Intro and History
Servant Life partners to send American teams on short-term mission experiences to Costa Rica. Our mission partner's passion is to reach the vast number of youth throughout the Spanish-speaking world with the transforming message of Jesus Christ.
In the late 1990’s, our mission partner began to develop a premier Christian camp that would endeavor to work through the local church in reaching Costa Rica for Christ. They dreamed and prayed for a large property that would enable them to build a state-of-the-art camp in order to reach many young people with the transforming message of Jesus Christ. In 1998, that vision became a reality when God gave them a 600-acre cloud forest property bordering the Tilaran Mountain Range, 22 kilometers from San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
With the technical advice and wise counsel of friends and the prayers and financial support of hundreds of Christians, they began building a camp for 150 teenagers. The recreational program and spiritual impact over the years were so evident, that they have been forced to grow the facilities and double their capacity.
The camp now has the capacity for 300 campers. The facilities include boys’ and girls’ cabin areas each with a large restrooms, a dining commons, a 400-seat chapel, a large gymnasium and game room, a sports field, high and low ropes courses, 3 large ponds for water games, staff and guest housing, and an office/reception area.
Since itheir beginning in 2001, our mission partner has reached over 50,000 young people, and as a result, thousands have committed their lives to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Servant Life is excited to partner here as we send teams of Americans to help serve at their youth camps. Check out our blog to read about a Servant Life team member's experience in Costa Rica.
What will my team be doing? Teams will be staying at the campgrounds and working as part of the camp staff to host Costa Rican students. You will be worked into the daily camp routine and might be asked to help with anything related to the youth camp or the camp facilities. The staff will try to vary the routine from day to day to expose you to different areas, but activities will include helping lead recreation (games, mud obstacle course, amazing race), working in the snack shops and bike rental shops, serving in the kitchens, and things of that nature. There might also be light maintenance, such as painting, that you can help with. At the end of your time serving, your group will have the opportunity (at an additional cost) to visit a Costa Rican resort, go zip-lining, or spend an afternoon at the hot springs -- an opportunity to fall more in love with the country before heading home.
What does my cost include?
- In-country transportation
- Ministry activity costs
- Scholarships for Costa Rica campers
- Training Videos
- Pre-Trip Field Manual
- Costa Rica exit fees
Airfare is not included in this cost, but Servant Life does offer to book all airfare reservations.
Front doors of almost all commercial establishments in Costa Rica open INWARDS. As you have become "programmed" to Pull when entering and Push when leaving, plan to feel silly as you tug or push in the wrong direction.
The word for HOT, in Spanish, is caliente. Caliente begins with a "C". Water faucets imported from the USA almost all have a "C" on them. If your Hot Water never seems to get HOT in Costa Rica, try the handle with the "C".
Costa Ricans are referred to as Ticos.
The national anthem can be heard at 7:00 am every morning on all Costa Rican radio stations.
Costa Ricans have a fondness for 80s action movies. Films starring Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude Van Damme get frequent showing on local TV.
There are 52 different species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica making it the hummingbird capital.
San Jose is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. It is the seat of the national government and home to the country’s largest international airport.
Founded in 1738 by order of Cabildo de Leon, San Jose is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America. Today it is a modern city with bustling commerce and a large tourism industry.
Servant Life makes every effort to keep our teams safe during their entire experience with us. You help us by using traveler’s common sense. Staying in groups, not flaunting or bringing expensive jewelry, watches, or electronics, being aware of your surroundings, and not leaving bags unattended are all encouraged practices.
You are unlikely to encounter any serious diseases in Costa Rica. Sanitary standards are high and the health system is excellent. Epidemic diseases have been all but eradicated throughout the country. There are several private hospitals in San Jose offering emergency medical services to foreigners.
Take along all prescription medicines needed for your trip in their original prescription container. For international travel, all childhood and adult immunizations should be up to date, including tetanus. Please check with your local physician and www.cdc.gov/travel for a list of recommended immunizations for Costa Rica.
Always remember to take plenty of insect repellent and drink lots of water. The sun can be very strong, so use lots of sunscreen and wear a hat. Don't forget to take along a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and a good pair of sunglasses.
Dos and Don'ts
Do learn and use the phrase “pura vida,” which literally means “pure life.” Costa Ricans use pura vida for hello and goodbye and to express their happiness. It can also mean “no worries.”
Do bring lots of sunscreen and insect repellent.
Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica
Passport/Visa Requirements: A passport good for at least 60 days from the last day of your trip, and proof of return travel are required for entry to Costa Rica. There is an exit tax of $26 due at the airport to leave the country.
Capital: San Jose
Population: 4.5 million
Languages: Spanish is the official language, but English is widely spoken as well.
Predominate Religions: More than 90 percent of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic.
