IMPACT is the high school group dedicated to serving others.  IMPACT meets roughly twice a month September - May, mostly on Sunday evenings (check dates) and at other times for service projects and special events. Each year, IMPACT invites youth to join it's mission trip program detailed below.  Youth do NOT need to register for the mission trip program to attend meetings and events - which remain open to all youth throughout the year. 

The IMPACT Junior Board is for high school juniors, seniors and graduates who are alumni of the mission trip program and offers its members the opportunity to take a leadership role in the IMPACT program.  

Upcoming IMPACT Dates:
2020 mission trips suspended due to COVID-19
Mission Trip Program:
Past Mission Trips:

Mission Trip Program General information

 Program History: 

Kenilworth Union Church began international travel with young people in the 1980's when our Pastor Emeritus, Gil Bowen, was asked by parents to take high school students on a month-long trip to East and West Germany.  These Europe trips continued until after the Berlin Wall fell, at which point, the church began traveling with students to Nogales, Mexico to work, serve and learn.


Since then, the Kenilworth Union Church IMPACT program has hosted mission trips to destinations such as Panama, Bahamas, Guatemala, Jamaica, Belize and Cuba. These diverse places of great need provide a stark contrast to the environment in which our students grow up which is part of why they are eager participate. Students thrive in these life-changing trips where they have a unique daily opportunity to learn about and encounter Christ’s love with each other and with those they meet.

IMPACT meetings and events are always open to all high school youth regardless of mission trip registration or church affiliation.  


Mission Trip Registration Open:  Reveal Night through Dec 31.

Mission Trip Registration Prerequisite:  3 hours KUC volunteer service

After Dec 31, IMPACT meeting attendance is required for the mission trip program, as are continued service and fundraising. Meetings after Dec 31 remain open to those who are not registered, however, there are 3 meetings specifically for mission trip participants during this time, a program orientation in January, a trip information meeting in April and a trip team night in May, which those not participating in the mission trip may choose to skip.  Each year the program presents a different theme related to life and Christian faith in our individual lives and in the larger community.  Previous themes have included Stigma, Poverty, Scandal, Violence and Fear.  Exploring the theme might include special guest visits, hands-on activities, small group discussions, or other program plans that get youth thinking about living their faith in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Unless otherwise announced, meetings are for youth only.

about the Mission Trip program:

  • When is Mission Trip? - typically is the first full two weeks after school ends for New Trier in June each year.

  • Where to?  Each fall, the mission trip destination for the following year is kept top-secret until Reveal Night. Held on a Sunday evening in mid-late Autumn (check dates), Reveal Night is when the next summer's mission trip destination is revealed and the registration period officially opens.

  • Registration -  starts on reveal night and closes December 31.

  • Priority -  If trip space is limited, upperclassmen and youth who are active in Kenilworth Union Church and/or IMPACT in the fall are given priority.  Registrations beyond capacity and late registrations are accepted, but those individuals may be waitlisted for the trip until space becomes available on the trip roster.

  • Two Weeks -  The mission trip program runs TWO back-to-back weeks of mission trips each June - and this may expand as the program grows.  Applicants can apply for one or two weeks.  Applicants can mark their preferred week, but each week's team will be made up of youth from all grade levels and communities.  For that reason, we cannot guarantee placement in the preferred week.  Every effort will be made to schedule around existing conflicts that are known during the application process.

  • IMPACT Meetings - January - May, generally Sunday evenings - are required for mission trip participants. 

  • Fundraising - during the program - provides for the cost of the work projects and staff.  Funds raised are not credited toward mission trip fees.

  • Volunteer KUC Service Hours - three hours of  KUC/Impact service are required to register for the mission trip program.  A total of ten hours service through IMPACT/Kenilworth Union Church are required before the trip, three of which must be off site.  These can be completed any time during the 12 months prior to the trip.  Some volunteer service requires registration. Volunteer opportunities can be found in upcoming events or on the full volunteer calendar.

  • Commissioning - team members are commissioned prior to each trip on Youth Sunday in May at 10:30 am worship service at Kenilworth Union Church.

  • Cost  The program fee, which includes all program costs January - May plus the mission trip with airfare, varies from year to year depending on the costs associated with the trip.  The cost is typically $1500-1700 per person.  Scholarship support is available.

NOTE:  Exact details of each year's mission trip are established AFTER the program leaders have had a chance to visit the mission site and make the final determination about logistics, security, lodging and projects. The site visit typically occurs in February or March and the detailed trip information meeting for IMPACT participants and parents follows in early April.  Before then, only the destination, mission partner and general information about the trip and travel requirements is available.

about the Mission Trip:

  • Group Size:  50-70 each week, including college and adult leaders.

    • The group travels on the same day, though sometimes on different itineraries.

    • The large group stays in one location – typically a camp, retreat center, church, dorm or similar.

    • Teams:  The large group is divided into work teams for the mission trip projects.  Each team is made up of 9-12 high school students, two adult and 1-2 college leaders. KUC youth leaders weigh many factors to determine the right team placement for each participant. High School participants in grades 9-11 are given the opportunity to suggest three teammates, one of whom will be placed on their team. This team preference opportunity is explained to the participants during the program.  The teams are announced at the IMPACT team meeting in May.

  • Projects:  The kind of projects each team is assigned to depends on the needs of the communities in which we serve.  We typically engage in work projects and relational ministry.  In the past, we have built homes, installed cement floors, dug trenches for footings and foundations, build schools and additional classrooms for schools, painted homes and rooms, repaired residences and churches, directed VBS and sports camps for children's, offered tutoring and reading sessions, done home visits to elderly residents, organized activities at nursing homes, helped with feeding programs and soup kitchens, etc.  The emphasis is on relating to the local people we are serving, so there is always ample opportunity for interaction.

  • Typical Day:

    • 7:00 - Wake up, breakfast and get ready for the day

    • 8:30 - travel to project

    • 9:00 - noon - Project / ministry

    • 12:00 - 1:30  - Lunch and lunch group devotional time (discussion)

    • 1:30 - 4:30 - Project / ministry

    • 4:30 - 6:00 - pm travel back to lodging site, shower, rest, free time

    • 6:00 - 6:30 - dinner

    • 6:30 - 11:00 - evening activities:  meeting / worship / devotional / discussion and free time

    • 11:30 - lights out.

  • Typical Week:

    • Day 0:  evening before travel day, group meets at KUC for trip kick-off activities and overnight stay at church for early group travel the next morning.

    • Day 1:  Travel and Arrival Day - travel, get settled, orientation with mission partner

    • Day 2 - 6:  Work/ministry days

    • Day 7:  Fun Day

    • Day 8:  Departure and Travel Day

Kenilworth Union Church

211 Kenilworth Avenue

Kenilworth, Illinois 60043


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