strategies of the whole church. Our service to the teens that participate in our program is intentional and informed by a strong network that is invested in the empowerment and witness of local churches and pastors.
How do you integrate the leadership of the camp? We are a unique program with lots of leaders running around! We select and train PLNU and Mexican Nazarene Seminary college students to lead small group discussions, be available to our teen participants, and facilitate the operations of camp life. Along with these quality students, we expect our adult participants will immediately assume ownership and guidance of the program upon arrival. Adult leader expertise and experience with their teens that are attending is essential in making connections and follow-up with their youth groups. College students provide a new energy and relatability for teens, while gaining valuable leadership experience. Together, the college students and adults become partners in guiding each other, teen participants, and the life of the whole camp. Melissa Tucker, S.A.L.T. Mission Camps Coordinator, provides overall camp direction, along with Program Assistant, Cristina Pacheco.
LOCATION AND THE TRIP PLAN:
(Check out our trip description page for more detailed info on the trip!)
What will the travel be like?
Participants will check in at PLNU. Please arrange your personal travel to PLNU. We will arrange shuttles to pick you up if you fly or take the train/bus. Once all U.S. participants have checked in, we will travel to Ensenada where we will meet up with Mexican participants. We will travel to Ensenada in PLNU buses. Throughout the week, we will travel by charter buses.
What will our accommodations be like?
A beautiful and secure campground in Ensenada will be our camp home for the week. The campground is secure with supervision around the clock. Bathrooms and showers are on-site - and we will rent additional portable toilets to serve our group. Breakfasts and dinners will be served at the camp site, while lunches will be sent with us in bags each day. All meals will be prepared by church members.
Do the sites we stay at have bathrooms with showers? Yes.
What should we pack? A complete personal packing list will be in the Welcome Packet you receive once you apply. If there are items requested for donation, you will be notified in advance. You can also view this packing list on our Participant Resources page.
What does the week look like? The first few days will be spent in travel, training, settling in, and team-building. Most days, you can expect to wake up, eat breakfast, serve the community with members a partner church the bulk of the day, return to camp to clean up and eat dinner, attend a short worship service, meet with your small group to discuss the day, and have some free time before lights out. You will receive a full schedule in your Welcome Packet once you apply.
Who will be in my small group? We create diverse teams of both teens from Mexico and the U.S. If you come with your youth group, you most likely will be split out across groups to enable building new relationships. 3-4 PLNU leaders will lead each small group, along with adult leaders and youth pastors from your home churches. You can expect your group to have 15-20 members.
What happens in small groups? Because we believe that the best growth happens when we are out of our comfort zone, we create small groups/service teams comprised of people from various churches in the U.S. and Mexico. This diversity allows for rich dialogue and challenges us to seek God in the midst of ideas that may be new and unsettling to us. PLNU student leaders and adult youth leaders present questions and offer their own insights as a guide for each discussion.
What will we do during the day with the churches? In your small groups, you will do a variety of community ministries. We are already planning outreaches in city parks, city-wide worship services, children's ministries, and visits to compassionate centers.
How do I find out more specific information, like: who is on my team, how do I get to Check-in, how to pay for the full trip, etc? Once our office receives either a Reservation Contract (where you just reserve spaces for your or your group) or your Application Form, we will immediately send you a Welcome Packet full of every little detail you could ask for. If you sign up as a group, your group contact will receive the information. If you sign up as an individual or family, the information will be sent to your home. Scroll down to find out more about how to apply. To preview the type of information in the Welcome Packet, go to the "Participant Resources" section of our website.
How can I be ready for the week? Visit our Participant Resources page for all the information you'll need to be ready.
Who can participate in S.A.L.T. Mission Camps? S.A.L.T. Mission Camps is designed for high school students. Youth pastors, youth leaders, and parents are, of course, welcome and are a necessary part of our leadership structure.
What do you consider "High School" age? We allow students who are just entering and exiting high school, as well as all the other years in between!
Do you allow children/teenagers younger than high school age to participate? We evaluate child/pre-teen participation on a case-by-case basis. We will only consider exceptions if at least one parent/legal guardian has also registered to attend. Even then, discretion and final decision belongs to the S.A.L.T. Mission Camps staff. Please contact the office directly regarding child/pre-teen involvement.
How do I apply to go on S.A.L.T. Mission Camps? Go to our Application Resources page. When you're ready to submit applications for specific participants, visit the applications page, select the type of application that you need, and download the form.
What is the deadline for applying?
Ensenada & Maneadero Summer Trip:
Application Form (one for each group member): May 1, 2011
How much does it cost to go on S.A.L.T. Mission Camps?
Ensenada & Maneadero Trip: $300/participant
A $50 deposit per person is due with your Application Form. This goes toward the overall price of your trip.