Time Zone: 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Savings Time, and so falls in the U.S. Central Time Zone (CDT) from Nov - Feb and the Mountain Time Zone (MDT) from Mar - Sept.
Voltage Requirements: 110 Volts, two-prong outlets (similar to U.S.)
Costa Rica is a small Central American country of 20,000 square miles, about the size of West Virginia. The many varied areas of Costa Rica reveal the tremendous diversity and brilliance of the country's rich tropical setting. It is home to three volcanic mountain ranges, 9 active volcanoes, Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and numerous rainforests. Costa Rica is a multi-party democracy with over 400 years of unbroken peace, and the "Ticos" (as Costa Ricans are affectionately called) are characterized by genuine friendliness and national pride.
The capital, San Jose, and the neighboring major cities of Alajuela and Heredie lie in the middle of the Meseta Central (Central Valley). Almost two-thirds of the nation’s population lives in this small, fertile valley. The Pacific coastal plain is much narrower than its Caribbean counterpart. Both coasts are lined with white and black sand beaches.
Costa Rica’s currency is called the Colon. As of 2010, the Colon was exchanging at a rate of 502.7 Colons per 1 US Dollar (CDC 500.91 = $1 USD).
Costa Rica is a tropical country with several distinct climatic zones. There is no winter or summer, but most regions have a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. Temperature is more a matter of elevation than location with an average of around 72 degrees in the Central Valley, 82 degrees on the Atlantic coast and 89 degrees on the Pacific coast.
Nestled on the slopes of the Tilaran Mountain Range, La Montana Christian Camps is part of a vast section of cloud forest. Cloud forest clothes the top of all but the highest of the Costa Rica’s mountains. Driven by the northeast trade winds, clouds sweep up and over the mountains and through the treetops, bathing the forest in moisture. Cloud forest is a land of gnarled trees, festooned with orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytes, which thrive in the high humidity. Beads of moisture cling to countless leaves and sparkle when sunlight filters through the mist, making this one of the most pure water sources in the world. Huge areas of cloud forest are protected in Costa Rica in national parks and reserves that are strung out along the continental divide.
Servant Life will take care of your in-country transportation. Teams typically travel via bus or van.
Why Go With Servant Life?
Our team at Servant Life has two primary functions: serving local churches here in the U.S. and Canada, and serving and supporting the work of missionaries around the world.
Servant Life serves the Church by equipping and sending believers to the nations. Our 20+ years of experience in short-term trips makes missions possible for many churches and individuals. Many churches do not have the training, experience, connections, or time to organize and execute trips of this magnitude. This is where Servant Life steps in. Our trips are all-inclusive, which means that we focus on the details so that you can focus on ministry with your team. Our team will work with in-country missionaries to take care of food, lodging, and ministry experiences for your short-term mission trip. Servant Life also provides international traveler's insurance, trip devotionals, training videos, and other resources as part of your basic trip cost. Servant Life exists to be a fantastic resource for churches as you make disciples of all nations.
Servant Life serves missionaries by equipping and sending the Church. According to our mission partners it can take a combination of 50 phone calls and e-mails to prepare a person to serve with them, not to mention countless hours before that trying to find and recruit churches to come serve with them. Equipping trip participants for the mission field requires time and resources that most missionaries do not have, as this pulls them away from ministry in their local context. Servant Life is ready to answer your calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, at your convienence and in your time zone. We can prepare you for the majority of the details for your trip to alleviate some of those communication logistics from the missionary, and then as we get closer to the trip the mission team will be able to communicate the specifics of your schedule and talk through your trip in more detail. Servant Life will also provide training materials for your trip to walk through such topics about the "Why" of missions, how to share your faith, culture shock, and other logistical considerations, so that you show up prepared to serve in your context. Servant Life is not only a great resource for the Church, but a great resource for missionaries as well.
Who Can Go?
Servant Life hosts many youth mission trips, college mission trips, and even works with individuals to get them on a trip as part of a team. Trips will only occur if there is a group (youth, college, or adults) signed up to go. For individuals interested, we would do our best to add you on to a group already planning to serve, but this is not always possible.
If registering and traveling with their church group, students must be 14 years old or older* to participate in a Servant Life missions experience. If registering as an individual participant without an adult, students must be 16 years old or older*. Of course, adults are welcome on these trips as well! Servant Life asks for at least a 1 to 5 adult to student ratio, but some groups even end up closer to 1 to 1 ratio, and we always love it when this happens because we know adults want to serve the nations as well. Teams may be made up of groups and/or individuals.
*It is possible for participants to be younger than 14 years of age if traveling with a group, but that is taken on a case by case basis depending on the trip location and the discretion of our mission partners. For domestic trips such as Houston Memphis, and St. Louis, middle school students are welcome to participate. For international trips, we love to accomodate younger students when possible, but please ask us if you would like to do this in a certain trip.
