Getting Started

We understand the rigors of competing at a high level, and the necessary discipline needed. We will provide the best nutrition possible, and the best locations to continue your training. Some teams traveling to undeveloped countries have less available than we are accustomed to here in the USA. In certain locations, you will need to be creative and flexible as you seek to keep consistent with your training schedule. Team directors are flexible with the team’s schedule, and will allow time for long runs when possible. Good communication with your team director concerning your training needs will help ensure the best possible situation for you.
Each team has an experienced AIA director and discipler. The competitive tours have a certified athletic trainer. The tour director is trained in crisis management, understands injury/illness and emergency protocols, and is certified in CPR/First Aid. We prepare for worst case scenarios, but rarely need to exercise these plans. Most international tours are hosted by local national staff. These native AIA staff are very familiar with the areas in which we will be traveling, and often have lived there for most of their life. They will be present with or at least available for the team 24 hours a day. If there are areas to avoid, they will not allow the team to go there. If there are any emergencies at home or abroad, AIA staff have plans in place for timely communication and evacuation. Each team has secondary insurance and evacuation coverage included in the tour cost.
AIA is a non-profit organization and does not have any central funds. All costs are covered by free-will donations. Each participant will have the opportunity to be trained and receive weekly coaching in order to raise the full amount of funds to cover their portion of the team’s expenses. We use a letter strategy to help each athlete ask businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals for their financial partnership to make it possible for their team to travel.
Each athlete raises funds for their AIA team, not themselves. All donation checks are payable to Athletes in Action. All donations go directly into the AIA team’s account. The athlete does not get their own account. No cash is allowed to be received. No reimbursements or refunds are allowed to the athlete since the athlete is raising money for their AIA team, not themselves. IRS policies prohibit refunds on all donations. Competing and training with an AIA team will not affect your NCAA eligibility. There is no NCAA rules against training or competing with athletes from different teams internationally.

How does this all work?

Each team director will provide you with the essential material and information to help prepare you for your international travel. This may include things like a cultural background on the country, a talk from the international staff and any current news happening in that country. The team members will be connected with one another before the tour so members can get to know each other before they arrive.
Each tour plans a full day for cultural debrief and preparing for returning back to the States. Our staff are aware of challenges athletes may face upon returning to their original culture, especially if they served in an undeveloped country. We do our best to make re-entry as smooth as possible.
The included costs are international airfare, food, lodging, transportation, AIA gear and ministry material. The things that are not covered in this cost are your passport (if you need one), any visas or vaccinations required for your country, a physical (if needed), postage and stationery for support letters, travel to your training camp and any souvenirs or gifts you wish to purchase.
Attitude is the main thing when traveling with an AIA team. You must enjoy your sport and like participating in it with others. You need to be a team player, have the determination to see things through, have an openness and sensitivity to others from different cultures and backgrounds. You should be open to learn and grow with your team through new experiences and challenges.

What does a Tour or Project Look Like?

Not all of our tours are competitive. The focus of some of the tours is to engage in ministry through camps, clinics or training with other athletes. There are occasional competitions athletes can enter if they choose.

For the competitive tours, you are not required to compete at every meet. Athletes are encouraged to discuss the meet schedule with their coach.
Many talents and gifts are necessary for the success of each tour. You already have a tremendous gift as a collegiate athlete. Chances are you have other talents a team would be encouraged by and would be helpful in ministering to others. Many talents and gifts are helpful on each team, including but not limited to; photography, videography, journalism, writing, counseling/psychology, administration, art, music, singing, public speaking, communications, relationship building/connecting easily with others, adaptability, language skills, cultural training/archeology/anthropology, theological/Biblical skills and more.
Yes, we would love to have you on the team. Your gifts and talents will benefit everyone. However, in order for the team to have a sense of unity, you must be willing to participate in all team events and open to discussing ideas of Biblical Christianity. There will be required team Bible studies and ministry outreaches in which a relationship with God through Jesus Christ will be the focus.
Each of us are on a spiritual journey with different backgrounds and experiences. If you are open to discussing what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and desire to grow in your understanding of God, the Bible, and the Biblical Christian worldview, then this is the right place for you. If you don’t feel strong in your faith right now, joining an AIA team is a great place to grow and learn. Also, trust that God will work through you where you are at right now.