1. Is HEFY part of BYU's EFY program?

While HEFY and EFY share many of the same beliefs, standards, goals, and objectives, HEFY is an independent non-profit organization and is not affiliated with EFY, BYU, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. HEFY programs are open to youth of any denomination that agrees to follow the HEFY code of conduct. Prayer, scripture study, and church attendance are an important part of each program.

2. Is this a rehabilitation program of some type?

HEFY expeditions are designed to change lives through service. However, they are not designed nor equipped for teens experiencing serious emotional, moral, substance abuse or discipline problems. While our Trip Leaders are outstanding individuals, they don't have any professional training or resources to deal with youth with significant challenges. If the Trip Leaders encounter teens with disruptive challenges that result in difficulties following HEFY rules, they are instructed to send them home early so that they can receive professional care.

3. Is an HEFY expedition a sightseeing trip?

Service is our mantra and Builders can expect to spend about 70 hours on the construction project work-site. Of the typical 17-day expedition, the weekends are set aside for sightseeing. HEFY believes in immersing youth in the communities and among the people of the countries they visit to help them understand the genuine joy that comes from serving others.

4. Are the trips safe?

The safety of our Builders is our first priority. Our Program Directors scout out each location in advance to assure the safety of the area. They find lodging and restaurants and work with local coordinators who help the groups when they are in the country. We select outstanding, responsible Trip Leaders each year and make sure they are CPR/First Aid certified before the expedition. We also have an annual Trip Leader Training to prepare our Trip Leaders to confidently lead our Builders during their expeditions. During the trips, our office staff is in constant contact with the Trip Leaders to make sure things are going well and to help with any problems that may arise. In the case of emergency, our Trip Leaders are trained to ensure group safety, and the HEFY office will contact families to update them on the situation.

5. What sort of paperwork or documents do I need to fill out before my trip?

Every builder will receive a Checklist on their HEFY account when they register for an expedition that will include all of the needed documents and their due dates. These documents include the Builder Agreement, Parent information, Health Forms, Personal Photo, Insurance Card, and a Domestic Flight Itinerary. It is very important that these documents are turned in on time so that the HEFY office can move forward with the planning of these expeditions!

6. What if I have food allergies or restrictions? (ex: diabetes, celiac disease, lactose intolerant, peanut allergies, etc)

Good to know! We will let our food providers in country know but be aware that sometimes the food options are limited to what the members and restaurants in the area cook. Most of the time, they are able to accommodate those with food allergies or restrictions, but we do encourage you to bring enough snacks to last the trip in the case of the restaurants providing something you are unable to eat.

7. What if I want to talk to someone who has been on a trip before?

Here is a list of parents who went on trips last year that would love to talk to you about their experience! Also, feel free to call our office where you will usually find past Builders and Trip Leaders working diligently to make HEFY even better.

8. Will I need a passport or visa?

You will definitely need a passport as you will be traveling outside of the United States. If you don’t have a current one, you will want to apply for one as soon as possible. You also need to make sure that you passport expires at least 6 months after your trip ends or else you won’t be admitted into the country!

As for visas, this depends on which trip you choose. Ghana, Mozambique, Cambodia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kenya, and Zimbabwe require obtaining a visa before traveling to the country. Both visa and passport fees are not included in the price of the trip. You can get more information about the requirements for visas on the individual trip pages. 

9. How do airports work?

When you sign up for a trip, it will have a specific departure airport for the international flight. It is up to you to either drive or fly to this airport to meet up with your group. Once at the designated departure airport, you will find your group. Everyone will have matching t-shirts to make it easier to find your group! Your Trip Leader will also give you a specific place to meet them.

As for luggage, the lighter the better! You can bring up to one carry-on and one checked suitcase weighing no more than 50 pounds. But really, less is more in this case :)

10. Will I have a place to wash my clothes while on my trip?

This varies from expedition to expedition but usually, we will take laundry to be washed once during the trip. This laundry service usually costs about $10 depending on the amount of clothes.

11. Should I change some money before leaving?

You will exchange money once you arrive in country at the airport, so do not worry about doing so beforehand.

12. Do I need to purchase travel or health insurance for the expedition?

HEFY will purchase an international travel and medical emergency policy for all participants while they are out of the country. As a result, most participants do not purchase separate travel insurance, though you may do so if you prefer.

As for health insurance, HEFY’s travel insurance will provide you with travel insurance to cover short-term medical emergencies and problems while traveling, but you will need to have your own medical insurance just in case you have a problem that requires continued medical treatment after you return. HEFY’s travel insurance will only cover after claims have been filed through primary insurance.

13. If my trip goes to a foreign language speaking country, will I need to speak the language?

Nope! Some knowledge of the language is always helpful but our Trip Leaders are fluent and you will learn more while you were there. And, there is nothing better than communicating with a hug and a smile :)

14. How does the digital detox work? Will I be able to call home when I’m on my trip?

HEFY tries to make their trip a mission like experience as much as possible so don’t expect to call home during the two weeks you are away. You will have the opportunity to write a letter home half way through your trip.

If a parent needs to get in touch with a youth during the trip, they can contact the HEFY office and we will get in touch with the Trip Leaders who always carry cell phones. The HEFY office will send the parents of all the participants an email once the group has arrived safely in-country, and the Builders will receive their phones when they are back in the United States.

15. Can I use miles or flight vouchers to pay for my international flight?

HEFY works closely with the airlines to secure the best prices for our Builders. However, this is contingent upon our purchasing the tickets as a group. We are therefore unable to permit the use of miles or flight vouchers in order to best serve all of our Builders.


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Suite 5002
Salt Lake City, UT 84101


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