Is It Safe?

Yes.  We wouldn't be inviting people to Detroit if we thought it was unsafe.  Further, we have not had any incident of crime, serious accident, or natural disaster in all our years of service trips.  And, at our accommodation church there is 24-hour security personnel on site.  Plus, at work sites there are on-site project partners who work regularly in the neighborhoods and know the people there.  Our best security comes when we are known by the community members with whom we are partnering and among whom we are staying, and Motown Mission works hard to make sure that kind of security is present for all our volunteers.

How are our registration fees spent?

So glad you asked!  We are excited that by the end of 2016 our Motown Mission volunteers will have put over $2 Million into neighborhoods and ministries through their project contributions and by the value of their volunteer hours!  The breakdown of our average Motown Mission fee is below - thanks for making all this happen!

Average Cost Per-Person for a Motown Mission Week = $315

  • $50 - Project Contributions made directly to Project Partner organizations.  This helps cover building materials, garden equipment, food for distribution, sustainability, and more.
  • $60 - Program.  Includes speaker and band fees for visiting presenters, materials for devotions, afternoon activities and more.
  • $50 - Accommodations at Metro UMC and other hospitality sites.  
  • $57 - Staff to coordinate your projects, food, program, etc.
  • $63 - Food.  Gotta eat your Wheaties to have a successful service week!
  • $35 - "Evening in the D" ticket / T-Shirts.  Call it the "entertainment" fund.

What ages do you accept as volunteers?

Every volunteer who comes to Motown Mission must have completed 6th grade - so older than about 11 or 12 years of age. It will be hard to digest the social topics we discuss if your youth are much younger than that. 

Do you host more than one group at a time?

We are able to host up to 100 people each week. Sometimes a group comes in and is able to fill an entire week, and if that's the case we only schedule that one group (usually takes about 80 people to reserve an entire week to yourselves). If groups are smaller, we host multiple groups at one time.

Do groups stay at the same church or host site?

 All work groups stay at the same church. We have many classrooms that have been converted into sleep quarters rooms with bunk beds. We have an additional partner site designated for adult groups if requested.

Do groups stay together during the day?

 During the work day your group stays together as one (or multiple) teams. We usually try to keep teams to about 7-12 people depending on the transportation they're able to bring. So if you bring 20-25 people, we'd ask that you split into at least two teams. There are worksites that could accommodate a group size of 20-25 so if you'd prefer your entire group stay together, just note that on your registration form.

Is Metropolitan UMC a nice place to stay?

Motown Mission began in part because we knew about Metro UMC and it's facilities and thought it would be a great place to host mission teams.  Built in the 1920's as a church for the community, Metro is beautiful and has some great features.  These include 4-5 individual shower stalls in each of the men's and women's rest rooms (tile and marble partitions, they don't build them like that anymore!), a gym for getting your sport on, an auditorium that doubles as a community movie theater, air conditioning, carpeted dorm rooms for sleeping, a gated parking lot for some street football or wiffleball.  See a set of Metro UMC pics here. 

How does transportation work?

How do youth groups typically get to Detroit? Do they take buses or flights? Will we need transportation throughout the week?

Transportation typically depends on the group's financial situation. Some drive (we've had folks drive all the from Colorado before!) and some fly. In either case, you will need transportation for your group during the week to go out to the worksite. Please see this document for all your transportation questions.

What projects will we be working on?

Motown Mission staff work with your group leaders to create a custom project plan based on your skills and interests.  We connect you with project partners across the city who focus on home repair, greening, feeding, and some vacation bible school projects.  Each day we invite feedback on how the projects are going so we can make sure your week of service work is the most rewarding for your group and helpful for the City!

(Note: sometimes it rains. Some of our project have rain plans, some do not. Please be prepared to serve as you are needed. Many of our farms pray for rain, and so we welcome Mother Nature, although it may cause work to be delayed or cancelled.)

What is the payment schedule?

There is a timeline for payment, here's our page for steps for registration:

What happens if we have less people than we registered for?

We know that things happen.  So please let us know whenever your numbers change up or down.  But, because we have certain costs incurred while planning your trip, our deposits are non-refundable.  This also means that for any changes downward within 4-weeks of your trip, those deposits cannot be attributed to the total cost for your group.  Similarly, full payments for participants who cancel within 2-weeks of your trip will not be refunded.  By those times we have already purchased t-shirts, Tiger's tickets, have promised $50/person to project partners, and have contracted for hosting costs at the original numbers.  Call with any questions about this policy.  Thanks!

When is the last time we can change our numbers?

For summer groups, March 1 is when we would prefer to have your most accurate count for participants. Any participant fees for changes downward within 4-weeks of your trip cannot be attributed to the total cost for your group.  

Do you accommodate food allergies?

We are able to accommodate vegetarians and peanut allergies. Vegans, gluten-free individuals, tree-nut allergy folks are able to partake in some but not all of our menu. In addition to our main dishes and sides, we offer a leafy salad each evening, and instant oatmeal each morning. Folks are invited to bring some protein and toppings (nuts, beans, legumes, quinoa, dried fruit & berries, seeds, cut veggies & fruits, etc.) to put on top of both their salad & oatmeal. We have a special allergen fridge, and there is a place to store food and a microwave to heat it up. They are also welcome to partake in the vegetarian option each meal. 

What's for lunch?

For lunch we provide items for people to make their own brown bag lunch: bread, turkey, ham, american cheese, mayo, mustard, peanut butter, jelly, cut up carrots and celery, chips, fresh fruit, and a napkin.  Vegans, vegetarians, and other folks with food allergies are welcome to bring their own food and store it in the kitchen. Some groups solicit donations of other items from their congregation as a way for others to supplement (cookies, cereal bars, pickles, individual bags of chips or snack foods, beef jerky, etc.).

When should we arrive?

Plan your travel so that your group will arrive between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday. If you have to arrive late, it can be difficult to fit in all of the prep information that you’ll need to get started on your first day at the work site, so it is important to notify the staff of any deviations to your schedule. If you arrive early, our staff may not be ready for you.

Special late arrival circumstances:

  • If your group is planning to arrive between 5pm-8pm, a fee will be charged to cover additional staffing needed to cover your arrival time and ensure you are prepared to serve. This fee is $10/person.
  • If your group is planning to arrive between 8pm-10pm, a fee will be charged to cover additional staffing needed to cover your arrival and ensure you are prepared to serve. This fee is $20/person.
  • If your group is planning to arrive after 10pm, please make other arrangements that does not include staying at Motown Mission on Sunday. Plan to arrive Monday at 8am. Motown Mission cannot accommodate arrivals later than 10pm.

What should we wear?

For WORK:  Pack inexpensive clothing you would not mind getting really dirty or trashed.  Shirts with sleeves and long pants must be worn at all times at the work site (shorts may be worn to some worksites, but participants should prepare for jeans each day, NO YOGA PANTS ON WORKSITE! If you have questions, ask your group leader to consult the work plan for additional notes about worksite attire). Close-toed shoes must be worn at the work site (No flip-flops, sandals or open-toed shoes.)

For LEISURE:  Pack comfortable, discrete clothing for at the church.  Shirts with sleeves must be worn at all times. Shorts for must be mid-thigh or knee length.  No short shorts are permitted. No shirts with messages that convey negativity are permitted.

Is it fun?

We hope so!  Each week we hope your group will participate in meaningful and challenging service work, AND will also explore the most fun parts of the city including Tiger's games, swimming at the Belle Isle beach, putt putt in Corktown, museums, great ice cream places and more!  Plus, most weeks there are a bunch of other youth from around the country with whom to meet and make friend!