Getting ready to send-off your mission team for a summer adventure? When planning a trip, talk is a great place to start, but action is needed to make sure all involved are safe. The risk of not doing anything is just too great. Before the final hugs and kisses be sure to cross these items off your checklist:
- Background checks – Because team members will be living closely together during their time away it’s a good idea to have criminal background checks run on all adult mission team participants. The time to discover that someone has a criminal history of child sexual abuse is before the trip takes place. Also include a Motor Vehicle Report for all the drivers!
- Age-appropriate assignments – Team assignments should be appropriate for the age of the team member. For example, even something as simple as filling up the van at a gas stop may be restricted, by state law, to those over age 16. Try to select activities that match the age and experience of trip participants.
- General health – Team members should be in good general health and up to the rigors of travel and activities they’ll experience on the mission trip. Provide details about the trip’s physical requirements and consider having team members obtain a physician’s certification to participate.
- Vaccinations and medications – Make sure that all team members are provided with relevant health information about the region or country to which they’ll be traveling. Routine vaccinations, recommended by their physician, should be up to date. In addition, vaccinations against hepatitis A, B, typhoid, or anti-malarial medication may be advised depending upon the team’s destination. Country-specific health information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx
- Emergency procedures – Because team members are traveling, and involved in activities that may be at a higher risks level, if would be good to go over some basic safety standards. Also discuss what to do in case of an emergency. Create a one-sheet overview and make sure every team member has a copy. Shepherd’s Watch members can download a sample “Checklist for Driver Safety” under the Extras section of the website.
A few simple steps of pre-trip precaution can ensure a successful and safe mission trip experience. Send us a postcard!
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
[We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!]