Emanuel gets along really well with my son Max. For a child, it is a big leap of faith and an adventure. I’m in awe of that.Polly, Host Parent
With safety as our priority, The Fresh Air Fund is not operating the traditional Friendly Towns Program for summer 2021. Any in-person activities or private visits between Fresh Air participants and host families are not part of The Fund’s programming. We encourage host families and NYC families to stay connected and continue to virtually engage. Please read our full letter to Fresh Air families here.
We are launching a new exciting program Friendly Towns Connect! The program has two three-week sessions with 1.5 hours of live virtual programming each week (9 sessions total).
Host families are welcome and encouraged to participate in interactive activities and virtual field trips to destinations in NYC and throughout the East Coast with NYC children and families. Host families need to apply and participate in a screening process, which includes an interview and background check. We are still accepting host family applications for August.
All participants are mailed an “activity box” with everything you will need!
A visit to stay with a host family is full of new experiences like making s’mores, playing in the backyard, catching fireflies, riding bicycles, barbeques, swimming, making new friends and having fun!
How are host families selected? Most host families learn about the program through a neighbor or friend. Every family goes through a rigorous screening process including a home visit, interview, references and a background check.
Many children return to the same family each summer, forming special friendships and gaining new perspectives.
How We Choose Host Families
PHONE SCREENING & APPLICATION
All families complete an application and phone conversation with a trained local volunteer.
HOME VISIT & HOUSE INSPECTION
Next, we visit each home to make sure that it is a safe and kid-friendly environment.
INTERVIEW THE HOUSEHOLD
Everyone living in the home is interviewed in-person.
CONTACT 3 REFERENCES
Families provide 3 references. 1 must be from a professional who has worked with children.
Finally, we run a background check on all household members. (18 years or older)
Where Do Our Host Families Live?
Volunteer host families live in small towns, suburban and rural communities along the East Coast and Southern Canada. Fresh Air children visit families in 14 states from North Carolina to Maine. Many families live in the tristate area.Meet Our Host Families
I was emotional dropping him off because we’re really close. Evan had a lot of positive things to say about Friendly Towns – he enjoyed swimming and did a bunch of new things and went to new places. He came home really excited about his experiences.Jason, Fresh Air Parent
Vasaune has such a good attitude about trying new things. I find him so courageous. He is working really hard to improve his swimming skills. He likes to roast marshmallows – and simple things, like playing in the backyard. He is a part of our family.Danielle, Host Parent
All families should take the opportunity to host. Bella’s visits have been defined by time spent together as a family, sharing a home, and laughing together.Courtney, Host Parent
Every host family plans different activities. Some favorites are playing in the backyard, fishing, riding bikes, picking blueberries, swimming, visiting a local amusement park and star gazing.
We ask our host families to describe the types of activities their family enjoys and tell us about their community. Then we work closely with the parents of Fresh Air children to create a match with a host family that is a good fit.Learn More