Mentor Guide

Mentoring a child to attend a residential summer camp is a life-changing event not only for the child but also for the Mentor. In order to be prepared for that adventure, we have mapped out a path to help understand what is required of the role of Mentor.

It is the firm belief of the Foundation that we are changing the lives of children by providing them with this opportunity to attend a summer residential camp.

Our Mentor Guide is broken down into 3 sections:

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

MENTOR RESPONSIBILITIES / TIMELINE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You can view the sections below, or download the complete guide here.


PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

What is a JACF Campership Mentor?

A Mentor is a person with youth development experience that provides support to the Applicant/Camper Family throughout the Campership process.  The Mentor plays an essential role in the ‘check and balance’ system JACF has developed to ensure we are serving those children for which the campership was designed. 

Mentors may be veteran volunteers for the foundation that have worked in a particular region of the country, personnel within a partnering youth services agency or school or a person selected by the Camper who is willing to become a volunteer for the John Austin Cheley Foundation.

All JACF Mentors must be screened and approved by JACF by completing a JACF Volunteer Application which can be found HERE.

What Are The Key Mentor Responsibilities?

  • Complete the JACF Volunteer application to receive JACF Volunteer vetting
  • Complete a Mentor Statement (provided by JACF office) on behalf of Applicant
  • Actively support the Applicant and Family through the Campership Application process (form completion, securing two References, making camp preference designation, etc.)
  • Assist the successful candidate with camp enrollment and preparation for camp (acquire needed gear, equipment, and clothing and plan transportation to and from camp or airport).
  • Advise Camper through Capstone Service Project when applicable (See Capstone Service Project Requirements in Resources)  
  • Meet with Camper and Family after camp to assist with post-camp requirements
  • Meet with Camper and Family to complete a renewal application, if desired.

Who Can Become a Mentor?

  • Mentors will be at least 21 years old with current professional experience or prior background in education, youth development, counseling, coaching, ministry or youth related fields
  • Mentors will live in the Applicant’s geographic hometown
  • Mentors will give one to two hours per month to support the Applicant/Camper Family
  • Mentors will commit to Mentoring the camper for the ‘life-span’ of the camp experience
  • Mentors may NOT be related to the applicant

What is the Importance of Ongoing Mentor Commitment?

Once an Applicant receives a JACF Campership, they are eligible to reapply for funding throughout their lifespan as a camper.  Therefore, a Mentor commitment may be for multiple years. Providing this continuity paves the way for Campers to realize the potential life-changing youth development opportunity that multiple years at Camp offers.  

What is a Campership and What Does it Include?

A Campership is a scholarship to one of the JACF recognized Associate Camps, and it includes:

 

  • Partial Tuition for one 2-4 week camp term per summer
  • Transportation Assistance (if requested)*
  • Equipment Assistance (if requested)*
  • Camp Store Assistance*
  • Support from the Mentor throughout the campership application process, camp enrollment process, Capstone Service Project (when applicable)
  • Potential to reapply for funding throughout the lifespan of the camper

*Available to applicants enrolled in the Full Support Program.  Not available to those in the Partial Support Program (See Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table in Resources)

How Many Campership Applicants/Campers Can One Person Mentor?

Serving as a Mentor for a Campership Applicant/Camper could take a couple of hours per month. (See Mentor Responsibilities/Timeline below).  We recommend that first year Mentors, work with one Applicant Family.  Veteran Recruiters may submit TWO new applications each year in addition to any renewals unless otherwise advised by JACF staff. Partnering Youth Organization Mentors may work with the number agreed upon between their organization and JACF staff.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Campership Applicant?

  • Applicant will be 10 years old or older by June 1st
  • Applicant will be able to be away from home for up to 4 weeks
  • Applicant will be from a family with income generally not exceeding 500% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.  (See Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table in Resources)
  • Applicant will have the potential toward or openness to grow in the areas of Friendship Skills, Independence, Teamwork, Family Citizenship, Perceived Competence, Interest in Exploration, Responsibility, Affinity for Nature and Problem-Solving Confidence
  • Applicant will contribute in positive ways to the Camp community
  • Applicant must reside in the contiguous United States of America

