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About Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question for YWAM DP? The tabs below contain answers to some of the many excellent questions people have asked about YWAM Destination Paradise. If you would like to discuss any of these further, or have other questions you would like to talk about, please contact us!

Jump to: About Student Life | About Staff | About Supporting YWAM DP

About Student Life

When is the next DTS? When is the next one after that? Where are the schools located?

YWAM Destination Paradise currently offers four DTS programs each year each with a leadership focus. Please see the course schedule page for specific dates and locations.

How long is the program? There are 3 phases?

The YWAM Destination Paradise DTS program is either 5 or 9 months conducted in 2 or 3 phases as follows: Lecture Phase – 12 weeks at the YWAM DP campus on the beach in Belize. Outreach Phase- 8 weeks as a team in a nation anywhere in the world. Internship Phase (optional)- Students may choose to continue the DTS experience with an additional 16 weeks in a location anywhere in the world and chosen to match each student\’s interest, giftings and passion.

What is different about your program?

YWAM Destination Paradise Discipleship Training Schools are designed to train and equip emerging leaders for wildly successful lives of passion and service for Jesus. The lecture phases take place at the YWAM DP campus in Belize, which is an amazing place for learning and growing. YWAM DP strives to do everything with excellence. All of the first class speakers come to the YWAM DP campus in person during the lecture phase. Team outreaches are chosen specifically for each school enabling each member to put the principles and learning gained during the lecture phase into practice. Finally, the optional 16 week internship is specifically chosen and designed for each student based on their individual interest, giftings and passion. The internship puts everything together in the context of another team providing a fantastic transition from learning about missions to the practical application of \’Go and make disciples\’.

Why should I come to YWAM DP?

If you are looking for an exciting, intensive, challenging way to exponentially grow in your faith and get ready to put your giftings and passion to work for the Lord, YWAM Destination Paradise is the place. The programs are tough. It is both a school for the head and a school for the heart. The number of students we can accept for each school is small, making a very intimate setting to allow for significantly greater interaction between students and speakers and staff. If you are simply looking for a way to come sailing or go diving, hang out, relax and see the world…this is not the place for you. Sure all those things happen during a lecture phase and are super cool… but that is just the beginning. We work hard, we go deep, we do it together and we make a difference.

How can I apply as a student?

If you are interested in being a part of the YWAM Destination Paradise Discipleship Training School as a student, we encourage you to first pray. “Lord, is this the right DTS at the right time for me?” If you feel a leading or a confirmation from Him, go for it and begin to go through the application process. There are several sections to the application, all of which must be submitted before your application can be considered. We will stay in touch and pray with with you through the application process.

How much does the YWAM Destination Paradise DTS cost?

The student fees for lecture phase is $3,950. Students have at least two outreach options to pray over and choose from which could be anywhere in the world. Outreach fees vary based on location selected and are typically somewhere between $3350 and $5950. The student fees for the optional internship will vary greatly from location to location. Internship fees are not paid through YWAM DP. Each student works directly with the internship location to cover all expenses. Students are very involved in choosing internship locations.

What is YWAM?

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is an international, interdenominational movement of Christians passionate about knowing God and making Him known. Please visit www.ywam.org to learn more.

How many students are in each DTS?

Enrollment in YWAM DP DTS schools is often smaller than other YWAM bases due to our desire for intimacy in the schools. We want to make sure that each student has personal time with each speaker and ample time with YWAM DP staff. Most DTS schools have between 15 and 30 students but may go as high as 40.

Where do the students come from?

YWAM Destination Paradise is very much international in nature and welcomes students from around the world. English is the language spoken during lectures and therefore students must be proficient in speaking, writing and understanding English.

Who are the speakers for the lecture phase?

Each week during the lecture phase of the Discipleship Training Schools, YWAM Destination Paradise welcomes outstanding speakers to present the week\’s subject matter. Many YWAM schools use videos or DVD\’s of the speakers DP has in person each week. Some of the speakers who have come in person to YWAM Destination Paradise include: Dean Sherman- International Speaker/Teacher, former Dean of Christian Ministries- U of N; Peter Warren- Base Director- YWAM Denver, International YWAM Leader; Jeff Pratt Base Director- YWAM Axiom, New Haven CT (Yale University town); Karen Padgett- Professional Coach, Director Lifetime Initiaives; Dr. Jon Peterson- Professor- Fuller Theological Seminary; John Murphy- Director- Boarders DTS, Denver, Colorado; Don Richardson- Speaker/Teacher/Author Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child; Marty Nystrom- Worship Leader, song writer including As the Deer, Integrity Music; Armando Benner- Base Director- YWAM Amsterdam, Founder- Nations to Nations; Brenda Lewis- Base Director- YWAM Axiom, New Haven CT (Yale University town); Donna MacGowan- Staff Leader- YWAM Denver; Steve Kilpatrick- Regional Director, Youth With A Mission; Bethann Miller- Former Mercy Ships Chaplain; Dan Baumann- Author Imprisoned in Iran and A Beautiful Way; Matt Atkins- Senior Pastor- Mosaic Community, Bellingham, WA

What adventure opportunities can I find in Belize as a YWAM DP student?

