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 Mentor?

A Campership Mentor is a person who assists a Campership Applicant / Family as they complete the JACF Campership Application for Summer Camp funding. If an application leads to the awarding of a Campership, the Mentor actively supports the Campership Applicant / Family through the process of enrolling, completing the Capstone Service Project or Camper Contribution collection, and preparing to attend Camp. Mentors may be veteran volunteers for the Foundation, personnel within a partnering youth mentoring organization or school, or a person selected by the Campership Applicant / Family 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?

Completing the JACF Volunteer application to receive JACF Volunteer approval

Meeting with the Applicant and Family, in person or over the phone to interview Applicant using the Mentor Statement as a guide.

Assisting the Applicant and Family complete the Campership Application, including securing at least two references and assisting with Associate Camp selection.

Helping the successful candidate enroll in camp and complete Associate Camp paperwork, acquire needed gear, equipment, and clothing and plan transportation to and from camp or airport.

Advising the Capstone Camper through the Service Project or assisting with the Camper Contribution requirements

Meeting with Camper and Family after camp for follow-up interview and to help Camper and Family complete post-camp forms and surveys

Meeting with Camper and Family to complete a renewal application, if desired.

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:

  • Full or partial tuition for one 2-4 week term per summer
  • Full or partial camper transportation to and from Camp if requested in the Campership Application.
  • Support from the Mentor to assist the Applicant and Family throughout the camp enrollment process, to help answer questions (including equipment, transportation, etc.), complete paperwork, and meet deadlines.
  • Potential to reapply for renewal throughout the lifespan of the camper

Why Does an Applicant/Camper Need a Mentor?

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.  They provide local support for the Camper and Family that could otherwise not be provided. The Mentor is the key support to the Camper Family in the Campership process.

Who Can Become a Mentor?

Someone who is a non-familial adult professional in the youth development field (teacher, principal, youth leader, coach, Scout leader, etc.) who knows the applicant well and has observed applicant interactions with others.

Someone who lives in the applicant’s geographic hometown area to assist with logistics.

Someone who will support the Applicant/Camper and Family through the application process, Capstone Service Project or Camper Contribution requirements, and camp preparation over multiple years.

Someone who is NOT related to the applicant or is NOT an immediate family friend.

Someone who had completed the JACF Volunteer application and been approved as a JACF Volunteer.

What is the Importance of Ongoing Mentor Commitment?

Once a Campership 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 provides.

How Many Campership Applicants Can One Person Mentor?

Serving as a Mentor for a Campership Applicant / Family could take a couple of hours per month. (See Mentor Responsibilities / Timeline below). We recommend that first-year Mentors, work with one Campership Applicant / Family. Veteran Recruiters may submit TWO new applications each year in addition to any renewals.  JACF may award Camperships to multiple siblings within a family with accepted applications.

Campership Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Camper Applicant will be 10 years old or older by June 1st in the year for which they are applying.

Camper Applicant will be from a family of low income generally not exceeding 225% of Federal Poverty Guidelines and resident in the contiguous United States of America.

Camper Applicant will have strong potential to thrive in a 2-4 week residential camp program that develops personal skills, social skills, and environmental awareness.

Camper Applicant will contribute in positive ways to the Camp community.

Camper Applicant will be from an underserved population who would not otherwise have access to a high-quality Camp experience.


MENTOR RESPONSIBILITIES / TIMELINE

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SEPTEMBER 1st – Campership Application opens
LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL – Mentors meet with Applicant and Family to:
  • interview Applicant using the Mentor Statement as a guide
  • review Campership Application and deadlines for submission
  • assist with Applicant or Family forms as needed
  • view the JACF website and Associate Camp websites to identify camp and term preferences
  • review Capstone Requirements with Capstone applicants.
OCTOBER 15th – Capstone Applications due no later than October 15th. Due to the time frame required to complete the Capstone Service Project, no Capstone Applications will be accepted after this date.
NOVEMBER 1st – Renewal Applications are considered.
DECEMBER 1st – First Summer applications are considered starting December 1st.
A rolling deadline for First Summer and Renewal applications will continue until all Camperships have been awarded.
NOVEMBER – JANUARY – Applications reviewed by Application Review Committee

Campership Agreement or Denial letters mailed to the Campership Applicant / Family as well as the Mentor.

Mentor follows up with the Camper and Family to ensure the Campership Agreement is signed and returned to the JACF Office in a timely manner.

Campership Agreement includes:

  • camp assignment, term assignment and camp dates
  • outline of transportation plans/arrangements to and from camp
  • outline of financial responsibility of all parties
  • instructions to review, sign and return Campership Agreement to JACF office within two weeks
JANUARY-FEBRUARY – Camp enrollment instructions provided by Camp to the Campership Applicant / Family.

Mentor assists the Campership Applicant / Family to complete and submit Camp enrollment forms to the Camp by May 1st.

Airline transportation (if requested) is arranged by JACF and made available to Campership Applicant / Family. Mentor receives duplicates of this information upon request.

MARCH – Mentor follows up with Campership Applicant / Family to verify all Camp enrollment forms, including a health physical (required by all camps), and all payments are returned to the Camp. All forms and payments are due to the Camp by May 1st.
APRIL – Mentor assists Campership Applicant / Family with acquiring and packing all necessary equipment listed on the camp Packing List.

Mentor confirms transportation arrangements with Campership Applicant / Family and provides support to ensure that all travel arrangements have been clearly understood.

MAY 1st – All enrollment forms and payments are due to the Camp.
JUNE-AUGUST – Mentor contacts Camper / Family the week before camp start to review last minute details.

