2023 Season Announcement
Due to a lack of vital financial resources, North Star Reach has made the difficult decision to suspend in-person camp program in 2023 while the organization focuses on restructuring and improving fundraising to drive long-term success.
Please read the full announcement here and see details below about alternate volunteer opportunities.
New Way to Connect to SeriousFun in 2023
We are excited to share a new way for North Star Reach program volunteers to connect with SeriousFun in 2023, thanks to our amazing friends at Flying Horse Farms. During our on-site programming pause in 2023, FHF–our sister SeriousFun Children’s Network camp–would like to invite our community of program volunteers to join them at their camp, just three hours away from Pinckney in Mt. Gilead, Ohio. To learn more and apply today, visit our blog.
Below you can learn more about volunteer experiences at North Star Reach during residential programs, which are currently on pause.
Program Volunteers Make a Life-Changing Impact
North Star Reach program volunteers are positive, caring adult role models focused on putting our kids and families first. Our widely diverse staff of amazing volunteers bring a wealth of worldly experience with them (volunteers must be at least 19 years of age).
2022 Volunteer FAQs
About Camp and the Campers
What is the goal of North Star Reach?
The mission of North Star Reach is to offer life-changing camp experiences for children with serious health challenges and their families. To accomplish this, activities are intentionally designed so participants experience these outcomes:
- To foster a sense of connectedness
- To develop competency and mastery
- To gain a feeling of autonomy
What are our campers like?
North Star Reach 2022 summer camp sessions are for children ages 7 to 15. Our family camp sessions also serve children with a qualifying medical condition (0 to 17) and their immediate families. (Please note: the program descriptions below apply to our traditional summer and family camp sessions during times when we do not have to ensure COVID-19 precautions.)
Some of our campers will have obvious signs of their health challenges including scars, general weakness, amputations, or challenges with balance, mobility, vision and/or hearing. Others may have less-obvious signs including developmental, cognitive and emotional challenges. We are committed to safely providing the appropriate medical care and support for all of our participants.
Together, our campers make up a diverse group with diverse needs. In spite of what challenges our campers may bring, we want to emphasize that our campers are just that . . . campers! They’re kids looking for a chance to be “normal”. We sometimes use the term “spectacularly average” because we want camp to be an amazingly remarkably wonderfully normal experience just like the experiences kids without medical challenges have at camp. This means making friends, playing games, learning and developing new skills and interests, practicing leadership, decision-making, and problem-solving skills all designed around having fun. In fact, we believe that camp is a prescription for fun. Camp leaders help provide a physically and emotionally safe environment where campers can feel comfortable taking healthy risks and accepting challenges on their way to growth.
What are we looking for in a program volunteer?
Any experienced volunteer will tell you that camp life is unquestionably, a truly rewarding experience. At the same time, it can be challenging. It will test an individual’s patience, flexibility, and privacy as well as take away much of the freedom we are used to in our daily life. But, volunteers at North Star Reach agree, it’s totally worth it!
We are looking for individuals who can live in, work in, and thrive in a rustic outdoor environment, promoting healthy personal interactions with campers and staff, while also being positive role models. Volunteer staff members must consistently show enthusiasm for the program and our mission, be eager to try new challenges and, of course, be able to deal with a little conflict now and then. We are a team of playful professionals who put our campers’ needs before our own and always reach as high as we can. Or higher!
What are the benefits of being a program volunteer (or WIGOOI)?
WIGOOI stands for “what I get out of it” and that’s OK. Because you will get lots! We discovered a long time ago that doing good for others actually does good for you too. In fact, we often hear from our volunteers after camp that it seems a bit unfair. Somehow, they feel as if they got more out of camp than the campers. It may seem that way, but we did a secret test to see if it was true. It’s not. Because we believe gratitude is the best attitude, the words “thank” and “you” are used often and generally in that order (unless it’s Yoda who would of course say “you thank – we do”).
The benefits of being a program volunteer at North Star Reach are many. Here are just a few we’ve heard:
- Growth in leadership skills
- Increased self-confidence
- Heightened creativity
- Being a part of an enthusiastic and optimistic community (and that feels good, ooohh that feels so good)
- Developed group dynamics
- Augmented flexibility (and not just the kind that comes from stretching)
- Enriched silly song singing
- Intensified appreciation for diversity
- Improved communication skills and tools
- Enhanced participation in life
- And, most importantly, the ability to teach and impact children!
2022 Volunteer Positions & Eligibility
How will volunteer positions differ in 2022 from past summers?
The heart of volunteering at North Star Reach will be the same! There will still be multiple ways to volunteer, but we have adapted the positions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We are hiring a reduced volunteer team that maintains a safe and compliant camper to staff ratio.
