AYM FAQs

Q.  What is the history of AYM?
Asheville Youth Mission (AYM) was founded in 2009 by Aimee and Bill Buchanan, Christian educators and ordained PC(USA) ministers.  Over the years this ministry has grown to include dozens of partnerships and thousands of youth.  Our ministry has also expanded to sites in Raleigh, NC and Memphis, TN and an umbrella organization, Youth Mission Co.

Q. Who is AYM Staff?
Bill Buchanan is the Executive Director of AYM. Debbie Alford is the Mission Immersion Director. AYM employs college interns for the summer season. AYM relies on countless volunteers, board members and adjunct staff to keep us up and running. Thanks be to God!

Q. How do I register?
Please fill out the registration form. You may submit the form electronically or through snail mail. If you choose snail mail, please to the following address: P.O. Box 2988 Asheville, NC 28802.

Q. What is the cost to participate in AYM?

  • For a week-long experience (Sunday evening through Friday morning), it is $320 per person.
  • For a weekend experience (Friday evening through Sunday morning), it is $120 per person.
  • Sunday only Montreat Mission Experience (you MUST register with Montreat Conference Center…http://montreat.org/current/2013-youth-conferences is $23 per person.
  • Free Afternoon Montreat Mission Experience (also must be registered through Montreat Conference Center), it is $12 per person.

Q. When and how is the money due?
Once your registration has been received and you have been notified that your date is penciled-in, please send a non-refundable deposit of $160 per participant (for a week) or $60 (for a weekend). This deposit is due within fourteen (14) days of the email notification from AYM. Please make all checks payable to “Asheville Youth Mission” and mail them to the following address: P.O. Box 2988 Asheville, NC 28802.

Upon receipt of your check, AYM will send a confirmation email that we have received payment and that your spots are reserved. Final numbers and payment in full (the balance due) are due thirty (30) days prior to your scheduled arrival.  Click here to see the full Financial Policy.

There is also a parking fee of $20 per vehicle for groups staying for week long experiences.  This money goes to our hosting church (First Presbyterian Church of Asheville) to support their outreach ministries.

Q. What if we have to cancel?
AYM’s cancellation policy is as follows:
30 days and more: If your group or any registrant in your group must cancel 30 days or more prior to your arrival date, the payments paid prior to cancellation will not be refunded. Any registrant deposit is transferable to a replacement registrant for the original and currently reserved week.

29 days and less: If your group or any registrant in your group must cancel 29 days or less prior to your arrival date, the payments paid prior to cancellation will not be refunded AND payment in full is due for each registrant cancellation.

The deposit and payments that are held for an AYM experience by any group are only good for the original and currently reserved week for that group. If you must reschedule your AYM experience, a new deposit and payments are required. Please contact us ASAP to make arrangements.

Deposits from cancelled participants cannot be used for the balance due on remaining participants.

Q.  Can we arrange for our group be the one and only group staying at AYM when we come?
AYM has a wide variety of groups, from very small to very large.  If you have a large group, you may end up being the only group staying with us at that time.  However, as long as slots remain for that time, we cannot promise that you will be the only group here during your week or weekend.

Q. Where will we be staying?
You will be staying at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC (40 Church St., 28801). There are rooms designated on the second floor for AYM. Warning: there are two 40 Church St. addresses in Asheville, NC. Our zip code is 28801. Check out this Google Map location for a better idea.

Q. When should we arrive?
If you are a summer week-long group, we will be ready to receive your group at 7:00 pm on Sunday.  Please have dinner priort to your arrival.  Orientation will begin promptly at 7:30 pm.

Q. What if we’re running late on arrival day?
Please contact Debbie Alford at 980-482-2441 (call or text).

Q. What are sleeping arrangements?
In our designated (and gender specific) sleeping rooms there is plenty of floor space. PLEASE BRING SINGLE SIZE AIR MATTRESSES (not a camping pad) as well as sleeping bags and pillows (sheets are recommended during the warmer months). First Presbyterian Church has air conditioning (and heat).

Q. Where should we park while at First Presbyterian Church?
Please park in the lower lot of First Presbyterian Church. Enter from Aston St. Take an immediate RIGHT into the lower parking lot. You will need one parking pass per vehicle (car or van), which will be provided by AYM. We will get you these passes upon your arrival. If you’re planning on bringing a charter bus, please let us know ASAP, as the bus won’t fit in the parking lot. We’ll find you another place to park. Please make sure that you have enough vehicles to accommodate those you bring because AYM staff cannot provide rides for others. Once you park, you’ll be on the “parking” floor of the building. An AYM staff person will be there to greet you upon arrival (please keep us informed as to your ETA).