Can College Students Go?
Yes! Servant Life trips are designed for all students from the age of 14 with a group, or 16 as an individual, all the way through college age. We have also specifically designated College Weeks in which only college-aged students will participate. Additionally, Servant Life has launched the A1eight Project, an opportunity for college-aged individuals to serve with a missionary for the entire summer.
Servant Life trips are priced at a BASE COST PLUS AIRFARE (or plus travel, if domestic). The base cost varies per country and can be found by clicking on the link for a trip on the "Mission Trips" tab at the top of the page. The cost varies from trip to trip simply because our partners have different cost structures in their contexts and different expenses, and our partners set the price of our trips.
The bast cost covers all of your in-country expenses, including meals, lodging, transportation*, and even expenses like translators and local staff for the week. The base cost also covers training resources, traveler's insurance for international trips, and a t-shirt for every participant. Some of our camp ministries include scholarship funds in the base cost so you are helping students come to camp in these international contexts. As part of your base cost, Servant Life also offers to book airfare for you through our travel agent. Contact us if you would like an airfare estimate, and be sure to check out our Financial Guidelines to see a payment plan.
*Transportation is not provided for domestic trips like Memphis, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto. It is provided in NYC.
Servant Life offers to book all airfare through our travel agency, though you may book with your own travel agent if you prefer to do so. We just want you to get the best rate possible! Generally everyone on your team must travel together, though we may be able to take exceptions on a case by case basis. We book group airline tickets and therefore cannot always accommodate special requests for different individual flights. Due to commitments to our missionaries to have groups there on set dates, trip dates may not be flexible, so once again we must take requests on a case by case basis. Generally with our travel agent, we can hold your airfare tickets with a deposit a few months in advance of your trip, but then the full price of the ticket is due around 45 days before your trip. Once a ticket has been purchased in your name, it must be paid for regardless of circumstances. If you cancel an airfare ticket, we will refund you anything that the airline refunds us, but you would have to pay the cancellation penalty that the airline sets. Airline tickets are non-transferrable as they are tied to a person's name, and they are only partially refundable based on whatever policies the airline implements for your specific booking. Airfare can be a headache, but we try to alleviate that burden for you and make it easy!
Servant Life works with missionary partners in each country. Your team will be helping local missionaries with various needs, and exact details may vary from trip to trip. Sample activities include serving at a Christian youth camp, hosting VBS activities in the community or the school, conducting sports camps, "backyard Bible clubs," or other community events, teaching English to internationals, helping with food and clothing distribution, and home visits-- with an emphasis on sharing the gospel and the hope of Christ in conjunction with each of these activities. Specific details for each short term mission trip can be found by clicking on the trip's link and looking under the "What will my team be doing?" section.
We encourage anyone interested in an international mission trip with Servant Life to go ahead and apply for a passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and we generally do not recommend booking plane tickets without a copy of each person's passport, since the name on the airfare must match the passport exactly. Any costs associated with obtaining a passport are solely your responsibility. You can download a passport application and read instructions on obtaining a passport online here. It is required for your passport to have at least six months of validity past your travel dates.
Will I need a background check?
For groups serving on a Servant Life trip, the group leader will need to sign an agreement stating that background checks have been performed for all adult leaders 18 years or older. For individuals, Servant Life will perform a background check for you if you are 18+. The estimated cost of a background check is $10, which will be added to your base cost.
Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area, but please give us a call and we can talk through the recommendations for your specific trip. Ultimately, this will be up to your discretion, as we are not medical experts and default to your local doctor, the CDC, and your own judgment. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.
Once You Register
Shortly after you register, you will receive an email from the Servant Life team letting you know we have received your registration. The next step would be accessing the Prep Center where you will find needed paperwork to be filled out by each participant. An initial per person deposit is due by November 1, and paperwork is due by March 1. If you register after November 1, the deposit is due within 30 days of registering. A registration is not complete until we have received your deposit. Registrations cannot be held beyond 30 days if the deposit has not been received.
How many adults will be on each trip?
We request that groups bring at least 1 adult for every 5 student participants, but it is ok if you have even more than this. This is to ensure to the team's safety. Each setting you are working in is an area designated specifically for youth and college teams, but when traveling in a foreign context that you are unfamiliar with, it is always wise to have sufficient adult supervision.
Will my child serve alone or as part of a team?
Your child will be part of a Servant Life team, which can be made up of groups and/or individual participants. If your child is registering alone, he or she will join the team at a domestic or international airport, and stay and work with them for the remainder of the trip.
What kind of supervision will my child have?
Servant Life teams are led by our in-country ministry partners. This partner serves as the host and leader for the team from the time they land in-country at the airport until they depart at the end of the mission experience.
How safe are these trips?