Session Volunteer: This is a residential position where individuals will join a cabin or activity as part of the team to help care for and supervise campers.
- New! Cabin Leaders (volunteers) will live and travel together in pods with their cabins, maintaining the same campers, counselors, and volunteers throughout the session.
- New! Activity Leaders (volunteers) will be assigned to a specific area for the session and live in separate housing.
Who is eligible to apply as a volunteer for the 2022 camp season?
Volunteer eligibility requirements:
- Prior experience working with children.
- Session Volunteers: at least 19 years of age.
- New! Are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 including a booster if eligible.
- New! If first booster was more than four months ago, a second booster is required.
- New! Can successfully wear a mask throughout the day.
- New! All volunteers must be able to provide their own transportation to and from camp, including early departure from the session if necessary.
Volunteer eligibility will depend on the successful completion of an online application — including but not limited to a background check, references, interview, health history and immunization information.
2022 Volunteer Application Process
How does the volunteer application process work for the 2022 Summer Camp Program?
Select the “Click Here to Apply” button at the top of the page to start your online application today . On the application website (Ultra Camp), you will be asked some questions about yourself, your life experience and your desire to volunteer at camp. As soon as the application is complete, applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.
When will I know if I have a position in the 2022 Summer Camp Program?
We aim to notify applicants about the status of their volunteer application on a rolling basis as applications and volunteer requirements are fully complete.
What are the training and session dates of the 2022 in-person programs at Camp?
See the Camp Schedule at the top of this page.
- Campily Retreat: Returning volunteers only.
- Summer Camp: Session Volunteers will attend a mandatory training onsite at North Star Reach before their position begins. More details will be provided prior to your start date.
How will the session schedule differ in 2022 than in past summers?
We will host five Campily Retreats that are three days each and three Summer Camp sessions that are six days each. The daily camp schedule will look/feel familiar with designated activity area times, mealtimes, rest time, and evening activities. Cabins will travel together maintaining the same group members throughout the session. Campers will be able to participate in many of the same camp activity areas. Large camp-wide events will consist of pods physically distancing from one another (20+ feet) in a large outdoor space.
Are volunteers required to receive the vaccine before participating?
Yes, all volunteers will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before arriving onsite for 2022 Summer Camp or Campily Retreat programs.
- Pfizer/Moderna – Two doses must have been received at least two weeks and not more than six months in advance of arrival. If second dose was more than six months, a booster is required at least two weeks prior to arrival for those eligible to receive it.
- Johnson & Johnson – A booster is required.
What COVID-19 precautions will be required of volunteers this summer?
- Before Arriving at Camp: Volunteers will be asked to self-monitor for symptoms, avoid large gatherings, maintain physical distance, and wear a mask when around others in the two weeks prior to arriving at camp. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated and will need to submit a negative PCR test done three to five days before arrival.
- While at Camp: Volunteers will be required to wear a face mask and observe physical distance from others while onsite. We ask that everyone help in sanitizing common areas and maintaining personal hygiene through proper hand washing and coughing techniques. Session Volunteers will always stay onsite during their assigned session(s).
After Leaving Camp: Volunteers will be asked to self-monitor and report any symptoms or positive PCR test results up to two weeks after their time at camp ends.
What happens if a volunteer shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while at Camp?
If a volunteer shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while onsite a member of the medical team will evaluate to determine the need for further testing and further appropriate steps.
What happens if a volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 while at North Star Reach?
If a volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 while at North Star Reach, we will continue to monitor their symptoms and make a departure plan that ensures they are able to safely leave Camp. The volunteer will remain in isolation until they are able to be picked up or drive themselves home. We will also work in accordance with MDHHA and the Livingston County Health Department to notify and/or isolate individuals who have had potential contact with the person.
If I have been vaccinated against COVID-19, will I need a negative test before arriving at camp?
Yes, all participants will be required to provide a negative PCR test done three to five days before arriving at North Star Reach.
When will more detailed information become available?
Volunteers will receive an updated version of this FAQ document, including more details, on April 15, 2022. Volunteers will be asked to review this document to ensure camp is the right fit for them in 2022.
What is a program volunteer interview like?
Our group interview (because camp happens in groups) is designed to help us get to know each other. It takes approximately three hours for a group of six to ten applicants. The interviewers are a group of experienced volunteers and the professional staff of North Star Reach. The actual interview process includes the following:
- introductions (served up campfire skit style)
- small group interview (more traditional “Q&A” time)
- group problem-solving tasks
- role-play situations
For more information please contact:
Director of Volunteer Engagement Mike “Coach” Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (734) 680-8744.