A. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to send your son or daughter on an LDS oriented humanitarian expedition. HEFY humanitarian trips change the lives of those served and those who serve. Service builds character and testimony.
Q. Can I accompany my son or daughter?
A. Yes. Come along as a volunteer adult coach. On every trip, we reserve space for adult male and adult female coaches. Click here for more information.
Q. Can you give me a contact for a parent who has sent their teenager on one of your expeditions?
A. Yes, we have an advisory board, comprised of past participant parents and also parents who have attended a HEFY trip as an adult coach. You can find contact information for them in the About Us section. Click here for the advisory council information.
Q. How many kids and adults go on a typical HEFY trip?
A. The typical trip is comprised of 10 Young Women and 6 Young Men, between the ages of 16 and 19. There is one group leader and three parent chaperons. HEFY maintains a 1 adult to 5 youth ratio.
Q. Are these coed groups?
A. Yes with the exception of the expeditions to Ecuador which consist of all young women. HEFY attempts to organize groups that have a balance of YM and YW. While this provides the youth with an opportunity to form lasting friendships with both YM and YW, HEFY programs follow "mission" rules of conduct and do not allow "pairing up". HEFY programs arrange for separate sleeping and bathroom facilities for YM and YW.
Q. How does HEFY choose a trip leader?
A. Trip Leaders are recruited from within the organization. They may have attended HEFY trips in the past as participants or as a trip leader trainee. Trip leaders serve in this capacity on a strictly volunteer basis. All of our trip leaders have been leaders in the YM/YW organization, hold current temple recommends and in most cases are returned missionaries. Click here for more information on our trip leaders.
Q. Will I be able to call my teen while they are out of the country?
A. Most locations where we serve don't have telephones. Our trip leader has a cell phone on them at all times to be used in case of emergencies. If you need to contact your child in case of an emergency, you may call HEFY and we will contact the group leader to put you in contact with your child. HEFY will send an email to the parents once the group has arrived at the departure destination and the group leader will send an email to the parents once the group has arrived in the foreign country. The group leader will also send an email about halfway through the trip to update parents, and the youth will have one opportunity about halfway through the trip to email home.
Q. Will there be someone to meet my teen when they get off the plane at the departure destination airport?
A. No. There will not be someone to meet your teen when they get off the plane at the trip departure airport (usually Los Angeles or Miami).
They will have to find their way from their arrival gate to a designated meeting place (usually the departure gate), where the trip leader or one of the adult coaches will be waiting for them. All HEFY participants are given a HEFY t-shirt to wear while traveling to help keep the group together. We will also provide them with the cell phone number of the leader just in case they need to call for directions.
Q. Do I need to purchase travel insurance for my teen while they are on a HEFY expedition?
A. No. HEFY will purchase an international travel and medical emergency policy for your child while they are out of the country. HEFY will email you confirmation of that policy about a week prior to the trip departure date. You do need to have your youth covered by your own health insurance policy.
Q. Who can participate in a HEFY expedition?
A. Single youth ages 16-19 who submit an online application and are accepted to the program. Youth must be 16 by the day the trip starts. No exceptions.
Q. How long has HEFY been sending LDS youth on these "mini service missions" to poverty-stricken areas?
A. Since 1999. Areas of service include: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Peru, Tonga and United States (Appalachia).
Q. How many youth participate?
A. In 2010, over 300 youth from throughout the U.S. and Canada traveled abroad to serve on one of fourteen HEFY expeditions. In 2012, service projects were increased to try to meet the increasing demand from youth who want to to participate.
Q. Is HEFY part of BYU's EFY program?
A. While HEFY and EFY share many of the same beliefs, standards, goals and objectives, HEFY is an independent non-profit organization and is not affliliated with EFY, BYU nor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. HEFY programs are open to youth of any denomination that agree to follow the HEFY code of conduct. Prayer, scripture study and Church attendance are an important part of each program.
Q. Is this a rehabilitation program of some type?
A. No. The HEFY programs are designed for teenagers that are active in Church programs. While the programs are designed to strengthen testimonies of Jesus Christ, the programs are not designed nor equipped to handle teens experiencing emotional, moral, substance abuse or discipline problems. Our trip leaders are volunteers as well. They don't have any professional training or resources to deal with youth with special problems. If the trip leaders encounter teens with emotional, moral, substance abuse or discipline problems they are instructed to send them back home early so as not to disrupt the trip for the other participants.
Q. Is an HEFY expedition a site-seeing trip?
A. No. Of the typical 18-day expedition, only Saturdays are set aside for site seeing. HEFY believes in immersing youth in the communities and among the people of foreign lands to help them understand the lessons of poverty and the genuine joy that comes serving those in the most extreme circumstances.
Q. Can my child be registered on a trip and be on the waiting list?
A. No. A participant is either registered on an expedition or on the waiting list. It isn't possible to be on both. If a participant that is registered on an expedition applies for the waiting list, they will lose their spot on the expedition they were on.
Q. Can spots for Young Men be give to Young Women if the trip is full for Young Women?
A. No. All trips, with the exception of Ecuador, are coed and must keep a certain boy to girl ratio.