MENTOR RESPONSIBILITIES / TIMELINE

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SEPTEMBER 1st
  • Campership Application is available online 
  • Paper applications available upon request from the JACF Campership office.
LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL 
  • First time Mentors complete the JACF Volunteer Application 
  • Returning Mentors update contact information in JACF Volunteer record
  • Mentors meet with Applicant and Family to:
    • interview Applicant to complete the Mentor Statement
    • view Camp Directory on the JACF website and Associate Camp websites to identify camp and term preferences
    • assist with Applicant or Family Campership Application forms as needed
    • monitor Campership Application deadlines to ensure timely submission
    • review Capstone Requirements with Capstone applicants when applicable.  (See Capstone Service Project Outline in Resources)
OCTOBER 15th
  •  Capstone Campership Applications due
NOVEMBER 1st
  • Renewal Campership Applications due
DECEMBER 1st
  • First Summer Campership Applications due
  • A rolling deadline for First Summer and Renewal applications will continue until all Campership funding has been awarded.
NOVEMBER – JANUARY 
  • Applications reviewed by JACF Application Review Team
  • Campership Award Letters along with a Campership Agreement distributed to the Campership Applicant and Family as well as copied to the Mentor.  
  • Campership Denial letters distributed to the Campership Applicant and Family as well as copied to the Mentor.  
  • Mentor follow up with awarded Camper and Family to ensure the Campership Agreement is signed and returned to the JACF Office by due date on letter.

Campership Agreement includes:

  • camp assignment, term assignment and camp dates
  • transportation assistance
  • financial responsibility of all parties
  • instructions to review, sign and return Campership Agreement to JACF office by due date on letter
JANUARY-FEBRUARY
  • Camper and Family begin camp enrollment process on camp website.   
  • Mentor advises Camper Family to create a savings plan or set up payments with JACF to ensure Family Tuition Contribution is paid in full to JACF by April 1st.
MARCH
  • Airline transportation for qualifying applicants, is arranged by JACF and made available to Camper Faily.  Mentor receives copy upon request.
  • Mentor follows up with Camper Family to verify all Camp enrollment forms, including a health physical (required by all camps), are returned to the Camp by May 1st.
APRIL 1st
  • Family Tuition Contribution due to JACF
APRIL
  • Mentor assists Camper Family with camp Packing List. (See Equipment Assistance Guidelines in Resources)
  • Mentor confirms with Camper Family that all travel arrangements are in place.
MAY 1st
  • All enrollment forms due to the Camp
MAY
  • If camp requires luggage be shipped, Mentor assist Camper Family with packing luggage to take to UPS/FedEx for ground shipping 10 days before camp start date.  (See Baggage Assistance Guidelines)
JUNE-AUGUST
  • Mentor contacts Camper and Family one week before camp start date to review last minute details.
  • Mentor may send letter to the Camper while they are at camp.
  • Mentor will be notified by the JACF Office on a “need to know” basis if the Camper leaves Camp early or of any circumstance which may impact the Camper’s participation at Camp.  
JULY-AUGUST
  • Mentor meets with Camper and Family to assist with Post Camp requirements due to the JACF office within 10 days of Camper returning from Camp (even if the Camper does not intend to reapply for a future Campership).
  • Post Camp requirements are available online and include:
    • Camper Survey
    • Camper Thank You Letter
    • Parent/Legal Guardian Survey
    • Counselor Letters/Reports (provided by camp via mail or online)
    • Action picture(s) of Camper while at camp. Email directly to our Photos Account with camper’s name in subject line of email.
SEPTEMBER 1st
  • Reapply for next season campership funding.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Does JACF Contribute Toward Financially AND What Does the Camper Family Contribute Toward Financially?

Camp Tuition:  The Camper Family is required to contribute a portion of camp tuition as outlined in the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table.   JACF will fund any tuition not covered by the family contribution. Camp Tuition fees to be paid by Camper Family must be paid directly to the John Austin Cheley Foundation by April 1st.  Any unpaid balance after April 1st could result in forfeiture of campership. (See  Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table in Resources)

Camp Bank Expenses: For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Full Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table, JACF will credit the Camp Bank in the amount outlined in the Campership Agreement. Any camper charges to camp bank over the amount deposited by JACF is the responsibility of the Camper Family and collectible by the Associate Camp.

