Inside: How To Plan Mission Trips for Teens + Young Adults Service Travel Ideas.

If you have a teen, you are probably starting to think about college entrance preferences or hearing about community service requirements from the high school. While volunteering in your local community is laudable, and frankly probably more impressive from a college application standpoint, many families start to think about mission trips for teens.

Because of the fully-immersive nature of mission trips, as well as often exposure to different cultures and diverse economic conditions, these experiences tend to have a profound and lasting impact on teens. Something we can all use right now to see beyond their friend bubble and SnapChat and Tik Tok.

There are tons of options when it comes to mission trips for teens. There are group trips to join, family trips to take, and some set up more as research projects or teen tours. Many times teens join in on a group service trip set up by their school or religious organization, but that isn’t always an option.

While there are plenty of choices out there! It isn’t easy to find a group of them in the same place to sort through and figure out what is best for your child. For those looking to send their teen on a summer service trip, we put together a list of amazing options below.

Mission Trips for Young Adults

Summer Mission Trips for Teens

Let’s start off with some of our favorite mission trips for young adults! These even include a few of our favorite Christian mission trips for teenagers. Let us know which you think sounds like the most fun and rewarding.


GoEco offers over 150 volunteer abroad programs in over 40 countries. These programs range from working with exotic wildlife to teaching English to children. There are both guided projects for teens and international internships for college students.

GoEco focuses on ethical voluntourism and works with providers from local community groups to renowned global organizations. Their projects are all carefully vetted to ensure every volunteer experience meets ethical standards. This is another interesting choice for those teens interested in environmental protection and wildlife preservation.

Overland Summers

Overland Summers offers a number of adventure and cultural trips, but they also offer teen summer service and hiking trips. At Overland they put together small groups of no more than 12 students for hiking and service trips in New England, Maine, Alaska, or Colorado. Every trip that places a premium on having fun and making friends while being challenged in new ways.

Summer Mission Trips for Teens

Rein Teen Tours

Rein is known for its traditional teen tours but it also offers community service programs in Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Thailand, and Cambodia. The community service trips for teens provide authentic opportunities to give back in meaningful ways. Also, to learn about different peoples and places throughout the world.

Programs include teaching English in a Thai children’s home in Bangkok, working with abandoned animals in Hawaii, assisting the indigenous Kichwa tribe in the Amazon jungle, and helping families on the verge of homelessness in California.

Shoulder to Shoulder

Shoulder-to-Shoulder provides high school students with the opportunity to live and serve “shoulder-to-shoulder” with non-profit leaders and their communities, working directly on projects to make a long-lasting impact. Each year, over one hundred high school students and course instructors from across the nation work with trusted NGO partners on four continents.

Courses vary from 8 to 20 days and include community service and exploration.

Mission Work for Teens

Mission Trips for Teens

These are just a few of our favorite short-term mission trips for young adults. Each of them holds its own lessons, ideas, and benefits for teens. Check out a few more of our favorite programs for your teenager.

Catholic Volunteering has some really intriguing ideas here. (I mean what exactly IS “Virtual Volunteering?”) And they have both year-long internships and job postings listed on their website.

The Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust have partnered together to encourage teens to get involved in their communities. The program looks like a great way to develop teen leadership skills as well.

Latitude Global Volunteering offers worldwide programs for youths aged 17-25. A truly exciting variety is available in programs such as outdoor recreation, rural health care, teaching English abroad, and assisting disadvantaged/handicapped youth.

LoveVolunteers offers over 120 rewarding, safe, and affordable volunteering opportunities in developing countries around the world!

WorldStamp enables you to take 9 months to explore 3 amazing countries: India, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Their motto is “Let the world be your classroom. Step outside your comfort zone, explore new cultures, and make an impact on the world.”

Service Project Ideas

MissionAdventures describes themselves as a “full-service short-term outreach ministry for groups.” But you can go anywhere from the Outback to Latvia to India to Alaska and beyond with them! An arm of YWAM…

YWAM (Youth With a Mission) has been around for years. This particular program is geared towards kids and teens. However, and they also have programs for family-oriented training in their Discipleship Training Schools.

Teen Missions International has some exciting short-term mission opportunities for your high schooler this summer. Their post here lays out many of the benefits of and skills learned through missions for teens…and they also have info on a Gap year program

More Great Travel Ideas Teens Will Love

  • Teen Travel Programs (Summer + Abroad)Looking for travel abroad programs for high school students that rarely disappoint? You’re at the brink of adulthood and even during breaks from school, commitments are starting to pile up—summer school, part-time jobs, Netflix binges, to name a few. Don’t let that stop you from having the experience of a lifetime before the responsibilities (and college applications) pile on too thick. Don’t worry, we have put together the top 10 teen travel programs for your teenager to visit.
  • Things To Do in Los Angeles for Teens – Whether your teen is a bookworm, an outdoor adventurer, or a shopaholic, there’s something for everyone in this southern California city. From visiting one of the many themes and amusement parks in the Los Angeles area to going horseback riding in the mountains just outside the city, you’re sure to find something to add to your itinerary.
  • Fun Activities in Las Vegas for Teens – There are a ton of cool things to do in Las Vegas with teens. Exciting tour options include everything a teenager wants to see and conquer including zip lines, roller coasters, navigating an ATV or dune buggy, and there are even options to take them to a shooting range.

Mission trips for Teens