There are many exciting opportunities for adventure with YWAM DP. SCUBA DIVING: DTS students are welcome to dive with us and if needed or desired take PADI dive certification from our own instructors. The cost is very low. SAILING: the cool Caribbean breezes are perfect for sailing on our Hobie Cats. KAYAKING: The crystal clear waters of Belize are perfect for gliding over or a peek. SNORKELING: From the beach or a Kayak, the coral and fish await. Visits to Mayan ruins, zip lining, tubing down rivers through dark caves and other activities are also available (for additional charge) during DTS. Click here for much more info and photos!

Can I get college credit for this course?

YES! YWAM Destination Paradise Discipleship Training Schools are fully accredited through the University of the Nations in Kona Hawaii. Graduates of YWAM DP\’s DTS program (all 3 phases) receive 32 university level credits (20 for the first two phases) that can be used toward a degree at the U of N or transferred to many universities around the world (check with specific institutions for credit transfer requirements).

What can I bring with me?

YWAM DP students are asked to keep the total weight of everything they bring to less than 50 pounds (23Kg). This includes lightweight/compact sleeping bags, clothing, and all personal items. The primary reasons for limiting the amount of stuff students can bring include the ability to remain relatively agile during outreach and the limited storage space at the base. Students may bring one backpack no larger than 95 liters where everything they bring must fit. Most students bring way too much stuff and do not account for things acquired along their travels.

What can’t I bring with me?

First, if it does not fit in your backpack, we ask that you not bring it (see previous question). We also require that everything you bring, in total, must weigh less than 50 pounds (23 Kg). We also ask students not to bring or have the following items aboard: Alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco products, music with explicit lyrics, clothing with inappropriate writing or markings, firearms, fireworks, string bikinis, hair dryers/ curling irons (and other similar electrical appliances).

What type of sleeping bag do I need?

Each student needs to bring a lightweight sleeping bag both for use during lecture phase, outreach and perhaps internship. Sleeping bags do not have to be water resistant but that would help. The more compact the sleeping bag, the more room students will have for other items in their backpacks. It is also very common for students to bring compact sleeping pads (Thermarest or similar) for sleeping outside. These pads nearly always come in handy during outreach as well.

What type of clothes do I need to bring?

Most students bring WAY too much stuff, including clothes. In general, YWAM DP is very informal. The climate during the lecture phase will be warm and humid for the most part. Evenings can be a bit cool but very rarely cold. One or two hoodies or sweatshirts should suffice. Most students really only need one pair of long pants as well. Shorts, T-shirts and swimsuits are the most common clothing worn at the base. There are opportunities to visit local churches but informal attire is normally quite acceptable. You may attend local churches and other special functions. Ladies, please bring at least one nice skirt or dress. Men, please bring at least one pair of slacks and a button up shirt. A good pair of sandals is needed and tennis shoes (or other closed toed shoes) can be helpful for longer walks or potential trekking or hiking on outreach.

What type of swim wear is acceptable?

It is very important that we honor each other with modesty. For guys, board shorts or other loose fitting trunks are acceptable, while tight fitting \’Speedo\’ type are not. Girls must avoid swim wear that is particularly revealing. For example, if it has strings or you are at all unsure if it is appropriate, it should stay at home.

Should I bring my own batteries?

Yes. If you need batteries for cameras, head lamps or other battery operated devices, please plan on bringing some with you. In addition, It is nearly always possible to purchase more in local shops when you arrive. The same goes for other items such as toothpaste and other toiletries.

Can I bring my computer?

DTS Students are discouraged from bringing their own notebook computers primarily because having them on outreach can be a pain. Not only do notebook computers take up precious room in a backback, carrying them around on outreach is likely to promote damage, theft or loss of the computer. Please note that there are computers available for student use during the lecture phase at the base. On the other hand second level students are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet for academic purposes.

Can I expect to have Internet access?

YWAM DP students will have access to the Internet from the YWAM DP network on campus.  The student network gives students access from any internet capable device or computer.   VoIP (such as Skype) is a great way to contact family and friends back home.  However, students will be encouraged to be fully present for their DTS so extended or overly frequent use of the Internet, especially video chat, is discouraged.

