IMPACT is the high school group dedicated to serving others. IMPACT meets on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. and at other times for service projects and special events. Many youth who want to participate in the annual mission trip join IMPACT. However youth who are not interested in travel are welcome to join the IMPACT family to serve and connect here at home.
Yes we are currently planning for mission trips in 2021! Tentative dates are the 2nd and 3rd weeks of June, 2021—but that may change to accommodate changing sports and school schedules, as well as continued coronavirus restrictions.
Kenilworth Union Church began international travel with young people in the 1980’s when our Pastor Emeritus, Gil Bowen, was asked by parents to take high school students on a month-long trip to East and West Germany. These Europe trips continued until after the Berlin Wall fell, at which point the church began traveling with students to Nogales, Mexico to work, serve, and learn.
Since then, the Kenilworth Union Church IMPACT program has lead youth mission trips to destinations such as Panama, Bahamas, Guatemala, Jamaica, Belize, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Colombia. The destinations provide a stark contrast to the environment in which our participants grow up, which is part of the reason they are eager participate. Youth thrive in these life-changing trips where they have a unique daily opportunity to learn about and encounter Christ’s love with each other and with those they meet.
Youth who want to be involved are encouraged to attend the IMPACT orientation meeting in September (please register and reserve a spot). There they learn what the IMPACT program is about and why it is important to distinguish living as a servant to others and God as different from doing volunteer work for a good cause. In the fall we give IMPACT meeting attendees an opportunity to work together to get to know each other and also to care for others through service work.
Youth can then register for the Mission Trip Program between late November and Mid-January. Our meetings in January dig deeper into exploring faith and life. Each year we chose a different theme related to Christian faith in our individual lives and in the larger community that also is relevant to where we plan to travel on mission trip. Previous themes have included Stigma, Poverty, Scandal, Violence, Fear, and Pain. Exploring the theme might include special guest visits, hands-on activities, small group discussions, or other program plans that get youth thinking about living their faith in deeper and more meaningful ways.
- When is the Mission Trip? The trip is typically the first full two weeks after school ends for New Trier in June each year. In 2021 there may be some changes because of coronavirus rescheduling of school and sports.
- When do we find out where IMPACT is going? Each fall the mission trip destination for the following year is kept top-secret until Reveal Night. Held on a Sunday evening, usually in November. Reveal Night is when the next summer’s mission trip destination is revealed and the registration period officially opens.
- When is Registration? Registration opens on reveal night or the day after and closes January 15. Late registrations are automatically waitlisted.
- Who gets priority? If trip space is limited upperclassmen, youth who are active in Kenilworth Union Church, and/or IMPACT in the fall are given priority. Our goal however, is that every youth who registers will have an opportunity to serve on a mission trip.
- Can non-members participate? Yes! Every high school youth regardless of church affiliation is invited!
- What is the cost? The program fee varies from year to year depending on the costs associated with the trip. The cost is typically $1,500–1,700 per person per week. Fees may need to be higher in 2021 because of added coronavirus limitations, staffing requirements, etc. Scholarship support is available.
- What does the fee cover? The program fee includes all local program costs January–May (meetings, service projects, special events) plus the mission trip: airfare, transportation, food, lodging, and supervision. It does NOT cover the cost of projects we will do on the mission trip. Participants will solicit donations to fund those projects.
- What work will you do? The kind of projects each mission team is assigned to depends on the needs of the communities in which we serve. We typically engage in work projects and relational ministry. In the past we have built homes, installed cement floors, dug trenches for footings and foundations, built schools and additional classrooms for schools, painted homes and rooms, repaired residences, churches and orphanages, directed VBS and sports camps for children’s, offered tutoring and reading sessions, done home visits to elderly residents, organized activities at nursing homes, helped with feeding programs and soup kitchens, etc. The emphasis is on relating to the local people we are serving, so there is always ample opportunity for interaction.
- What if I am in boarding school and can’t attend local meetings? Contact Silvi Pirn to arrange for custom program requirements.