Mentor will be notified by the JACF Office on a “need to know” basis if the Camper leaves Camp early for any reason, or if there is any family emergency which may impact the Camper’s participation at Camp.

JULY-AUGUST – Upon the Camper’s return from Camp, Mentor meets with Camper and Family to:
  • interview Camper to complete the Mentor Reflection Form.
  • assist Camper and Family with Post Camp Forms that are available via their online account.

The following Post Camp Requirements are due to the JACF office within two weeks of Camper returning from Camp (even if the Camper does not intend to reapply for a future Campership):

  • Camper Reflection Form
  • Camper Thank You Letter
  • Parent/Legal Guardian Reflection
  • Counselor Letters/Reports (provided by camp via mail or online)
  • Mentor Reflection (provided by JACF to Mentor)
  • 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 funding.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Does JACF Contribute Toward Financially?

Camp Tuition: JACF funds camp tuition after the Camper Family contribution has been made as outlined in the Campership Income Eligibility Guidelines.

Camp Bank Deposit: JACF provides funding according to the recommendations of each Camp.

Transportation: Upon request, JACF will fund travel related expenses including airline ticket, baggage fees, unaccompanied minor fees and shuttle fees for the Camper from their local airport to Camp and from Camp back to their local airport.

Equipment: With demonstrated need and pre-approval from the JACF Office, limited reimbursement for select equipment can be provided.

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 a 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 Packing List.

What Does the Camper Family Contribute Toward Financially?

Camp Tuition: Campership Applicant / Family contribution is determined according to our Campership Income Eligibility Guidelines.

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

Additional Camp Bank Expenses: Any charges made above the amount JACF funds will be the responsibility of the Campership Applicant / Family.

Transportation: Campership Applicant / Family may request JACF fund air travel to and from camp. Any other travel expenses are the responsibility of the Camper Family. If a Camper is sent home or chooses to come home before the end of the camp term, Campership Applicant / Family is responsible for the cost of any transportation from camp to home, including ticket change fees.

Camp Clothing and Equipment: Campership Applicant / Family is responsible for providing needed clothing for the Camp experience as listed on Camp’s Packing List. With demonstrated need and pre-approval from the JACF Office, limited reimbursement for select equipment can be provided.

Health and/or medical insurance coverage: Campership Applicant is required to carry health/medical insurance for the time the Camper is at Camp (as required by the Camp).

What Financial Responsibility Does the Mentor Assume?

There are no financial responsibilities assessed to the Mentor.

What is the Camp Bank?

The Camp Bank is a non-cash fund from which a Camper may draw during their time at Camp to cover items like snacks, shampoo, stamps, or camp hats/shirts. JACF makes a deposit into the Camp Bank fund for each camper. Any charges that exceed the fund contribution made by JACF are the responsibility of the Camper Family. Any outstanding balances must be settled in full by the camper’s family before a renewal application can be considered.

What Forms Must the Mentor Complete?

The following 3 forms are to be completed by the mentor:

  1. JACF Volunteer Application – To be completed and approved before the Mentor can begin working with a Campership Applicant / Family.
  2. Mentor Statement – The Mentor’s assessment of the Campership Applicant’s readiness for camp. To be completed according to the Campership Application due date schedule.
  3. Mentor Reflection – The Mentor’s assessment of the impact of Camp. Due within two weeks of Camper’s return from Camp.

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

The First Summer Application is for a Campership Applicant who is applying for JACF funding for the first time. First Summer Applications are considered starting December 1st.

The Renewal Summer Application is for a Campership Applicant who is re-applying for funding following receipt of one or more Camperships. NOTE: If a Campership Applicant is applying for the summer BEFORE eligibility for the Camp’s CILT/CIT/Leadership program then the Campership Applicant should select the ‘Capstone Summer Application’. Renewal Summer Applications are considered starting November 1st.

The Capstone Summer Application is for a Campership Applicant who is applying for JACF funding for the summer of Camp BEFORE their CILT/CIT/Leadership program. The Capstone Program has a service project requirement (Appendix: Capstone Service Project Guidelines).

Capstone Applications are due NO LATER than October 15th.

How Does the Applicant Select a Camp and Term?

The Mentor should familiarize themselves with the Camps that are available for selection. The Mentor then meets with the Campership Applicant / Family to review the program descriptions and websites in order to guide the select preferences.

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. 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 Campership Applicant / Family income exceeds the Financial Eligibility Guidelines. When this occurs, the Campership Applicant / Family are notified by mail 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.

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, the Campership Applicant / Family should refer to the Camp’s recommendations.

  • Sleeping bag: Discuss the 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 daypack or large outcamping pack, depending on the Camper’s level of interest.

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 Packing List with the Campership Applicant / Family. If a Camper is in need of required gear as listed on the camp Packing List (riding boots, sleeping bag, backpack, etc.), the Mentor should help the Campership Applicant / Family acquire these items.

With demonstrated need and pre-approval from the JACF Office, a portion of select items may be reimbursed. Items such as underwear, daily clothing, medication, toiletries, sunscreen, etc, will not be reimbursed.

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?

The Campership Applicant / Family can access the JACF Campership Application by following the steps below:

  1. Click HERE
  2. Click on the ‘Campership Program’ tab
  3. Select ‘Campership Application’
  4. Select ‘New Applicant’ or ‘Returning Applicant’ as appropriate

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 / Family does 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, the Campership Applicant / Family are the only people to have access to their online application. A Mentor can view the How To Navigate a JACF Campership Application document on the Campership/Apply page of the JACF website for insight into the structure and expectations of a Campership Application.

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