Your student was selected to a Discovery team! Now what?
Find answers to commonly asked questions here. 

Starting the Journey

This page has been designed to serve as a resource for parents of Discovery students. Please begin by familiarizing yourself with the Discovery's objectives and outcomes, and then continue reading for information about, among other things, fundraising, safety, health, vaccinations, visas & passports, insurance, culture shock and the return home (click on a link to jump to the section).

Objectives & Outcomes

Discovery's hope is that students will Go, Serve, Transform:
  • Learn to trust God for His provision and protection.
  • Travel to other communities not as perfect ambassadors of Christ, but as broken vessels in constant need of God's grace.
  • Come to understand that conflict or disagreements are handled differently in varying communities.
  • Learn to enter another culture as a servant and learner.
  • Build long-lasting relationships with those they serve and return home ready to enact change.
  • Help meet the spiritual and often physical needs of those served.
  • Be transformed - a new creation in Christ - to transform others.
  • Experience and enact personal and spiritual growth in themselves, the team and those who are served. 
  • Learn to pray, read the Bible and know and use scripture every day.
  • Come home ready to make a change while minimizing experience-related feelings of guilt, anger or depression.
  • Learn how to further the ministry even after returning home.
  • Understand how each experience is part of God's perfect plan. 
  • Learn to live in community and be able to translate that back home. 

Philosophy

Discovery offers a unique opportunity to integrate Valor’s vision and mission into life in a tangible way by exploring other cultures (local or abroad), developing meaningful relationships within the Valor community, serving others in the name of Christ, and deepening students’ personal walks with Jesus.

Fundraising

Student Role

A critical part of each student’s responsibilities is the effort of helping a team raise the support necessary to cover team expenses. Some may raise more than others, but it is the responsibility of
the team as a whole to raise the funds for experience expenses.
Discovery believes it is important to allow family and friends to partner with students in outreach through prayer, financial and personal support. Therefore, we ask that all team members send out support letters, even if a student plans to pay for their experience. Click here for a sample support letter.

Fundraising Guidelines

As a non-profit organization, Valor Christian High School is obligated to adhere to specific rules and practices with regard to how donations are handled. All gifts must be made payable to and be under the control of Valor and not payable to or under the control of an individual team member. Valor strives to abide by IRS requirements while honoring the preferences donors.
Each student on a team will have a specific amount to raise which he or she will be responsible for meeting should the team as a whole not otherwise cover the cost of the trip. Families should understand that while each student must raise their expected amount, funds are raised for the team - not individuals. Because funds are being raised for the team, overages in funding go toward team funds. All funds raised are tax-deductible gifts and therefore cannot be refunded.

Depositing and Tracking Funds

Online donations are preferred, and supporters can easily donate online at discovery.managedmissions.com/OurTrips or govalor.com/discovery (click on Support a Team). A donation link will also appear on students' electronic support letters. Checks and cash will also be
accepted, and should be mailed or given to students so that students can get credit for all donations. When checks or cash are received, students should seal in an envelope with their name on it and place in the lockbox next to the front desk. Checks should be made payable to Valor Christian High School.
Student names should never appear on the check -
not on the memo line nor the payee line.

Students and leaders can and should monitor fundraising progress in Managed Missions. Click here to view sample fundraising tracking screens.

Important Fundraising Details to Remember

1. All funds are raised for the team and are therefore tax-deductible.
2. Overages go toward the team total.

3. Online donations are preferred.

4. Student names should not appear anywhere on a check donation. Designate allocation on an envelope or a donor response slip.

5. All contributions are tax-deductible gifts and cannot be refunded except in extreme circumstances.

6. If a student does not raise enough funds to cover the cost of the experience, they may be removed from the team.


Fundraising Opportunities

Support Letters

  • Students will personalize their online support letters at Discovery.ManagedMissions.com. These letters are called public profiles on Managed Missions.
  • When writing the letter, explain the details & purpose of the trip and invite the recipient into
    partnership through prayer and if possible, financial support. Click here for a sample support letter.
  • Share the letter via email or social media with as many people as possible. Include friends, relatives, neighbors, coaches, pastors, etc. Provide a donor response slip if sharing with someone who prefers to donate via cash or check. For safety reasons, please do not share exact trip dates or locations on support letters.

