THANK YOU for partnering with Rostro de Cristo to provide a mission-immersion retreat experience where young people can explore their faith and experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ together with the people of Ecuador. We look forward to making this a fruitful experience for your participants.
This document provides the information you need to reserve your dates and provides the basic agreement between Rostro de Cristo and our partners, including costs, group size, staffing, etc. While important logistical information regarding the retreat group experience is covered please note that Rostro de Cristo will continue to provide more information over the course of the next year that will support you in your preparation and orientation to our experience.
Please read this document in its entirety, even if you have been working with us for many years, as some updates have been made, and contact us with any questions or clarifications before signing the agreement.
The primary contact for group leaders is our Ecuador-based Retreat Group Coordinator who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any questions, coordination and concerns the Retreat Group Coordinator can assist you. Of course, for any urgency or need you are welcomed to call our offices in Braintree, MA at 617-746-5891.
It is recommended that groups be between 10 and 14 people. Unfortunately, Rostro de Cristo cannot accommodate more than 14 TOTAL participants. 2 adult/staff leaders MUST be a part of every group. All participants must be in high school or older, and we strongly recommend that groups with high school students limit their groups to junior and seniors.
The program service fee for the 2017-18 year is $750 per participant for groups with 10-14 members. In the event that a group has less than 10 participants, there is a flat group fee of $7500 (the same as the minimum group size of 10 participants).
The participant fee includes all housing, food, transportation and program expenses in Ecuador. In addition to covering the costs of providing a faith-filled, safe and meaningful program to our partners and their students, the program fees that Rostro de Cristo receives from our retreat groups helps us to advance our support of our program partners in Ecuador.
When reserving one of our houses for a retreat group experience preference is given to those groups who have been our partners in the past. Once your group makes a reservation and provides a deposit, Rostro de Cristo will ensure that the dates and time for your group will be fully respected. When groups are unable to fulfill their reservation it is most difficult for Rostro de Cristo to offer other groups the opportunity who may have been seeking to partner with Rostro de Cristo, and were unable to do so due to the commitment we made to your group.
Therefore, while we understand that circumstances and situations can change both for our partners and for our operations in Ecuador we ask you to enter into this reservation process fully committed to ensuring your institution and members will be able to recruit participants, finance or fundraise, and prepare a group. If you have any concerns and doubts about making this commitment please consider holding off until you are most certain of your institution’s ability to move forward with a group. Once you have a reservation please let us know as early as possible if your group’s circumstances have changed and your ability to keep your commitment is in doubt.
We require minimum 2 faculty/staff leaders in each group before, during, and after the retreat experience. These individuals need to be part of the preparation and follow-up process, even if a student leader is the primary group facilitator. Ideally, at least one of these leaders (or the student leader) should be comfortable with conversational Spanish. Leaders should be role models and be able to facilitate formal and informal reflections with students about their experiences in Ecuador. They are expected to demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors. Leaders must comply with all RdC policies in country and work with our staff to ensure each member of their group does so as well. They should maintain strong and timely communication between their group participants and the RdC volunteers and staff.
Airfare to and from Ecuador is not included in the participant fee. Cost can vary depending on the departure city, time of year, and other factors.
As a service, Rostro de Cristo can facilitate the reservation and purchase of group tickets to and from Guayaquil through our working relationship with the Groups Desk at American Airlines or with Educational Opportunities Tours. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this service for booking flights. Contracting these agencies provides flexibility when group participants change due to illness or other reasons or when weather interferes with travel. It also often allows groups to fly at the best possible group price. Only groups with 10 or more participants may purchase group tickets.
Please note group ticketing requires a signed a contract and provide a deposit on each ticket. Credit card payment is preferred (please make sure that the credit card used for purchasing has enough credit to cover the cost).
Arrival and Departure Schedule
All arrival times and dates must be approved by Rostro de Cristo. If you decide to book flights for your group through a different agency, you must contact Rostro de Cristo before making reservations in order to determine agreed upon arrival and departure times with our staff. RdC must approve flight scheduled before purchase and may ask that a reservation be changed if not done so due to conflicts with other commitments. All costs associated with changing airfares will be paid by the group. Both dates and times of flights are important logistical considerations to ensure that we avoid potential scheduling conflicts and that we are able to provide a warm welcome and heartfelt goodbye for our groups in Ecuador.
Per Ecuadorian travel policy, all participants must have:
Please note that these requirements are based on those traveling with a United States issued passport. Those traveling on passports issued by a different country should contact the Ecuadorian consulate for information related to visitors from their home country as soon as possible. Often there are additional requirements of which we may not be aware (i.e. background checks). Please consult the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate in the United States for further information as soon as you become aware of interest from non-US citizens in traveling to Ecuador. In addition, new policies and rules for travel may be implemented. Please remain attentive to all correspondence from Rostro de Cristo in regard to travel to Ecuador.
Generally we are able to accommodate a vegetarian diet (vegan diets can be more challenging), though we ask retreatants to be open-minded, knowing that we can’t make guarantees.
RdC can often accommodate common food allergies (i.e. peanut and gluten allergies). Almost all of the meals are prepared on RdC property, which can allow retreatants to avoid eating certain food products. Yet, we cannot guarantee that a participant will not be exposed to specific food items, since much of our time is spent entering neighbors’ homes and other spaces that are not in our full control. Early in the selection of participants we ask group leaders to identify any who have severe allergic reactions of any kind and communicate with RdC staff so that the risk can be assessed.
There can be additional health issues and physical limitations among group participants that might affect an individual’s experience in country. When making determinations whether a participant’s health and physical abilities will not prevent her/him from fully participating in the immersion experience, please consider the following:
We want to be as prepared as possible to keep all participants safe, and it is possible that we are unable to accommodate some health concerns and physical limitations in Ecuador. Group leaders or contacts are responsible for communicating any health concerns to RdC staff at least 3 months prior to departure date. This could include allergies to medications, asthma, and other physical and health limitations, etc.
The following timeline will be used to ensure priority scheduling.
Please note that RdC will continue to be in communication with you in the interim months. We will request information from you that will be essential for us to prepare well for your group’s arrival and for safe, meaningful stay with RdC in country. We ask that you respond to our requests for information and other documentation in a timely manner so that we can best serve you and your group members.