- How can I confirm that I’m going on the tour?
- Where can I get the application form?
- I would like to go on the whole tour now but in a previous message I mentioned a shorter period. Is there a form to fill out?
- How should I pay for the tour?
- I would like to find out if I’ve been accepted as soon as possible because I need to book my flight.
- Why does the tour cost so much?
- I can’t afford the tour costs. What if I do lots of service, can I get a discount?
- Do you have a sponsorship option for people in financial need?
- Can I pay you in installments, on a payment plan?
Q: How can I confirm that I’m going on the tour?
A: Fill out the application form and email it to us. Attach a recent photograph of yourself, and three recommendation letters from respectable people in good standing who can vouch for your good character and behavior. Wait for your application to be reviewed by our team of volunteer organizers. If your application is accepted, the organizers will let you know by email. It usually takes at least two weeks from the time you submit your application.
Q: Where can I get the application form?
A: Click on “Apply” in the navigation menu.
Q: I would like to go on the whole tour now but in a previous message I mentioned a shorter period. Is there a form to fill out?
A: Just email us. We’ll try our best to accommodate your change of plans.
Q: How should I pay for the tour?
A: Go to “Apply” in the navigation menu, and scroll down to the bottom of that page. You’ll find information on how to send your payment.
Q: I would like to find out if I’ve been accepted as soon as possible because I need to book my flight.
A: The festival tour volunteer team of organizers meet once a week to review applications. If you have filled out your application in detail and have attached a recent photo and three recommendation letters from respectable people in good standing, your application is ready to be reviewed. Let us know that you would like a response as soon as possible since you need to book a flight, and the volunteer organizers will try to review your application at their next meeting.
Q: Why does the tour cost so much?
A: It doesn’t, actually. Compare with the cheapest summer camp (YMCA, we checked!) at $850 per week, and they don’t move around and travel all over the continent. The bus tour is three times cheaper than the cheapest summer camp. Here’s why. Our tour operates on a cost-sharing basis. The bare bones costs for transportation, food, some activities (camping, national park entrance fees) and accommodations are added up, then divided among all participants. That is the amount we ask you to contribute as the minimum donation in order to break even. Everyone volunteers their time on the tour. Our bus drivers, as well as the organizers, insist on donating 100% of their time and money to this important missionary cause. We don’t get paid to do this. We get the satisfaction of being allowed to serve you, serve the devotees at the temples and festivals we visit, and serve the public by distributing the most precious gift of Sri Hari Nama to fortunate souls in every town and village.
Q: I can’t afford the tour costs. What if I do lots of service, can I get a discount?
A: Everyone on the festival tour works hard serving the tour, the devotees and Krishna. We each contribute our time, money, and sweat to make this tour happen. It’s not that those who pay their share of costs do less service. Or that we can afford to give discounts for those who want to do more service. Because the cost of the tour is shared among all who come, if you were to pay less, everyone else would have to pay more. The money we each raise and contribute is “lots of service” to make the tour happen.
Q: Do you have a sponsorship option for people in financial need?
A: We have a small group of well-wishers who may, at their discretion, help sponsor partial tour fees for a deserving young person who demonstrates financial need. You’ll need to fill out a sponsorship application form and submit bank statements from you and your parents as evidence of financial need.
We would post your sponsorship application publicly on our website and on Facebook, along with a PayPal button for people to donate. We would need you to rally your friends and extended family to help. Forward them the link to your application and ask them to contribute. We would ask you to make a presentation about the festival tour at your temple’s Sunday Feast, and request the members of your temple congregation for help.
Recently, two young men raised the remainder of their tour fees by making a presentation about the bus tour at their temple. One girl held bake sales each Sunday for three months. Another fearlessly asked each devotee in the community to pitch in. They were all able to raise their tour fees and come on the tour. Most helped. A combination of all of the above techniques, in addition to a part-time job, may be the most effective way to raise the funds so you can come on the tour.
Q: Can I pay you in installments on a payment plan?
Sorry, no. We’ve had too many bad experiences with this in the past. Perhaps you can borrow the needed funds from a friend or person who trusts you to pay them back, and set up a re-payment plan with them?