What toiletries should I bring?

If you care deeply about a specific brand of deodorant or toothpaste, you may want to bring a supply large enough to cover your entire time away. However, most items you could want should be available on the island. That said, it would be wise to bring at least some of each of the items you need…soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, stuff to shave with, contact solution (contact solution is VERY expensive in Belize) and any other necessary items, and replenish as needed once you get to DTS. Please remember that all items brought must fit inside your backpack and fall within the packing guidelines (see previous question about what to bring).

How much money should I bring?

The student tuition covers all room and board, helps to cover the cost of bringing speakers to YWAM DP and all other ministry related expenses. Student tuition does not cover personal items such as toiletries or batteries, going out to eat, non-team recreation and other similar personal expenses. Every student will have different personal spending preferences and limits. Some students bring very little to cover personal expenses and others much more. Students do not need to bring more than about $250-300 dollars (or equivalent) to cover personal expenses, but can if they like. ATM machines are abundant and shops in most of the countries we visit widely accept credit cards.

Is it easy to exchange money?

Exchanging money is normally not difficult at all. In most countries, ATM machines are abundant and often the best way to get local currency offering the best rates. In addition, shops in most of the countries we visit widely accept credit cards. In addition, in Belize where the YWAM Destination Paradise Caribbean Base is located, US dollars are widely accepted (but not coins).

Can I bring my iPod?

Yes! Music is a HUGE part of nearly everyone\’s lives and the use of iPods (or similar MP3 players) is welcome. When listening to music in public areas around the base, the use of headphones is strongly encouraged since music preferences varies greatly. If students have music with explicit lyrics, those songs/artists should be left at home…they are not welcome at YWAM DP.

What is the food like?

YWAM Destination Paradise does what it does with excellence…this includes the food. Staff and students work together to prepare meals and enjoy eating together, family style. Students will find meals to be healthy and balanced, but also delicious. It is the sincere desire of DP that when students look back on their DTS experience, they will say “we ate great!”

What is the climate like?

YWAM Destination Paradise lecture phases are tropical and therefore somewhere between warm and hot during the day and somewhere between very warm and cool in the evenings. Humidity is often quite high as well especially during the day. Most tropical countries have a rainy season and rain is always possible in tropical locations.

What is the internship all about?

Internships are the optional third phase of the YWAM Destination Paradise Discipleship Training School. This 16 week phase is accepted by and determined with significant student input and based on each student\’s individual interest, giftings and passion. Internships provide an amazing transition between the school/learning/preparing/equipping that take place during the DTS and the answer to the call in ministry/missions/working/serving that takes place for the rest of a graduate\’s life. Internships can take place anywhere in the world, at missions organizations, in churches, Christian ministries, or businesses based and run on Christian principles.

Do you have a library at the base?

The library at the YWAM DP Base contains many excellent titles that may be used for required book reports, personal study or other reading.

What are the academic requirements of the lecture phase?

Throughout the lecture phase portion of a DTS, there will be many things that focus on the heart as well as academic requirements to focus on the head. Students will be asked to memorize God’s word, read books and create presentations. They will also be asked to memorize the world map and meditate of scripture regularly. Because this is a registered university level course, we do take our academics very seriously, but there is nothing to worry about as the staff are always available to lend a helping hand.

Do we attend local churches?

During lecture phase it is possible to attend a local church. YWAM DP is located 4 miles north of San Pedro where there are several churches in the area.

Will we engage with local people?

Jump to: About Student Life | About Staff | About Supporting YWAM DP

About Staff

What positions are available?
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YWAM Destination Paradise has staff positions open at this time. For a complete listing of current staff openings please visit Get Involved page.

Can my parents or my boyfriend/girlfriend visit during my DTS?

Unfortunately no. It is generally not the case that students receive visitors such as parents, boyfriend/girlfriend, or others during any of the three phases of the program. There are several reasons why this is unproductive. First, there is very little space to host others. Second, although sometimes difficult, being away from \’familiar\’ is one of the things that helps people really grow. Third, the disruption to the community is something that many people do not consider when they think it would be nice to visit or invite visitors. Generally speaking, students do not have visitors during their DTS.

Who decides where outreach is located?

Seeking God’s heart and direction is the key to determining outreach locations. The outreach location(s) is determined prior to the beginning of lecture phase and is always prayerfully considered.

What positions are available?

YWAM Destination Paradise has staff positions open at this time. For a complete listing of current staff openings please visit Get Involved page.