Groups staying for week-long experiences will also have a $20 parking fee per vehicle which goes to our hosting church (First Presbyterian Church of Asheville) to support their outreach ministries.

Q. What do meals look like? How do we request special diets?
AYM provides a fully stocked kitchen for breakfasts, lunches and dinners (with the exception of dinner on Thursday, which is free afternoon). You’ll be on your own for Thursday dinner and Friday lunch after closing worship. There is also an option to opt out of Thursday’s lunch (a bagged lunch), if you so choose. As for special diet requests, please let us know at least a week in advance so that we can have it ready for you. Contact Debbie Alford at 980-428-2441 (call or text). You will not go hungry at AYM; however, if your group likes to have particular snacks and/or gets hungry in between or after meal times, feel free to bring snack food.

Q. Where do we shower?
There are no showers available at First Presbyterian Church. Therefore, we take our showers at the Asheville School (private boarding school). There are twenty showers on the boys’ side and twenty showers on the girls’ side. Please make sure to bring an extra bag and/or shower caddy to carry a clean change of clothes, towel and toiletries. An AYM staff member will lead you to the school the first time you take showers. The address for Asheville School is 360 Asheville School Rd. 28806.

Q. Is there a kitchen available?
Yes. There is a smaller kitchen that we use for breakfasts and lunches and a larger kitchen provided for dinners. If you need to bring something refrigerated, please let us know, as we’ll try to make room in our limited fridge space.

Q. What does AYM provide?
An orientation upon arrival as well as facilitation and activities for debriefing during the week. AYM provides evening programs Monday-Wednesday as well as a closing worship on Friday morning. We will send out a Bible study for your group to participate in before your arrival. We hope that it will be helpful preparation for your experience at AYM.

Q. What do we need to bring?
Please bring the following:
• Flexibility and humility (most important as they’re keys to a fantastic mission experience)
• Work clothes (knee-length shorts are okay but no “short” shorts – that means do not wear the popular dual-colored Nike shorts for girls at worksites.)
• One pair of long pants (as some sites require pants). No tight yoga pants, leggings or spandex, please.
• Closed-toe shoes or work boots (socks, please)
• Work gloves
• Casual clothes/shoes for non-work times (bring layers, as the weather is unpredictable)
• Shower shoes, toiletries, towel, small bag or caddy for toiletries
• Prescription meds (inhalers, insulin, allergy meds, etc.)
• Sunscreen
• Sleeping bag/sheets, twin air mattress/pad, pillow
• Bible
• Reusable water bottle (AYM has water bottles available to purchase for $5)
• Bathing suit (if your group is doing something water-related on your free day)

Q. What is the dress code for AYM (adults and youth participants at work sites)?
We have a fairly strict dress code for work sites. Any AYM participant not adhering to this dress code will be asked to change immediately or not work at the site.

Dress code for work sites:

  • Long shorts (must touch the knees when standing)
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • T-shirts (shirts have to have sleeves–no tanks, spaghetti straps, or low cut shirts),
  • Underwear (please wear it but no one should be able to see it- no bra straps revealed).
  • It is also helpful to bring a pair of long pants.

These dress code requirements are only for worksites, not for the other elements of Mission Immersion programming or free time.

Q. What things won’t we need?
Please leave all valuables (jewelry, bags, electronics, clothing, etc.) at home. Don’t bring anything you wouldn’t want to lose, as AYM will not be held responsible for lost or stolen personal items. Do not bring lots of money. Leave clothes/shoes that you don’t want to get dirty/sweaty at home.

Q. What are some suggestions of things to do on our free day?
Please refer to your Leader Packet for the “Fun in Asheville” resource provided by AYM. Please let AYM know BEFORE your arrival if you are doing something on your free day that takes the entire day and therefore takes your group out of the Urban Faith Walk. Rafting, Navitat and experiences such as these may mean that your group cannot participate in the Urban Faith Walk, which we understand. We just need to know your plans for our scheduling purposes.

Q. Where is AYM located?
The AYM offices are located at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC.

Q. What age groups does AYM host?
We welcome rising 6th graders through graduated seniors during our summer mission immersion. However, in the fall and spring we also welcome college-aged groups.

Q. What can we expect in our time with AYM?
The AYM Staff will accompany your group to all service sites. We will serve as the liaisons between your group and the work sites and will coordinate with the sites to ensure things are running smoothly. You will be doing all kinds of work from physical labor to visitation to playing games with kids or simply sharing a meal with the homeless. We will all be experiencing what it means to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world. In the evenings, we will reconvene after showers and dinner for a program where we’ll explore and debrief our daily experiences. We will close our time together with worship, lead by AYM.