The beauty of our trips is that they require very little planning for your leaders, aside from the practicalities of getting here and back. Still, here are a few things to thing about:
Chaperones – We recommend a 1-to-3 ratio for junior-high groups, and a 1-to-5 ratio for high schoolers. During your stay, all your students must be with one of your adults, so it is important to have enough chaperones for situations where we may split up into smaller groups for different tasks.
Debrief Time – At the end of each night after our scheduled programming, you will usually have an hour or two in your dorm with just your group before bed. Take advantage of this space for sharing, processing, and bonding as a team, it can often be some of the most formational parts of the week. Some leaders plan this out, while some let it flow naturally.
Sightseeing – Many groups will take one day or evening to go explore Chicago. While we are happy to help you facilitate this, it is up to you to find out what your group members want to do. Maybe most of your crew has already seen “the Bean” or maybe it’s all new. Perhaps there’s space in your budget for going to Shedd Aquarium? We are happy to lead you on a journey through China Town, along the Chicago River via water taxi, and downtown for deep dish pizza!
Hearts and Minds – The best thing you can tell your students and leaders, “Be open to what God has to teach YOU.” While your service will be a great help to our shelter and community, these trips tend to have even more impact on those who came to serve. So be ready for it!
Visiting groups stay in our dorm facilities which are on the first floor of an apartment building located directly behind our main building. There is bunk space for 27 in 4 separate rooms, with three bathrooms containing showers. There is a living room that can accommodate large group meetings (27 people if you squeeze!). There is no kitchen available, but the dorm has a fridge and microwave.
Meals are included. We have vegetarian options as well as other options for anyone with any special dietary needs.
What To Bring
Bedding: sleeping bags and/or sheets, blankets, pillows. Mattresses and showers are available but you will also need towels and toiletries. Other items: Bibles/journals, work clothes, long pants, closed-toe shoes, swimwear for the beach, and group games.
We ask for a $50 per person per night fee which covers room and board. There is a non-refundable deposit due (by check) within a month of confirming your dates. This gives us a commitment from you, before we turn down other groups wishing to come during your time slot. The deposit is deducted from your total, which is due when you arrive.
- Spring Break (February to April) $200
- Summer (June through August) $300
- Deposits for the rest of the year are $100 dollars per group
*NEW* We also have a special rate for families who would like to do a mission experience together! $75 per night for the whole group.
Street parking is limited. There is a parking garage nearby at Weiss Hospital for a daily fee. Large buses will find it difficult to park in our neighborhood. We are only steps from the CTA Red Line and from several bus stops. Downtown is about 30 minutes by train. We are only a 10-minute walk from the lake and only a 20-minute walk from Wrigley Field.