Where did Lifeteams come from?

The vision for Lifeteams came from the heart of front line youth workers who saw a need for quality faith-based training to equip those with a heart for vulnerable young people. We believe that as we step toward the vulnerable, mutual transformation will happen – so Lifeteams is far more than a skill training program. It is a life-transforming experience!

Is Lifeteams an independent organization?

Lifeteams is a program of Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited, an organization with nearly 70 staff operating for the last 35 years in the Greater Vancouver area. Youth Unlimited is a part of the worldwide ministries of Youth for Christ. YFC has spread into 127 different countries since it’s beginning in 1944, with over 2,000 full time youth missionaries and 22,000 part-time staff and volunteers around the world. The Lifeteams program is patterned after similar YFC training schools in Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa, and has been in operation since 2000.

Why is Lifeteams limited to 10 students?

We choose only a select number of students because we place a high value on mentorship and community living as character shaping tools. We’ve found these work best in a smaller learning environment. With a smaller team, we are able to use an experience-based education model with a continuous cycle of instruction-action-reflection throughout the year. We believe this allows our team of students to gain valuable skills, practice those skills in real time, learn from reflecting on the experience together, and then step back to use the skills again with greater insight into themselves and the experience.

Can I move toward a career with this training?

Yes! Over 60% of our students step into youth work careers with Lifeteams as their foundational training year. Students who fulfill the requirements of this program graduate with a Certificate in Youth Outreach, including 450 practicum hours, which will be useful on a resume for any individual choosing to pursue employment in the field of youth work. But Lifeteams courses can also provide up to a year of transferable credit (27 credit hours) at a variety of Bible Colleges such as Columbia Bible College, Prairie Bible College and Briercrest College. This allows students to build on their academic studies beyond Lifeteams if they choose. Lifeteams’ courses are recognized by the Association for Biblical Higher Education as well as the Canadian Goverment Ministry of Skills, Labour, and Training.

What does a regular week at Lifeteams look like?

Generally speaking, most weeks follow our basic core schedule, with about 1 week out of 6 being “extraordinary” in nature. These weeks may involve a road trip to a First Nations community, a group of teens descending on the house for a mission trip, a Youth Unlimited staff retreat, cabin leading at a camp, or staffing a youth trip. In the regular schedule, Tuesday and Thursday are our in-class days, with staff and guest instructors leading the team through a variety of course content in interactive and engaging ways. Wednesday and Friday are the days when students join veteran youth workers at their youth work placement site to learn more about youth work through watching and doing. Mondays provide the team with a day of community building through a variety of adventures and activities from rock climbing to spending the day hanging out with people living in poverty.

Do the students have breaks during the year?

The Lifeteams year offers students a few breaks, much like regular college programs, but the schedule is full and at times intense – somewhat like a one year mission experience might be. Students are given 2 weeks off at Christmas, and a 1 week reading break around Easter to rest and reconnect. Most weekends are free for students to do homework, enjoy community living, and connect with friends and family.

Where do the students live?

The student residence is a beautiful chalet style retreat centre, located just east of Abbotsford, B.C. Students share a room with a roommate (or 2), and have access to kitchen facilities, recreational space, study areas, and a prayer cabin for individual times of retreat. Our cook prepares meals for the students 2 days per week and provides groceries and some pre-prepared meals for students to cook together the remainder of the days. We have taken a number of measures to ensure student safety. Each student has their own building key and the building remains locked whenever students are not in residence. Males and females are on separate floors of the building to ensure personal privacy. We as directors are “on call” and available to deal with any emergency that may arise 7 days a week.

Can I keep in contact with my world back home?

Students are generally available evening and most weekends, with the exception of Wednesday and Friday nights when most students are engaged in their youth work placement. The Lifehouse has WIFI internet, so personal devices may be used. Beyond their own private phones, students can be contacted on the student phone line at the Lifehouse or through the directors in case of emergency. In an emergency, please call Rob Snair at (604) 825-1946 during the daytime and evenings. If the students are away at a conference or retreat and that cell contact is unavailable, please contact Youth Unlimited at (604) 590-3759 in the case of weekday emergencies or (604) 309-4339 evenings or weekends.

What careers might this lead me toward?

Your Lifeteams training is the foundation for a diploma or degree in Human Services/Child and Youth Care which opens the door for students to pursue positions in group homes, treatment centres, community youth programs, correctional services, mental health support, addiction treatment, women’s shelters, counselling agencies and churches. Combined with the extensive practicum of Lifeteams, students are well-equipped to move toward careers in community-based or church-based youth work with confidence and competence.



If this stuff resonates with you – apply. If you feel a tap, tug, or push to check us out – apply. If you want to have fun, be challenged, go deeper with God, learn useful skill sets, and be part of a growing community of people taking the plunge to live intentionally – apply. If you know someone who is and wants all these things – encourage them to apply.