Backpackers DTS

A Discipleship Training School
SCHOOL details
23 September 2018 - 1 Mar 2019
Upcoming: 22 Sept 2019 - 28 Feb 2020
Training: $4,200 NZD
Outreach: $5000 - $7000 NZD
* Early Bird Special! $3,950.00 - see details below
** mandatory transport/activity fee of $650 not included

The Backpackers DTS is for people who love to travel and meet others travelling, as well as for people who enjoy camping and hiking in the great outdoors.

The Backpackers DTS is about students coming and receiving the love and truth of God and taking this out into the growing backpacker population in NZ and beyond. There are thousands of backpackers from all over the world travelling through NZ each year seeking adventure, purpose and truth. What a wonderful opportunity this provides for the Backpackers DTS students to develop friendships and conversations with these ones around the real meaning of life.

The Purpose of the School

The Backpackers DTS is about drawing people to YWAM Oxford who love God and want to go on the adventure of sharing him through their backpacking travels. They spend the first part of the school ‘knowing God’ and doing this alongside others, before going and reaching out to the backpacking tribe in NZ and beyond.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: We offer a $250.00 NZD discount for students who pay their deposit at least 3 months before the school start date. Apply early and save!

What people can expect in the Lecture Phase?

Lecture phase is an amazing time of bonding together as a family in a safe environment.  Schools vary in size, but there are always chances to go deep with people and develop life-long friendships.  It’s a time of transformation, healing and seeing God’s redemption play out for many as we focus in on the first half of YWAM’s motto of “Know God and make Him known”. He makes Himself known to us as we learn more about who He is.  He meets us, touches us and we change and grow as a result.

During lecture phase our day starts early, with devotional time.  We then meet for worship, prayer, Bible study, etc.  Lectures then last until lunch time, with a short break for a deeply important Kiwi cultural tradition- morning tea!  Afternoons vary from small groups to journaling times, to outreach preparation or free time.  Evenings sometimes mean lectures, outreach team meetings, worship nights or free time.  It’s a full schedule, but with a relaxed pace, with plenty of transition time between scheduled things.  We always try to strike the balance of providing an engaging, quality program while at the same time giving different personalities the space and time they need to process all the new things they’re experiencing.

Backpacker DTS in Kaikoura

Part of the Backpacking lecture phase will take place in Kaikoura, which is a beach side town on the east coast of NZ. It is a popular spot for backpackers and YWAM has a ministry operating there. Our aim is to have students experience a backpacking town and reach out to those around them. Our church serving week will also take place in Kaikoura and some of the outreach teams may also spend time here.

Lecture Phase dates: 23 September – 7 December 2018


The outreach phase is about taking the deposit of love received in the lecture phase and sharing it with other backpackers in NZ and beyond. This is by developing friendships through backpacking and hiking and through serving with other ministries in NZ.

The main component of the outreach phase will take place in NZ. We go where the backpackers go and seek to meet them in hostels, camp sites and on hiking trails. Some of the outreaches will involve an overseas component as well. The outreach goes for 12 weeks. Costs are between $5000 and $7000.

Outreach Phase dates: 8 December 2018 – 1 March 2019

Weekends and School Trips

There will be three inclusive weekend trips to different places around the South Island, whilst in Oxford. These might involve Backpacking or Hiking or they could be other recreational trips. For example taking an overnight trip to the West Coast, going to Castle Hill and Cave Streaming, which you might recognize from movies like Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Sitting in the relaxing hot pools at Hanmer Springs, visiting Akaroa, a small French town or Diamond Harbour, one of the many bays in Banks Peninsula.

We also travel to Kaikoura, a haven for international backpackers, where we do church serve week and spend part of our lecture phase here. We also meet backpackers and prepare for outreach time here. It also includes our church serve week  which helps outreach teams learn to serve and bond as a team.

On the other weekends, there may be optional trips which would cost extra money to cover the cost of the use of vans and petrol. These trips could be to beaches like Taylor’s Mistake or Sumner, to different hiking locations around Oxford and Canterbury Plains, or into Christchurch to do some sightseeing in town. Budget around $100 for optional trips.

We do weekly outreach which consists of either going into Christchurch and serving with a ministry or local church, or doing street evangelism. Some weeks we might stay in Oxford and love our community around us as well.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a mandatory $650 NZD transport and activity fee that is NOT included in your standard DTS costs. This must be paid in order to participate in the above activities.

School Leaders & Staff

Nicki Smith • XX

Hi, I'm Nicki! I grew up in Oregon, USA with a love for the outdoors and a desire to see the world someday. God's love & truth pursued me and I became a believer while at university. After Uni, I joined YWAM in New Zealand to learn more about Jesus. God took me deeper than I could ever imagine! I now know the Father's love, joy, faithfulness and His heart for the nations.

I've been with YWAM for 10 years and most of that time has been with the Backpackers DTS. I discovered a people group that I am deeply passionate about. My interactions with these world travelers has shown me that they are seeking truth, they are open and they need Jesus, the Messiah. I have a heart for this people group and a vision to see them transformed by God.

Some of my favorite things: My nephews and family! Hiking, white-water rafting, camping, SMORES, backpacking and reading books.

Rebecca • 24

Hi, friends! My name is Rebecca and I'm from California, USA. I'm 24 and a lover of coffee and all things outdoors!

I did my DTS here at YWAM Oxford back in 2015 with the Backpacker's school. I chose to do a DTS because I hit a point in life where I felt purposeless and lost. I had no real identity, but I knew I loved Jesus. Even with that, I didn't know how to live it out. Coming to DTS, I didn't know what to expect, but God met me in ways I couldn't have even imagined. Through DTS I found freedom in my identity with God. He showed me that my heart for Him creates a life full of joy.

I chose to come back and staff the backpackers DTS because I wanted to help people come into the same place of freedom with God while exploring his beautiful creation. When I'm not staffing with DTS, I'll get to serve as base staff. I will be able to use my administrative gifts, helping run the office and behind the scenes work while the other DTS schools run, providing assistance to the other schools and guests. Serving in both ways gives me the opportunity to not only serve in a DTS but to help YWAM Oxford as a whole, coming full circle in support, love and community life. I'm super stoked for this season and can't wait to get to know each one of you in whatever role I serve in!

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