Charter bus rentals are one of the best ways for church groups to travel. A motor coach or mini bus can help your whole group arrive on time and at the same time to a variety of church events and functions. For many churches, group gatherings and travel are a vital part of their ministries because there’s nothing like a group activity to strengthen a group and create bonds between group members.
People of all different faiths make trips, go on retreats or minister to those in need. Here are a few types of church outings that rely on charter bus rentals:
There are always people in need, and churches are active in providing assistance in local and national situations. Faith groups have a strong hand in working with FEMA during devastating catastrophes.
USA Today published an article about how faith groups provided the bulk of disaster recovery in coordination with FEMA to help victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
For example, the Seventh Day Adventists played an integral role in warehousing, collecting, logging and organizing the distribution of disaster supplies, such as water, diapers, clothing and other materials.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief also provided help through work crews that pulled mud out of houses and sent trained disaster relief volunteers into the wreckage to help families navigate their way out. The United Methodists have 20,000 trained volunteers throughout the U.S. who act as early response teams doing debris removal and home cleanup.
Convoy of Hope, a non-denominational Christian organization specializes in feeding, and they set up feeding stations and stood ready to supply people in the hardest hit areas with food, water and sanitary supplies.
Another aid group called Samaritan’s Purse had chain saws and trucks ready in Florida so their members could help remove debris.
These are just a few of many churches that are active in sending groups to aid in disaster relief, and groups of all sizes rely heavily on the motor coach industry to provide transportation.
Other outreach activities on a local level may involve taking a group of Christmas carolers to sing to residents in a nursing home or to organize a cleanup crew to rake leaves and clean up yards for widows or visit and bring gifts to children in an orphanage or community hospital.
Youth Group Field Trips
Church activities or outings, such as field trips, provide youth with a safe and wholesome atmosphere where they can interact with others their own age. It gives them fun things to do and can help develop their sense of self worth. Outings also enable adult church members stay in touch with youth and help them integrate into the larger church community.
While outings don’t always go as planned, it’s important to have a plan in place and reliable transportation is an important aspect of the plan. The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) plans lots of outings and has some valuable tips for event planners and youth coordinators:
Pick a site, such as a museum, amusement park, baseball game (stadium) or festival.
Find out what the site’s hours of operation are, the cost, special group rates, requirements for tax exemption and any rules the site has for groups visiting the site.
Trip dates and paperwork
Set the date for the outing, contact parents, and get parents to fill out permission slips and insurance forms.
Reserving transportation requires pinning down as closely as possible how many adults and youth will be going. A mini bus can hold up to 35 people and a motor coach holds up to 57 people. Because the adults will be busy supervising the youth at the site, ensuring their safety and participating in the event, it is wise to charter a bus. You avoid the risk of a tired adult having to navigate traffic on the return trip. A rested and highly trained professional driver at the wheel is safer for everyone in the group.
Make sure all forms are completed before leaving on the trip because you bear the legal responsibility for medical attention or other things that go wrong.
Devise rules for the trip
Do head counts or roll calls and establish a buddy system. A three-buddy system provides safety in numbers and is a system where everyone stays in a group of at least three or more people. Youth should let their adult members know where they are at all times. Trips to the bathroom should be done at least in trips of two. If you’re doing an all-day event, create check-in times at certain locations throughout the day. Do a head count before leaving the bus and make sure you do another head count on the bus before leaving the event site.
Establish a home base for your group
Pick a location, such as a pavilion in a park or certain area if at a museum, etc. Everyone starts out at the home base, and, if possible, have a few staff remain at this spot in case kids show up with questions or problems.
Staff the event
You need to have enough staff to supervise your youth. One adult per every five or six children or pre-teens is an ideal number ratio.
Many churches have choirs, and some have both adult and youth choirs. Taking a choir on tour to perform at other churches or venues is often part of a church’s music ministry. It’s a great way to foster fellowship within the church.
Many churches encourage retreats, which allow its members to get away from ordinary life and strengthen their relationship with God through prayer or spiritual teaching. The length of time spent at the retreat can vary from a few hours to a few days or even a month. You can spend quality time with others in your group. Often retreats are held in peaceful environments where people can connect with nature and escape from the busy hustle and bustle of busy lives.
Scheduling a motor coach or mini bus for drop off and pick up is an easy and stress-free way to transport your group to a retreat.
Youth Group Summer Camp
Many churches and institutions have established summer camps for kids. When school is out and kids have time on their hands, summer camp is a great way for them to interact in a constructive way.
You’ll see Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and other religions sponsoring summer camps where kids can learn how to swim, canoe, cook using a campfire, and in general, spend time in the greater outdoors.
The website Theology Degrees has a list of Christian summer camps all over the country that includes Catholic and Protestant Camps of various denominations. One camp has a Legos Robotics area. Another camp focuses on teaching children about the world’s religions. Yet other camps focus on sports where kids can play soccer, baseball, and basketball and go water skiing.
A mission trip can be domestic or international. The purpose of a mission trip is to volunteer assistance while also spreading the gospel. Church organizers lead the missions, and members going on a mission trip may be youth or adults. When a church sends a group on a mission trip, it can deduct the travel expenses as long as the trip is for charitable purposes and has no considerable element of recreation, personal pleasure or vacation.
When you have a good-sized group and big events planned, it is wise to leave the driving to a professional. A lot goes into planning an outing. In particular, when there are youth to supervise, you want to have a driver who is well-rested and well-trained.
There is no safer form of ground transportation than motor coaches. Bus travel is much safer than having individuals drive in their own cars. So, even if the church has its own bus, it’s worth the expense to charter a bus, especially for a long trip. Professionally trained drivers have all their attention on driving and can ensure safe pickups and returns for passengers.
Motor coaches are also greener than hybrid cars or any other transportation mode. Based on mileage traveled and the number of passengers, a large bus reduces the carbon footprint to statistics that are far less than other vehicles.
This information is courtesy of US Coachways, which can provide safe and reliable transportation for your church group. They have motorcoaches, mini buses, vans and even executive buses, along with ADA-accessible buses, www.uscoachways.com.