If you don't have a passport, you will also need to factor the cost of a passport into your trip. You are also responsible for your personal travel to the Check-In location for your trip. Once you've checked in, S.A.L.T. Mission Camps will transport you for the duration of the trip.
I'm coming with my church group. Do we need to apply together? You should reserve your spots as a group with our Reservation Contract. This holds your space until you decide to fully apply. Later, when you submit formal applications, also include our Group Ledger form. At this point, please try to send as many applications in together as possible.
I've already sent in my Reservation Contract. What's next? Within two weeks of reserving your space(s), you will receive a Welcome Packet with more detailed information. Remember to submit an application for each group member by the deadlines listed a couple questions back.
Is there a limit to how many people you will accept into S.A.L.T. Mission Camps? For the trip, there is no limit. We have made reservations with adequate space. When you apply, you are not entering a selective process where you are either "in" or "out" -- all are welcome.
How would a college student (not from PLNU) go about applying? Any college student would apply as normal, using the adult application form. The fee for college-age participants is the same for all other participants (Ensenada- $450).
If coming as a group, is there a required ratio of adults to teen participants for our group? No, you do not need to provide a certain number of adults in your group, nor is there a limit on the number of adults that can come. Because the camps are staffed by PLNU and Mexican Seminary students, there is ample supervision available for the teens who attend unaccompanied.
Does our group need to provide a translator? No, you don't need to have a translator as part of your group. Many of the PLNU students are bilingual and will serve as translators for the camp and their small group, along with other applicants who are bilingual.
What if I'm not coming with a church group? Is it ok to come as an individual or with a small group? Absolutely! Solo participants come all the time. We find that they mesh easily with their assigned group and tend to bond quickly with other solo participants. Because we split up our participants into mixed groups for the week anyway, most everyone has the initial uncomfortable experience of having to meet new people. To apply, you can still use the Reservation Contract to hold your spot and follow the application process as normal. Once you send in your Reservation Contract, you will receive a Welcome Packet that will be sent to your home.
Do I need a passport to go into Mexico? YES. If you do not have a passport, you need to start the process as soon as possible. Visit our Passport Guide page (accessible also through our Application Resources page) for a step-by-step guide on how to file for or renew your passport.
But I've heard they aren't really requiring passports... For a time, there was a grace period at the border while the law was being introduced. As of January 1, 2009, the law is in effect and we require passports for all participants. Proof of passport must be shown at Check-In.
Can I get the new passport card instead? A much cheaper option for those traveling by land border into Mexico is to get a passport card. The process is the same as the old passport book. Please be aware, though that the card is only good for land crossing, so it is would not be valid for trips you may want to take in the future to Mexico which would require a flight. Read more about this new option on our Passport Guide page.
What exactly do I need to cross the border?
All Participants: S.A.L.T. Mission Camps require that all participants have a passport.
Minors (those under 18 years of age): After you apply, S.A.L.T. Mission Camps will contact you and provide several mandatory consent forms -- one is a "Mexico Travel Consent Form". This is a legal document which guarantees that parents/legal guardians have approved the minor's participation with S.A.L.T. Mission Camps and that S.A.L.T. Mission Camps is the responsible party for the mission week. The Border Patrol has assured us that this is the most effective means of safe crossing. You may bring a picture ID with you as an added precaution, but it is not necessary.
Legal Adults: You may also bring a picture ID with you as an added precaution, but it is not necessary.
I've heard I should bring my birth certificate. Is this true? Birth certificates are not necessary. If you prefer to bring yours, please do not bring the original with you. Make a copy and keep in a secure place.
Do I have to have insurance to go on S.A.L.T. Mission Camps? No, you do not need a personal insurance provider to come on the trip. S.A.L.T. Mission Camps is an entity of the Church of the Nazarene and a partner with their volunteer mission program, Work & Witness. Work & Witness provides excellent coverage that we purchase for all participants. The cost of this insurance is included in your application fee.
How good is the insurance coverage? The policy allows us to seek local treatment, return to the U.S. for care, or, if severe enough, receive “Life Flight” helicopter rescue. For a thorough look at the policy, please visit the Work & Witness website and click on: “W&W Global Insurance Policy Pamphlet” under “International Forms”.
What happens if I get sick or hurt? S.A.L.T. Mission Camps has a registered nurse in staff for the week. In addition, each team is equipped with a well-supplied first aid kit. If medical attention beyond the nurse’s expertise is needed, the staff is knowledgeable of the medical facilities in the area and will act promptly. The full insurance coverage ensures that you would receive proper treatment immediately.
How safe will I be? We will be staying at enclosed campgrounds. Camp staff, along with the owners of the campground, will patrol the borders and act as security at night. Along with 40 staffers from PLNU, our adult participants will form a network of caring, attentive adults. For more information on our safety standards, please visit our Safety Procedures page.