Friendly Towns Connect FAQ
- Who can apply?
- Can I participate in Friendly Towns Connect and another program?
- How are children and host families matched?
- What types of activities are there?
- Do I need to have any materials?
- Do you have a code of conduct? How will you protect children from cyberbullying?
- Do I need to log on for my child?
- Will I need to help my child and provide supervision during the program?
- What happens if my child is enrolled and can no longer participate?
- What if my child can’t attend a day?
- Who will be interacting with and supervising my child?
- Can my other children participate, if they are not enrolled?
- Can my child participate in more than one session?
- How are counselors and host families screened?
Who can apply?
NYC participants: Both new and returning applicants can apply. New participants need to be 7-12. Returning participants can be 13-18, if their previous host family also participates.
Volunteer Host Families: New and returning Host Families can participate. Interested new Host Families can apply here. Returning Host Families can apply through the online host family portal and can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Can I participate in Friendly Towns Connect and another program?
Yes! We strongly encourage you to participate in Friendly Towns Connect in addition to other programs. Friendly Towns Connect is scheduled for only three 1.5 hour sessions each week. You can participate in Friendly Towns Connect and other program(s) which meet at a different time during the same three-week session or that meet during a different summer session.
How are children and host families matched?
As in the traditional Friendly Towns program, returning NYC youth will be matched with their returning host family if both families choose to be matched together again. For new matches, a staff member will call NYC families to match their child with a host family. They will discuss session/date preferences, details about the host family including ages of the children, the family’s interests, and other information to help the NYC parent/guardian choose their host family. All host families will be background checked, virtually interviewed, and have references checked.
What types of activities are there?
Activities include virtual field trips (to both NYC and Friendly Towns locations of interest), art, STEM, games and many other fun and educational activities. Activities will take place both in large groups with other participants, and in small breakout rooms with the NYC child and their matched host family.
Do I need to have any materials?
A device with a working camera, microphone and access to the internet is recommended. As the program is virtual and participants will enjoy the program more if they are able to actively participate and engage. The Fresh Air Fund will mail a supply box ahead of time that will include everything else you need to participate.
Do you have a code of conduct? How will you protect children from cyberbullying?
The Fund does not tolerate bullying and our staff are trained to recognize the signs of cyber-bullying and how to address it. We also take many steps to create a welcoming online community where participants respect and support one another. Staff members including social workers will be available for prevention, support and addressing any situation that may occur.
Do I need to log on for my child?
It is up to you! You do not need to log on with your child and are not expected to. You are welcome to join any sessions, if you would like to meet your child’s assigned host family virtually or are excited about programming and any activities.
Will I need to help my child and provide supervision during the program?
No. You are welcome to join the sessions and we hope you will join some of them. You are not expected to attend, and children can participate independently.
What happens if my child is enrolled and can no longer participate?
Please let us know as soon as possible if your child cannot attend the session they are registered for. NYC children will be matched with host families, and we will need to let their host family know. We may be able to place your child in another session with enough notice.
What if my child can’t attend a day?
Please let Fresh Air staff know if your child needs to miss a day. As many activities will take place in small breakout rooms with your child’s host family, as much notice as possible is appreciated. The program has only nine meetings, and we hope your child can attend all of them if possible.
Who will be interacting with and supervising my child?
Fresh Air staff will be overseeing the program, and your child will have access to Fresh Air staff members. Designated host families and volunteers will be supervising children in the breakout rooms. All host families and volunteers have had background checks, interviews, and reference checks.
Can my other children participate, if they are not enrolled?
We encourage you to register each child so that they can each attend sessions for their appropriate age group. Your other children are welcome to listen in and participate.
Can my child participate in more than one session?
Depending on program demand, we may be able to offer children the opportunity to attend more than one session of programming, but please note the program activities will be the same for both sessions.
How are counselors and host families screened?
Counselors and host families are screened with a thorough application process which includes an interview and background check, including checking references.