Backpackers DTS

A Discipleship Training School
SCHOOL details
27 September 2020 - 5 Mar 2021
Upcoming: More dates coming soon
Training: $4,900 NZD
Outreach: $5000 - $6000 NZD
*Outreach costs vary depending on location & travel expenses

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.

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.


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

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. The outreach goes for 11 weeks. Costs are between $5000 and $6000.

Outreach Phase dates: 4 December 2019 – 18 February 2020

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.

School Leaders & Staff

Rebecca • 26

Hi friends! I am super stoked to be your Backpackers School leader, welcome to Oxford! A few fun things you should know about me is that I'm 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 in 2015, 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. I'm super stoked for this season and can't wait to get to know each one of you!

Celeste • 20

Hello! My name is Celeste Miller and I am from Oklahoma in the States (in case there was another one). I’ve lived in New Zealand now for about two years. I originally did my DTS on the North Island of New Zealand in a city called Tauranga at YWAM Furnace. I absolutely loved DTS and it gave me some of my closest friends!

After living in Tauranga for a year the Lord opened doors for me to come down to Oxford. I originally planned on being here for 3 months before returning to YWAM Furnace, but after a few weeks here I knew this was home! I love Oxford and the people here. I love my family, and the Lord has been so good to me giving me another family here!

A few of my favorite things are wildflowers, coffee, the movie Megamind, and National Parks! A few months ago,I spent a week traveling around the Western part of America and visiting as many National Parks (and friends) as I could! My all time favorite park is Zion National Park in Utah. It’s absolutely stunning and holds many dear memories. During that week is when I really got a love of pursuing beautiful things. And out of that, here I am with all of you, getting to pursue beauty in nature and beauty in who Jesus is! I’m so excited to get to know all of you!

Indy • 26

Hey everyone! My name is Indianna but I usually go by Indy and I’m from right here in little ol NZ. I’m originally from the North Island (Auckland, but we don’t talk about that) and I did my DTS in Tauranga, NZ in 2017.

One fun fact about me is that I had the amazing privilege of going to Nepal for my outreach where I backpacked through the Himalayas and got to paraglide off a mountain! Why I chose to staff the backpackers school is because I’m so passionate about God’s creation and seeing others link their own love of the outdoors to the one who Created it. I love seeing young people fall more in love with Jesus and grow into the men and women that God designed them to be and staffing a DTS is one of the best ways I have to do those things. My hope for you guys over these next few months is to see you all step further into the gifts God has given you and that you’ll each have a fire ignited in you for seeing others come to know Jesus. I can’t wait to meet you all!

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