Where will the high school service program take place?
The program will be in Browning, Montana, where high school volunteers will serve and stay on the reservation of the Blackfeet Nation. The exact location will be disclosed to final participants.
Who are the Blackfeet Nation and why are you serving them?
The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is home to the 17,321-member Blackfeet Nation, one of the 10 largest tribes in the United States. Established by treaty in 1855, the reservation is located in northwest Montana in the city of Browning situated near the foothills of Glacier National Park. UFS volunteers are committed to serving individuals of all backgrounds and faiths, especially marginalized communities in our own homeland. This will be a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of life in the Blackfeet community.
What type of activities will take place?
Volunteer activities may include preparing and delivering meals to the elderly, working at the local senior center, working with children in the tribal-run summer camp, working at the food bank, manual labor (painting, renovation, gardening). Non-volunteer activities may include cultural visits and discussions to learn about the Blackfeet Nation, a visit to Glacier National Park, horseback riding, and a visit to a rodeo. Some post-volunteer excursion activities such as horseback riding are optional and are subject to additional cost.
When is the service program?
The program is being planned for July 21 – 28, 2018.
What will a typical day be like?
A typical day will start with breakfast at the dorm, morning debrief about scheduled activities, and morning volunteer activity. After a lunch break, volunteers will participate in an afternoon volunteer activity, potentially go on a local excursion and return back to the dorm for dinner, a group discussion and bonfire.
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
For the high school service program, volunteers need to be between 13-18. Volunteers must be at least 13 by the service program date.
How many hours will be spent volunteering?
Approximately 40 hours.
Can I get volunteer credit for the hours?
Why are you going for a week?
The one week period gives volunteers a chance to be fully immersed in the local environment and allows for more meaningful engagement with individuals in the Blackfeet community. In addition, there is an expectation for volunteers to complete a designated amount of work during the one-week timeframe.
Can I do the program for less than a week?
No, it would be disruptive to the program experience and also difficult to coordinate logistics and volunteer activities since volunteers are expected to complete the designated work during the one-week timeframe.
How many volunteers will participate?
There may be up to 15 volunteers.
I am a college student or a parent interested in volunteering with my child so is it possible to join the group?
At this time the program is only being offered to high school students. While we think it may be a great opportunity for families to volunteer together, we believe this is a great opportunity for high schoolers to achieve individual personal growth.
Can I volunteer with a friend or sibling?
We encourage you to volunteer with friends or a sibling but applications must be submitted individually.
APPLICATION AND PAYMENT
Why is there an application?
We want to learn more about the backgrounds of applicants, including their previous volunteer experience and ensure that only candidates who are committed to the volunteer opportunity apply to the program.
When is the deadline? How long does it take to receive a response regarding my acceptance after submitting my application?
Applications are accepted until Jan. 1 and may continue to be accepted on a rolling-basis, based on availability of spots. Applicants will be notified within two weeks from submission. It is in the applicant’s best interest to submit an application as soon as possible.
What is the price? If I cancel is my deposit refundable?
The program fee is $1020 with a $350 non-refundable deposit and includes meals, accommodations, airport transfer, local work-site transportation, program material and consultant fees to the Blackfeet community. The cost does not include airfare to Montana. The deposit is non-refundable because we need to secure timely arrangements with our partner organization. Program cancellation policy:
Is the program tax-deductible?
When travel is undertaken for the sole purpose of volunteer work through a non-profit organization, the service program cost and travel cost are tax-deductible. For additional clarification or understanding of IRS regulations, please consult with your tax advisor.
Why are optional activities not included in the program cost?
Certain optional activities such as horseback riding are subject to additional cost which will be paid by volunteers at the time of the activity. Such activities are not included in the service program cost because they are outside the scope of volunteering and therefore not considered a tax-deductible expense.
I’m not sure if I can afford to pay for the program so are there any options available to subsidize the cost?
UFS can assist you to create an online social media campaign in the form of a personal website to raise funds. There may also be an opportunity to apply for a Leadership Award in the form of a partial financial scholarship from UFS.
Can I still fundraise for my program after the payment deadline has passed?
The full payment for the program is due on the payment deadline that will be communicated to final participants. However, volunteers can continue to fundraise until the date of their trip. Any external funds raised after the payment deadline may be reimbursed to the volunteers depending on the amount of their personal contributions to the program cost.
What happens if the money I receive from fundraising exceeds the program cost?
Any funds raised in excess of the program cost will be treated as a general donation toward United for Service that will be allocated towards a Leadership Award for future participants or a designated UFS project.
I was accepted but can no longer participate. What happens to my deposit and the funds that I raised?
Is it safe?
Our volunteers’ health and safety are a top priority and we will be staying in secure accommodations with experienced chaperones and traveling with drivers who know the area well.
Who will be chaperoning the group?
Two or three adults will be supervising the volunteer group (with at least one female chaperone.) There will also be other experienced members from our host partner organization who will facilitate activities, discussions and other sessions.
How will volunteers communicate with families?
Volunteers will be able to contact their families on a daily basis. Chaperones will also be available by phone and will provide periodic email updates. There is wifi and intermittent mobile phone coverage and a landline phone number is available to reach for emergencies.
TRAVEL, FOOD, AND LODGING
How will I get there?
Volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own flights to reach the destination airport in Great Falls, MT, within a designated window of time on the day of arrival. Once all volunteers have reached the airport, the chaperone and driver will pick up the volunteers and take them to the volunteer site, approximately two hours away.
Can minors fly alone?
For domestic flights, passengers between the age of 12-17 (in some cases 15 and over) can travel alone on domestic flights without restrictions. Unaccompanied minor procedures may be requested with the airline for a fee. Please refer to specific airline website for further information. If possible, we will put volunteers departing from the same geographic region in communication so that group travel can be coordinated. Volunteers departing from the San Francisco bay area may be able to travel with a UFS adult chaperone. For additional information please click here.
What are the accommodations?
Dormitory style, large rooms with bunk beds with shared bathrooms, separated by gender. There are also large shared spaces for meals, prayer, and reflection sessions.
What type of meals will be served?
Meals will be vegetarian or potentially include halal meat with other dietary restrictions taken into consideration. Breakfast is self-serve at the lodging facility, with packed lunch at the work sites. Evening meals are prepared by a local cook at the lodging facility.
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