How can I apply to join YWAM DP staff?

The Staff Application is located on the Get Involved page, under the Join Our Staff tab.

How much are staff fees?

Whether staff serve at the YWAM DP campus in Belize, in the administrative offices, taking a break at home or vacation, or on outreach, YWAM DP Staff pay Staff Fees monthly. Staff Fees depend on the commitment level of the staff and are between $200 and $350 per month. YWAM DP Staff fees include all room and board. When leading an outreach, staff fees cover all transportation, food, lodging and all other ministry related expenses. However while support raising we suggest aiming for around $700 a month to cover extra costs for living.

How long are staff commitments?

YWAM DP staff are asked to seek the Lord before they arrive on base to see where His leading is. We have 3 commitment options. Short term: Less than 2 years. Standard term: 2 years. Long term: 5+ years. The base leader will come along side and seek the Lord as well for a final commitment time.

Do staff rotate their roles?

For many staff, a change of pace and scenery is a wonderful way to stay fresh and ready to go. While some staff on base have specific leadership roles that do not rotate, quarter to quarter staff regularly change roles. For example, a staff might be a small group leader for two quarters, then an outreach leader, and come back to serve in the kitchen for awhile. As a community we want everyone to be able to lead in their strengths and passions and roles are prayerfully considered by the base leader. The final decisions are always the highest and best for the ministry.

Do staff get time off?

It is always the case that rest is needed and supporters need to be visited. Time off from base is vital. The amount of time off varies from one staff member to another, but usually equates to at least a few weeks per year. It is also to be noted that going “home” is not vacation as sometimes visiting friends, family and supporters around the clock for a couple or a few weeks is actually something staff need a vacation from! It\’s necessary and wonderful…but tiring. Real vacation time is also needed.

What are staff prerequisites?

YWAM Destination Paradise seeks to partner with God in the selection of its staff, praying that He will send the right people to serve in the ministry. YWAM Destination Paradise staff must have successfully completed an approved YWAM DTS and possess the qualities, characteristics, heart and giftings sought by YWAM DP.

What are you looking for in your staff?

YWAM Destination Paradise staff in all positions must have a call of God on their lives. Beyond that, excellent people skills, a heart for developing and equipping people, the ability to communicate and articulate well, a heart and disposition to thrive in community, immense flexibility, and be totally and completely in love with Jesus. Please visit our Get Involved page for all available positions.

Do YWAM DP staff have to have done a DTS with YWAM DP?

No. Successful completion of a DTS from any YWAM Base in the world satisfies the DTS prerequisite. However, to reiterate, all staff serving with YWAM anywhere need to have a completed DTS.

Jump to: About Student Life | About Staff | About Supporting YWAM DP

About Supporting YWAM DP

How can I support YWAM DP?

There are a number of ways to support YWAM Destination Paradise. Please visit our Get Involved page for more information.

How can I send financial support?

Financial contributions to YWAM Destination Paradise may be made online or sent to the administrative offices:

YWAM DP prefers online payments but can accept American checks.  We cannot take Canadian checks even if they are $US accounts.  

Please use this address for paying of fees via American checks:

PO Box 4555
Kailua Kona, HI 96745

Is my contribution tax deductible?

Donations specifically to YWAM DP as a ministry and those designated for full time staff members are tax deductible for Americans and perhaps for donors from countries outside the US. YWAM Destination Paradise is recognized in the United States by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization. All donations (financial and material) are tax deductible. Tax receipts are issued by YWAM DP for all contributions. Please keep in mind that funds sent to YWAM DP for student tuition for lecture phase or outreach phase are not tax deductible.

How can I pray for you?

The prayer request page on the YWAM DP web site is kept current. Please visit the Get Involved page for more information.

Why do you use adventure and diving for discipleship?

There is an amazing thing that happens to a person when they step out into adventure. There are over 500 locations worldwide where someone can do a DTS (Discipleship Training School). Destination Paradise offers one of the few with an emphasis on adventure and living life fully, a focus that is important to the age group we reach, from 18-33 or so (average about 23). The adventure aspect of sailing, diving, snorkeling, etc. are often very attractive to emerging leaders, and they also provide a great backdrop for reinforcing and strengthening the drive and desire for a meaningful and purposeful life.  SCUBA diving provides both an exciting team building opportunity as well as personal enrichment for all those who participate. By bringing the exciting adventure elements of sailing and diving, YWAM DP also brings something else that is often missing from discipleship programs; fun! YWAM DP students and staff work very hard during the schools, they are intense! But we also play hard and enjoy being alive! Sailing and Diving are a big part of that for us.