Taste of Discovery

Taste of Discovery is an annual community fundraiser which raises money for student and team experiences. Stay tuned for details on what this event will look like in 2021. When it happens, students and families can help raise funds by selling event tickets and soliciting auction donations.

Additional Fundraising Opportunities

Teams are permitted to participate in additional fundraising activities, but must first receive approval
from Discovery. Students should discuss fundraising opportunities with team leaders. Additional opportunities can include restaurant spirit nights, garage sales, community events, etc.  

Health & Personal Information

Magnus

Discovery will access Magnus for all student health, consent to treat, emergency contact and personal insurance information. Once a student has been assigned to a team, additional forms will be added to Magnus. These forms, which include releases, passport uploads, and proof of immunization (if applicable), are required for all students. Families will receive weekly reminders from Magnus for missing items.

Medications

Inform leaders of regular medications not listed in health documents. In case of emergency, leaders and Discovery staff must be aware of all medications in case that information is needed from medical personnel. In most cases, prescription medication must stay with the student it belongs to, and will not be kept by team leaders. This does not include epi-pens or medication a student might need while incapacitated, which may be kept by leaders.
Students should not start new medications less than one week prior to departure, including vitamins and supplements (unless prescribed, like anti-malarials). Introduction of new medicines or vitamins can cause serious reactions and adverse effects not previously experienced.

Allergies & Medical Conditions

Students and parents should be forthcoming with all medical issues, including but not limited to allergies, pre-existing medical conditions and medications. Students will be responsible for managing their own condition and medication, even if this means bringing personal snacks based on dietary restrictions which are conducive to travel and able to be consumed in the field. Discovery reserves the right to remove a student from a team based on medically-based concerns.

Immunizations & Vaccinations

Discovery does not mandate vaccinations or immunizations except when required for entry into a country. Families should consult with their primary care physician for direction on medical preparedness for travel.
The website travel.state.gov also provides helpful information on vaccination and medication requirements and suggestions. Use the search tool under “Learn about your destination” to view vaccination and medication requirements for your location.

Not all primary care providers are able to dispense medications or administer appropriate vaccinations for overseas travel. Request a referral to a location that processes international travelers.

Click here for a detailed list of providers who can provide care and immunizations for international travel. 

COVID Vaccination Information

Please stay tuned for information about COVID vaccine travel requirements.

Safety & Security 

Insurance

All international Discovery travelers are automatically enrolled in a basic level international travel accident and medical insurance coverage and coverage for emergency medical evacuation. Additional coverage, if desired, must be made by the student’s family and at the family’s expense.

Technology Policy 

Students are restricted from carrying an electronic device while on a Discovery experience. This include phones, tablets, laptops, iPod, DVD and mp3 players. Certain leadership teams may allow students to travel with a device, but they will be collected and stored until the team returns home. Please note that this becomes a liability and we do not encourage students to bring anything on a Discovery experience of significant value that would be difficult or expensive to replace. Valor does not take any responsibility for any personal items brought into the field

Safety in the Field

Our partners in the field typically have resources to execute appropriate measures in times of emergencies. Leaders will have a conversation with ministry partners upon arrival to map out plans which should be enacted in an emergency situation. 
There are strict rules in place for students and leaders which exist to protect teams while they are serving on Discovery experiences. It is important that students adhere to these rules to keep team members safe throughout the entirety of the experience.

Communication

Though parents should communicate with team leaders prior to a trip, all communication while teams are in the field must go through the Discovery office. Parents should not contact leaders directly while they are serving. Parents will be given their on-call contact in Discovery at their commissioning event or sooner. Discovery staff will be in constant communication with leaders in the field, and can deliver and receive urgent messages at any time. Families and students should never post detailed travel plans, detailed updates or news on social media leading up to or during an experience. The type of information which should not be shared publicly includes specific location details (city or hotel, for example), specific dates, specific names, etc. Consider the safety of the team when divulging team or experience details. 

Each Discovery team will keep a blog while in the field. Families are encouraged to regularly check their tea blog for general updates. Blog links will be made available before teams depart for experiences. 

