FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions about the Youthlinc Service Year
Youthlinc takes the safety of our participants very seriously. To help ensure the health, safety, and overall well-being of our participants we:
- Make available a travel clinic hosted by the University of Utah Hospital. The cost of this clinic is built into Youthlinc’s program fees. At the clinic participants learn about how to stay healthy while traveling in developing countries. They also have a private consultation with a nurse or physician to discuss recommended vaccinations and get prescriptions for recommended medications.
- Purchase emergency medical insurance through Wallach & Co. for all participants. This insurance covers the cost of medical expenses incurred from possible injury while traveling internationally once a $500 deductible is met (by the participant). Coverage also includes emergency evacuation if the situation calls for such measures. You should not rely solely on Youthlinc’s temporary insurance, you should always have our own personal medical insurance as well.
- Engage in the practice of frequent “Safety Minutes.” The “Safety Minute” is a practice we require our Team Leaders and Mentors to do in which they take a moment to pause, assess situations, and evaluate what could potentially go wrong in order to ensure the safety of those with them. To read more about what a “Safety Minute” entails click here.
- Require all participants (students and Mentors) 18 years and older to complete a background check.
- Assign a medical professional (MD, RN, EMT) to every team to help keep the team healthy and consult on any decisions relating to a more serious health-related situation.
- Require students to stay in groups of 5 at all times, including a mentor. Our adult to youth ration is 1:4.
- Regularly evaluate the evolving political and environmental conditions at our international sites to ensure our operations are as safe as possible.
- Vet out safe and reliable transportation, accommodation, and food vendors under the direction of our in-country partners and a visit by a staff person to any new locations at which we have operations.
- Identify hospitals or medical clinics abroad that have access to westernized medicine and training in the case that a hospital visit is necessary.
Our Service Year teams include high school, college, graduate students, student alums who have traveled with a Youthlinc team before, and working professionals – mentors – who oversee the committee work planned in monthly meetings and implemented in-country. Mentors (6-10 per team), alums (5 per team) and students (~25 per team) travel together to the international service site.
Airfare is the biggest cost, and biggest variable. Tentative out of pocket costs are $4,200 to Madagascar, $3,900 to Kenya, $3,800 to Fiji, $3,600 to Nepal, $3,600 to Peru, $3,500 to Thailand, $3,300 to Cambodia, and $2,900 to Guatemala.
What is included in the cost?
Flights (including in-country flights as necessary), in-country transport, accommodations, food, water, a day or so of tourist activities, major medical & evacuation insurance, supervision and direction of Youthlinc team leaders during the Service Year and in-country. However, your passport and recommended vaccinations, personal needs, souvenirs, beverages other than water are your own financial responsibility.
Youthlinc is a 501c3, nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Many participants raise all trip costs. Almost everyone fundraises some. We give fundraising advice at General Orientation and at team meetings. We stagger program payments November-April to give participants time to ask friends, family, neighbors, and others for donations.
Students and mentors who need financial aid can apply for support. This application is available on our website in the “Apply” section. Financial support applications must be submitted with the Service Year Application. Awards are $250-$900.
Students with exceptional service promise, or who are selected by individuals, colleges, Rotary Clubs, may receive Legacy Sponsorships of $900. Visit the “Apply” or “About Us” section of our website for information about Legacy Sponsorships.
Financial support is awarded after acceptance, after initial deposits are made, in December of each Service Year. There is no guarantee of financial support, so participants should anticipate paying or raising trip costs.
Youthlinc accepts applications for the Service Year mid-August through mid-October of each year. Check our website www.youthlinc.org/apply for application deadline. Notification of acceptance is sent in October.
International service trip dates are in June and July each year. Trips are approximately two weeks long. Check our website Service Year section for more information.
All students must contribute 80 hours of local service in their own communities during the Service Year (October 15-June 1), becoming a relied upon volunteer at one main service site. At least half of the required hours must be contributed at this main site. Other miscellaneous service associated with clubs, churches, and other activities can comprise no more than half of the required hours. Students choose their main service site, where they contribute hands–on service with needy individuals.
Everyone accepted into the Service Year is required to attend General Orientation, the second Saturday of November. Waiting list students are encouraged to attend because if anyone drops, these students will be accepted first. Teams plan their international service at monthly meetings. Participants can miss no more than two team meetings.
Youthlinc students are encouraged to take leadership roles in planning and implementing the extensive international service contributed by each team. They are supervised and guided by trained Youthlinc team leaders and mentors in Utah and internationally. We are hosted by Rotary Clubs and reputable NGOs at each of our international sites. We work with them to plan and organize each trip.
Youthlinc was founded in 1999. We are supported by Utah Rotary Clubs, and affiliated with several departments of the University of Utah, Utah State University, Dixie State University, and Westminster College.