The program looks like a lot of fun...

YWAM Destination Paradise DTS programs are a lot of fun. At the same time, the program is very intense. The academic portion is challenging, the schedule is full, the ministry is rich and the community is tight. The old adage “work hard, play hard” very much applies to a YWAM Destination Paradise DTS.

What is the objective of the program?

YWAM Destination Paradise is about training and equipping emerging leader for effectiveness in ministry. The primary focus of the DTS is leadership development. Graduates of the YWAM DP DTS program will go and serve in Christian organizations all over the world. The organizations who receive YWAM DP graduates will be much better equipped to see their missions accomplished because they will be receiving someone who is well prepared. The ultimate goal of YWAM Destination Paradise is to see the Great Commission fulfilled, that people all over the world are welcomed into the Kingdom of God and taught to do all that Jesus commanded; that is to love God and love each other.

Is the program accredited?

YWAM Destination Paradise Discipleship Training Schools are registered with the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. Graduates receive 32 credits from the U of N for completing all three phases of this program. Credits can be applied to a degree with the U of N, or transferred to many major universities all over the world (check with specific institutions for credit transfer requirements).

What credentials do the speakers have?

YWAM Destination Paradise has amazing speakers that visit DP live and in person. Some of the speakers that have visited DP include: Dean Sherman- International Speaker/Teacher, Dean of Christian Ministries- U of N; Peter Warren- Base Director- YWAM Denver, International YWAM Leader; Jeff Pratt Base Director- YWAM Axiom, New Haven CT (Yale University town); Karen Padgett- Professional Coach, Director Lifetime Initiaives; Dr. Jon Peterson- Professor- Fuller Theological Seminary; John Murphy- Director- Boarders DTS, Denver, Colorado; Don Richardson- Speaker/Teacher/Author Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child; Marty Nystrom- Worship Leader, song writer including As the Deer, Integrity Music; Armando Benner- Base Director- YWAM Amsterdam, Founder- Nations to Nations; Brenda Lewis- Base Director- YWAM Axiom, New Haven CT (Yale University town); Donna MacGowan- Staff Leader- YWAM Denver; Steve Kilpatrick- Regional Director, Youth With A Mission; Bethann Kern- Former Mercy Ships Chaplain; Dan Bowman- Author Imprisoned in Iran and A Beautiful Way; Matt Atkins- Senior Pastor- Mosaic Community, Bellingham, WA

What is your doctrinal statement?

Please visit our About Us page to read about the YWAM Destination Paradise doctrinal statement and core values of Youth With A Mission.

Is YWAM a charismatic ministry?

Youth With A Mission is one of the largest missions organizations in the world with nearly one million people serving short and long term each year. The mission is international and interdenominational and deeply embraces a Biblical world view. YWAM is very broad. There are some YWAM leaders who are strongly Pentecostal, others Evangelical, and still others very traditional. The core is a deep love of Jesus. To know God and make Him known is in the hearts of every YWAMer. YWAM Destination Paradise does not have Pentecostal roots yet embraces Pentecostal people as brothers and sisters in Christ. Doctrinally for example, speaking in tongues is not taught as an evidence for salvation (as it is in some Pentecostal churches), but if a student feels that they possess the gift of tongues and practice the gift in accordance with scripture, they will not be silenced.

How long has YWAM been around?

Youth With A Mission was founded by Loren Cunningham in 1960. Since that time YWAM has grown to one of the largest missions organizations in the world with nearly one million people serving in the mission each year. YWAMers have preached the Gospel in every nation on earth.

How long has YWAM DP been around?

YWAM Destination Paradise became a YWAM ministry in 2003. For the complete story of DP, please visit the About Us, History page.

Can I visit the YWAM DP campus?

YES. We would love to welcome you to YWAM DP! Please visit our Get Involved page for more information on being a YWAM DP guest.

How do you select your staff?

The YWAM Destination Paradise staff application process is very comprehensive and involves a written application, references, and personal interviews. It is very important that YWAM DP welcomes aboard the right people as staff; people in love with Jesus, people with “YWAM DNA”, right giftings, right personality, and right fit.

How do you select your speakers?

All of the YWAM Destination Paradise speakers are selected through personal experience and relationship with each speaker or a recommendation from a trusted leader with whom we have personal relationship. All speakers come to speak in person. Many YWAM bases use videos and DVD\’s of the speakers we have in person.

Why does YWAM DP exist?

YWAM Destination Paradise exists to prepare and equip people for wildly successful personal lives in Christ and effective service in the Body of Christ, to train leaders, to see the Great Commission fulfilled by helping people get ready for amazing service for Jesus.