Visas & Passports

Many countries require U.S. Citizens to apply for a visa prior to entrance. Visas are typically obtained from each country’s consulate - the procedures involved, fees charged and processing times vary. If you will be traveling to a country that requires a Visa, your team leader will provide further information on the process.

If you are traveling internationally and do not already have a passport, apply immediately. Routine processing of passport applications will take approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application, but processing times are exceptionally long in 2020 and 2021. Expedited service is available for an additional fee. 

Visit travel.state.gov for detailed information on US passport agencies or country-specific passport
requirements.

It is important that only color copies of these documents be submitted to Magnus for Discovery travel.

Dress Guidelines

When planning and packing, students should consider Valor dresscode, the culture being visited and the reason for going. As representatives of both Valor Christian High School and the Christian faith, we ask that dress be conservative. The specific dress that may be appropriate in the area students will visit may vary from site to site, but generally if there is uncertainty about an item of clothing,  assume it is inappropriate. Team leaders will provide further information on what is appropriate for the location that will be visited. Students will receive trip-specific packing lists prior to departure.

Review and comply with the most updated dress guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Baptism

On any given experience, the possibility for student baptism may arise. Often students desire to take a step in their faith walk as a result of their experience with Discovery and request to be baptized while on a trip as a result. Discovery desires to honor Christ in baptism and also wishes to be sensitive to the backgrounds, perspectives and desires of students and families before entering into this important faith event.

Baptism is referenced in Matthew 28:19-20 as a command from God for all who are to become disciples of Christ. It is an act that symbolizes death to old life, repentance from sin, confession in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-27), a turning toward new life (Romans 6:3-4) and a belonging to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Baptism is the public declaration and outward expression of the change that has happened within a believer since putting their faith in Jesus Christ.

For more information, please visit https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-baptism.html.

Discovery leaders have been trained on the significance of baptism, and have been directed to take much into consideration when approached by a student desiring to be baptized on a Discovery trip.

1. An initial discussion should be had between the student and the leader.
a. Is the student a believer? Has there been a change in his or her life? Is there a point in time that the student can point to which would signify a conversion experience? What led him or her to make the decision to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior? How has the decision to follow Christ affected his or her life?
b. Does the student understand what baptism is, what it entails and what it means? Baptism is a turning point in a believer’s life and is a reflection of a behavioral change, not just an emotional experience. The student must decipher that for themselves and be able to explain their transformation.
2. Parents should be a part of the baptism in some way - through discussion, permission, or attendance - whether or not parents adhere to the same beliefs the student is professing. Valor desires to working in partnership with committed parents on this issue.

3. A student should be counseled as to the importance of becoming involved in a local church. Scripture states that baptized believers should be part of and devoted to the Body of Christ, which is the local church. This action also assures the continuation of growth and accountability in a believer’s life.

Dealing with Culture Shock

It can be frustrating to adapt to a new culture. Culture shock is a very real response to people who spend more than a couple days in a new culture - it is also very normal.
Culture shock is defined as the feeling of disorientation, stress or anxiety that occurs to someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar - and usually drastically different - culture. This stress comes during the stage of adjustment to a new environment. The level of associated stress depends on adaptability, flexibility, preparation and effort.

Symptoms of Culture Shock

The following symptoms can be signs of culture shock and should be discussed with team leaders.
  • Excessive concerns over cleanliness and health, food, drinking water, dishes, bedding, etc. Feeling that all things are dirty.
  • Native foods are unappealing.
  • Frequent intestinal disturbances (upset stomach), cold, headaches, nausea, and other illness out of the ordinary.
  • Fatigue, lack of motivation.
  • Inability to sleep well.
  • Irritability towards host culture.
  • Not able to perform job well or carry out assigned tasks.
  • Loneliness, isolation.
  • Depression, loss of humor. Hostility directed toward authority.
  • Rejection of anything American – becoming critical of home, policies, Americans, etc.

Returning Home

For students, the experience doesn't end when they get off the plane in Denver. There will be much to share and even more to process. Your presence throughout this process is extremely important. Please take some time to read this article, which includes tips for helping your student return home from missions.  

Additional Questions? Contact Discovery.