Off-Site Youth Activities

Snow skiing. Camping. Whitewater rafting. A youth group trip can give students an exciting diversion from their weekly routines, as well as an opportunity to strengthen healthy friendships. Off-site activities may challenge your students to step outside of their comfort zones a bit, but this can bring about a positive result.

Similarly, ministry leaders may find youth event administration challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

Follow these guidelines to maximize the unique benefits of an off-site youth ministry trip and avoid common pitfalls.

Plan Your Trip

Follow these steps:

  1. Check your church liability policy for exclusions to determine what kinds of trip your liability policy covers.
  2. Enlist responsible adult supervisors.
    1. Screen candidates for the following characteristics
      1. Maturity
      2. Judgment
      3. Ability to manage children
      4. Consistent attendance at your church for at least six months
    2. Also look for these supplemental qualifications
      1. First aid and emergency medical training
      2. Familiarity with the activity
    3. Enlist enough adults to place at least two in charge of each student group (group size depends on the activity). All adult chaperones must supervise in pairs.
  3. Keep students’ parents informed. Once you establish dates and a tentative plan for your trip, ask parents to sign an “Activity Participation Agreement.” This form should include:
    1. Emergency contact information
    2. Permission to provide medical care
    3. Acceptance of risks, assumption of liability
  4. Collect and photocopy participation agreements. Make sure that at least two adults on your trip have copies.
  5. Confirm that all participants have adequate insurance coverage for the trip.
  6. Ask adult chaperones in your group to carry cell phones so they can contact a student’s parents or obtain emergency help.
  7. Give each participant your group leaders’ names and contact information
  8. Bring First Aid supplies.


Choose Transportation

Chartered bus—Make sure your company has a certificate of insurance and modern, well-maintained vehicles. Do not sign an agreement that makes your ministry responsible for injuries that participants sustain while riding the bus. If the bus driver speeds, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to slow down.

Separate vehicles—Place at least two adults in each vehicle to safeguard against allegations of misconduct. Avoid taking seventeen passenger vans and other large vehicles, if possible.

An exciting location and a fun group of people are a sure recipe for spontaneous fun, but always remember to put safety first. Do not allow horseplay to get out of hand. If your group plays a game in an outdoor area or a natural body of water, check the area thoroughly for hazards, beforehand.