One of the principles about SPACE from the beginning was that we would make sure that students that went out on mission teams were well prepared. It is vitally important that kids on these summer teams understand, to a degree, what the world looks like, understand a bit about navigating in another culture, are not so ethnocentric when they land in the field.
I've put together a half day of pre-trip training that will occur on June 4th for all of our team members. The big picture is training and discussion in:
- culture - what is it like to live in another culture
- your story - developing a testimony
- the world's current condition - current state of the world in missions, etc.
There will also be a time where the teams can take care of whatever they need to. We will provide lunch and then right after lunch do some team building exercises. A friend of mine who has experience in wilderness, adventure, camping ministries is going to come and do some team building stuff. Should be fun and I'm excited that he is serving in this way.
We did the same series of prep meetings last year, but spread them out over a few weeks. I think schedule-wise, this might be easier. One of these years, it would be fun to take all the kids away for a pre-mission retreat.
Last year, we also did the Myers Briggs test and The Hardy Personality with all the teams. I've done MB a lot with teams before and I think it's always useful. I don't think we will be able to fit it in this time though.
Of course, there are some people that think my prep is overkill. They would rather just have students essentially show up. Maybe that is why 75% of our short term trips do damage to host missionary reputations overseas?
UPDATE: We are going to do some kind of team testing after all. Either Myers Briggs, or something similar. One of the leaders from the NYC team last year offered to come and help run something like this. So four workshops, lunch and fun team building.
Photo: Our junior girls waiting for a ride on the Love Cruise, Rockbridge Young Life Camp, Spring Retreat, April 2005.