Servant Life makes every effort to keep your child safe during their entire experience with us. We visit every location before sending a group, and work with partners in the country who are familiar with the area we will be staying in and working in. We research and plan the safest places for your student to eat, stay, work and play.
Who will the teams work with?
All teams work with established Servant Life ministry partners. These are either missionaries or ministry leaders who have a history of service in the country and programs that fit with the mission of Servant Life. To read more about our ministry partners, click here.
Who do I call in case of emergency while my child is traveling?
All Servant Life participants will be given a list with emergency contact information and numbers. This list includes the contact information for Servant Life, as well as our ministry partner serving on the field with your child. If an emergency arises where you need to reach your child, please contact Servant Life first, and we will work closely with you to reach your child.
Will my child be able to call home and email while on the field?
Access to phone calls and email may be limited, and varies from location to location. As your child's trip approaches, more information will be given on phone and internet availability for that specific trip. In the event of an emergency, Servant Life will contact parents immediately. So remember that no news is good news!
We have a frequent flyer program. Can we use those miles to cover my child's ticket?
Possibly. We cannot guarantee which airline each team will use, as we are watching for competitive pricing and schedules. Please contact Servant Life if you are interested in learning more about using frequent flyer miles on a mission trip.
When should my child apply for a passport?
Your child should apply for a passport immediately after registering for a Servant Life mission trip. Passports can take up to 8 weeks to arrive. Costs related to obtaining a passport are the responsibility of the participant.
Is a visa required for my child's trip?
The only country that Servant Life is currently sending teams to needing visas is Kenya. Visas can be obtained prior to leaving or when arriving in country. Specifics will be provided to team leaders and/or students traveing on their own.
Will my child receive any training?
Servant Life will send a preparation manual filled with detailed information regarding your child's mission trip. Hands-on training will take place with the ministry partner once the team arrives at their destination.
Why should my child go serve over seas when there are so many needs here in the United States?
The first and primary reason we believe in sending teams on international mission trips is that God has commanded His followers to make disciples of ALL nations (Matt 28:19). Knowing that we are commanded to play an active role in global disciple-making, we have found that missionaries and ministries around the world have needs that short-term mission teams can easily and uniquely fill, thus helping to advance the kingdom of God in those countries. We also hope that participating in an international mission trip will leave such an impression on your child's life that they will become supporters of mission work for the rest of their lives, whether through prayer, financial support, church leadership, or even life service.
What is not covered in my child's trip cost?
The only expenses not covered in your child's trip cost are meals in airports on travel days, any souvenirs or snacks that your child may wish to purchase while in country, and any expenses related to obtaining a passport and immunizations.
Are there scholarships available for my child?
Servant Life does not offer scholarships. If needed, we encourage participants to raise support through fundraising efforts such as church partnership and personal support letters.
Servant Life is committed to providing a quality mission experience at the lowest possible price. Our goal is not to entertain, but rather to bring the teachings of Scripture to life.
The cost of the mission experience includes in-country costs, such as:
• In-country transportation
• Supplemental Traveler's Insurance
• Sponsoring local students to attend camp
• Pre-Trip Training Manual
• Visa, if applicable
• Exit tax, if applicable
Costs not covered in base cost of the trip include:
• Immunization Shots
• Personal expenses while traveling and in-country, including meals in airports
• Any additional costs associated with the trip before you arrive and after you leave
Deposits of $250 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due November 1. If you register after November 1, a deposit of $250 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due within 30 days of registration.
Deposits are non-refundable.
Servant Life will secure all airline transportation through our travel agent to insure teams arrive together. Once your group is in place, let us know as soon as possible so we can secure your tickets at the lowest possible rate.
You are responsible for the payment of any purchased tickets. Once a ticket is purchased, payment for that ticket must be in our office within 5 business days.
All tickets must be secured and paid in full 60 days before departure. Payments for airfare must be made via check. We cannot accept credit card payments for airfare purchases.
Summer Missions Payments:
The first payment, which is half of the base cost, is due March 1.
The second payment, which is the balance of the trip cost, is due in the Servant Life office no later than 35 days before departure. If your final balance is not received by 35 days out, a $100 late fee may be applied.
PLEASE NOTE: All checks and money orders must be made out to SERVANT LIFE. Please mail all payments and donations to PO Box 36307, Birmingham, AL 35236.
|Date||Price (Per Person)|
|Mar 07, 2020 - Mar 14, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Mar 14, 2020 - Mar 21, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Mar 21, 2020 - Mar 28, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Mar 28, 2020 - Apr 04, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Jun 20, 2020 - Jun 27, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Jun 27, 2020 - Jul 04, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Jul 04, 2020 - Jul 11, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Jul 11, 2020 - Jul 18, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|
|Jul 18, 2020 - Jul 25, 2020||$899.00||Youth Camp / Service Projects||25|