For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Partial Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table, deposits into the camper’s Camp Bank account is the responsibility of the Camper Family.  Any camper charges over the amount deposited by the family is the responsibility of the Camper Family and collectible by the Associate Camp.

JACF is not responsible for any unresolved Camp Bank or any other accrued expenses due to Associate Camp.  Family must settle all Associate Camp balances prior to reapplication for JACF funds.

Transportation:  For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Full Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table and for whom request is noted on the JACF Campership application form, JACF will arrange and fund travel costs to include airfare, baggage fees, UM fees, shuttle fees to and from destination airport for camper only.  Transportation fees for family members and/or Mentor will not be covered.

For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Partial Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table, all travel and travel related expenses (including, but not limited to flights, shuttle, unaccompanied minor and baggage fees) will be the responsibility of the Camper Family.  

Equipment:  For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Full Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table, JACF offers Equipment Assistance with preapproval by the JACF Campership office.  All other equipment as listed on Camp’s Packing List are the responsibility of the family. (See Equipment Assistance Guidelines in Resources)

For campers whose Family Income falls within the posted range for ‘Partial Support’ on the JACF Income Eligibility-Family Contribution Table, all equipment as listed on Camp’s Packing List are the resposibility of the family.

Camp Clothing:  Camper Family is responsible for providing all clothing for the Camp experience as listed on Camp’s Packing List.  

Health and/or medical insurance coverage:  Camper Family is required to carry health/medical insurance for the time the Camper is at Camp (as required by the Camp).  Health and/or medical insurance is the responsibility of the family. (See Short Term Health Insurance Options in Resources)

Medical Expenses:  Any medical expenses charged by the Camp will be the responsibility of the Camper Family.

What Does JACF NOT Contribute to Financially?

Health and/or Medical Insurance Coverage or Medical Expenses:  JACF will not fund or reimburse for health and/or medical insurance, medical expenses or medications.

Transportation:  JACF will not fund or reimburse for transportation to and from the Camper’s home to their home airport or car travel to and from camp.  JACF will not fund or reimburse for family member or Mentor transportation fees. If a Camper is sent home or chooses to come home before the end of the camp term, JACF will not fund or reimburse the cost for any transportation from camp to home, including ticket change fees.

Clothing and Personal Items:  JACF will not fund or reimburse for camper clothing or personal items as listed on Camp’s Packing List.

What Financial Responsibility Does the Mentor Assume?

There are no financial responsibilities expected of the Mentor.

What is the Camp Bank?

The Camp Bank is a fund from which a Camper may draw during their time at Camp to cover items like daily snacks, shampoo, stamps, or a camp logo sweatshirt. The Camp Bank eliminates the need for the Camper to keep track of, or carry money while they are at Camp.  Any charges that exceed the agreed upon contribution by JACF are the responsibility of the Camper Family. Renewal Campers with outstanding balances at the Associate Camps from the prior year will not be considered by JACF for renewal until the balance is paid in full.

What Forms Must the Mentor Complete?

The following forms are to be completed by the mentor:

  1. JACF Volunteer Application & Forms – Volunteer Applicant provides information enabling JACF to vet as volunteer to include a background check and references.  To be completed and approved before the Mentor can begin working with a Campership Applicant as a representative of JACF.
  2. Mentor Statement – Provided to Mentor by JACF staff upon applicant beginning Campership Application. Assesses the Mentor’s recommendation regarding of the Campership Applicant’s readiness for camp.  To be completed according to the Campership Application due date schedule.

Which Campership Application Should the Applicant Complete and When Is It Due?

The First Summer Campership Application is for a Campership Applicant who is applying for JACF funding for the first time.

First Summer Campership Applications are due December 1st.

The Renewal Campership Application is for a Campership Applicant who is re-applying for funding following receipt of one or more Camperships.  NOTE: If a Campership Applicant will be 15 years of age by the time of camp and are interested in completing the Capstone Service Project, they should select the ‘Capstone Campership Application’.

Renewal Campership Applications are due November 1st.

The Capstone Campership Application is for a Campership Applicant who is applying for JACF funding for the summer they will be 15 years of age. The Capstone Program has a service project requirement (See Resources: Capstone Service Project Outline).

Capstone Campership Applications are due October 15th.

How Does the Applicant Select a Camp and Term?

