Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mission trip leadership training with UMVIM

Volunteers with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) presented the mission trip team leader workshop. It was held at the Trinity Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This is the second time that I have been able to attend a mission trip leader training and came away impressed.

Planning a mission trip can take a full year (or more). It isn't as easy as selecting a site and recruiting volunteers. The initial contact with mission sites takes place months before volunteers are actively recruited.

Opportunities are everywhere. Team leaders have to match the needs of the organization with the  interests and possible abilities of the church. The leader gathers information on insurance and what supplies are needed at the work site..

Details of what to expect in terms of cost, housing, meal preparation and other needs must also be determined. Volunteers can't be recruited until after this information is gathered. Fundraising can also begin at this point.

During the UMVIM training, we were urged to purchase mission trip insurance for every team member. I completely agree with purchasing insurance. No one wants for anything to go wrong but the sad fact is that things happen. The Southeastern Jurisdiction of UMVIM offers in expensive mission trip insurance. It only costs a few dollars but can save thousands of dollars and much headache in case of medical emergency.

For me, my last mission trip was life changing. I learned so much more about the area than I would have otherwise. It also gave me skills to bring back with me. Learning that mission trip leader is responsible for so much is intimidating.

In addition to insurance and site selection, leaders are responsible for paperwork, transportation, communicating with the work site, bonding experiences, seeing that the first aid is stocked and a thousand other details to be looked after.

Taking the UMVIM workshop again was an excellent experience. I walked away with solid information about mission trip insurance, registering with the State Department and a thousand other details.There are hundreds of work sites to choose from. I don't know which we'll pick but I look forward to getting started.