ICO (Inner City Outreach) trips are a unique component of the campus ministry opportunities offered at Grove City College. These trips, often taking place during breaks within the school year, allow teams of students to travel and share God’s love in cities around the world. The teams often partner with a church or a local mission organization during their stay. Being a part of ICO trips myself, I have first-hand experience with how impactful these experiences can be. With so many options for interested students, it can be difficult to choose. In order to hopefully remedy this situation, below is a list of many trips offered at the College and a short summary that can provide insight to frequently asked questions.
ICO Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
During Spring Break, the Arizona team stays at Life in Christ Community Church. The church is located right in the middle of a neighborhood located in the outskirts of Tucson. Throughout the week, the team spends time completing labor-intensive service projects at the church. The church building is quite old, and congregation members often do not have the time or finances available to keep up with projects throughout the year. The team also spends a lot of time engaging in outreach projects alongside Life in Christ Community Church. For example, spending time assisting a feeding ministry at the church and aiding local homeowners in the neighborhood with home projects. The team also enjoys hearing radical testimonies of many members of the congregation. The cost fluctuates with air fare, but is usually around $550.
“[A favorite memory from the trip] was walking up Mt. Tumamock the last night and seeing the beautiful view of Tucson. Here, the team shares stories of how they saw the Lord work each day.” – Sarah W.
ICO Guatemala (San Andres, Sajcabaja)
The Guatemala team travels to Hogar de Vida Orphanage in San Andres, Sajcabaja over Spring Break. They spend time playing with the children and helping complete service projects at the orphanage. Typically, these projects include painting and laying concrete. Sometimes, the team makes a trip to a nearby aldea (village) to minister and serve the people that live there. The team strives to show the love of Christ to whomever they serve. The cost of the trip is between $1500- 1800, but due to fundraising usually a small fraction of this is out of pocket.
“My favorite memory was having a cookout and bonfire on our last night at the orphanage. The leaders in charge of the oprhanage, Sebastian and Oralia, shared their testimonies and spoke on how God had led them to Hogar de Vida. Everyone from the orphanage and on our team gathered together to fellowship and spend one last evening together. It was a great time to wrap up our trip and had another chance to spend a little more time with the people.” – Joel S.
ICO Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
During Spring Break, the Chicago team resides at Central Assembly of God, a church on the outside of Chicago. Generally, the team splits their time three ways during the day. This year, they are going to spend their mornings partnering with Pacific Garden Missions, where they will help serve lunch and set up dorms for the homeless. In the afternoons, the team will spend their time working on a construction project at Living Hope Church. In the evenings, the team will return to Central Assembly of God to run a Vacation Bible School for the neighborhood kids. The cost for the trip is around $230.
“My favorite memory would be VBS at the end of week my second year. One of the kids asked for a Bible, but we couldn’t find any children’s Bibles available to hand out. One of our trip participants offered her own personal Bible to this kid, and watching this exchange happen was an incredibly experience I will never forget.” – Alex H.
ICO Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
The Los Angeles team spends their time serving at the Dream Center – an outreach organization in Los Angeles for the duration of Spring Break. The team doesn’t know their specific schedule until they get there, but they generally do two outreaches every day. In the past, these experiences have included a Skid Row outreach, food truck outreach, “Kidzjam” which is like a VBS, cleaning churches, assisting the men and women in the discipleship program with their daily tasks and chores, after school tutoring. The team has an abundance of opportunities to do street evangelism during the week. Although this is daunting for some team members, they have seen God’s faithfulness through and through. The cost for this trip is dependent on air fare, but usually around $850.
“I’ve been on the trip two years in a row and the first year, I met a woman named Katie who was in the discipleship program. I remember her giving her testimony in church the first day we were there and then me and a few other girls on the trip got to hang out with her during the week while we helped her clean a classroom. She had grown up in an abusive home and got into some pretty rough stuff throughout high school, which eventually led to a meth addiction and various unhealthy relationships. She said she had come to the Dream Center as a last resort after recognizing the hopelessness she felt. The next year I went on ICO LA, we were on a food truck outreach and I saw Katie. She was no longer in the discipleship program – she had graduated from it, free of addiction and with a solidified identity in Christ. She is now serving full time through the Dream Center – leading the food truck outreach every day. I got to talk to her and was SO encouraged by how the LORD has transformed her life. How drastically her life had changed in just one year! God is SO GOOD!” -Rebekah R.
ICO Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)
The Philadelphia team works alongside the Philadelphia Project. The team stays with the Philadelphia Project interns’ house during Spring Break. The team serves by completing construction projects, serving the homeless, and helping with the Philadelphia Project’s preschool and after school programs. The cost is around $330.
“My favorite memories include all the car ride jams, Chinese fire drills, and silly games we play with each other and the staff at the Philadelphia Project. On a more serious note, the time sharing testimonies was very influential and good for personal and team growth.” – Darla M.