The Mentor should familiarize themselves with the Camps that are available for selection by viewing the Camp Directory on the JACF website and Associate Camp websites. The Mentor then meets with the Applicant and Family to review the program descriptions and websites in order to guide the selection.

If the Mentor attended one of the Associate Camps, it is important NOT to show preference or bias for this particular camp.  Talk about the attributes of attending a summer residential camp in general terms and consider the best fit for the Applicant.

JACF makes every effort to place Campership Applicant at their preferred choice of Camp. However, placement depends upon space availability and best use of campership funding.  With this in mind, Mentors should emphasize that NO child is guaranteed a Campership, and he or she may not receive their preferred Camp selection.

What If a Campership is Not Awarded?

Occasionally an application is submitted that is not a good fit or the Family income exceeds the Financial Eligibility Guidelines threshold.  When this occurs, the Applicant and Family are notified that he or she did not receive a Campership.  The Mentor will also be notified of the decision.

What If Applicant is Placed on Wait List?

If an Applicant is approved but all Camperships have been awarded, he or she has the option to be placed on a Wait List.  As Camperships become available, the Wait List Applicant and Family, as well as the Mentor will be notified.

Applicants on the Wait List who are not accepted may reapply for future funding.

What are the Responsibilities of the Mentor and JACF in Helping the Camper Acquire Equipment and Clothing for Camp?

The Mentor should review the Camp’s Packing List with the Camper and Family. Note items needed and assist with acquiring those items by:

  • Check with the Camp for availability of loaner or rental equipment.
  • Ask friends or colleagues for any equipment that the Camper may be able to borrow
  • Visit local thrift shops, flea markets and second hand stores (i.e., Goodwill, Play It Again Sports)
  • Visit local stores’ ‘scratch and dent’ sales or ‘Garage Sales’
  • Visit online camp equipment stores (See Equipment & Clothing Resources in Resources)

If a Camper is in need of required equipment as listed on the Camp’s Packing List (riding boots, sleeping bag, backpack, etc.), the Camper Family may apply for Equipment Assistance.  With demonstrated need and preapproval from the JACF Office, a portion of select items may be reimbursed. (See Equipment Assistance Guidelines in Resources)  

How Does a Mentor Help a Camper Identify Adequate Equipment for Camp?

The following equipment is generally required for a summer at Camp. However, for a more detailed list refer to the Camp’s specifications and recommendations.  

  • Sleeping bag:  Discuss importance of a warm sleeping bag for residential camping.  A cotton bag is not appropriate for cold overnights.
  • Hiking Boots:  Quality hiking boots with good ankle support should be acquired several months ahead of time so they can be ‘broken in’ before having to be worn at camp to prevent blisters.
  • Riding Boots: English or Western riding boots are required for participation in horseback riding.      
  • Backpacks:  Campers will need a quality day pack or large outcamping pack, depending on the Camper’s level of interest.

How Does a Mentors Access the Volunteer Application?

Mentors can access the JACF Volunteer Application by clicking HERE

Once the initial application is complete, continue to Forms and Documents section to e-sign the required release and authorization forms. The Volunteer Application is not complete until all required forms are signed.

If a Mentor does not have access to the internet, please contact the Campership Program Director to obtain an offline Campership Application Form.

How Do Applicants Access the Campership Application?

To access the JACF Campership Application:

  1. Click HERE
  2. Click on the ‘Camperships’ tab
  3. Select ‘Campership Application’
  4. Select ‘First Summer Applicant’, ‘Capstone Campership Applicant’ or ‘Returning Applicant’ as appropriate to begin the JACF Campership Application
  5. Click ‘APPLY HERE’ to begin application
  6. Once the initial application is complete, continue to the Forms and Documents section.  The Campership Application is not complete until all required forms are completed.

If a Campership Applicant and Family do not have access to the internet, please contact the JACF Campership Program Director to obtain an offline Campership Application Form.

Does the Mentor Have Access to the Online Campership Application?

In an effort to maintain a high standard of confidentiality, only the Campership Applicant and Family have access to their online application.  Campership Applicant and Family can grant Mentor access to their account at their discretion. For insight into the structure and expectations of a Campership Application, visit the JACF website Campership Application page. Contact the JACF Campership Program Director to obtain an offline Campership Application Form.

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