Host Application Forms
Thinking about hosting an Ulster Teen?
One of the most essential roles in making the program successful is always that of the host families. This critical importance means that we need to complete the recruitment, selection, and commitment of well-matched host families for the teens as rapidly as possible. Not only is there an impact on the teens from Castlederg, but most host families and teens from the New Orleans area have found the experience very rewarding. In most cases, often both host parents and teens have continued to be involved even after the teen has passed the project eligibility age. Many New Orleans area participants have visited Castlederg later to be greeted with traditional Irish hospitality.
The Castlederg teens will normally be within a few months of 15 years of age when they leave to come to New Orleans and will have completed the equivalent of our 9th grade. Typically, teens from Northern Ireland are mature in terms of responsibility, although they do not have as much choice about their lives as American teens.
In general, the best matches as American host families are those who have a 15 year old finishing the 9th grade. Any teen who is at least 13-1/2 and will have completed the 8th grade by June 1 and any teen not over 16 and whose family is willing to make the commitment may be selected for the Project. Beyond the preparation period, the bridge-building effort will focus on the combined group of teens selected for that month, with some group activity almost every day, including recreation, service, Breakthrough (small group time), and worship. As part of the preparation, it is very important for prospective host families (including the teen) to become involved in the regular Ulster Project meetings, work sessions, and activities as soon as possible before the program month begins. The commitment does mean that at least one parent will be in town during all the project month, unless the host family is on a brief outing during “family time.” EXPENSE to the host family is for food and local transportation. Most host families choose to car pool to the various activity sites, and we try to facilitate this system. Local transportation is a responsibility of the host family and not the Ulster Project. Trips beyond the New Orleans area will be by bus, from a designated drop off and pick up point. The selection process requires a visit with both the prospective host teens and parents in their home, plus a subsequent separate interview with the prospective host teens. The actual selections will be made from the best qualified host applicants as early as practical after all applications are recieved.
If you are interested in being a host family we need to hear from you PROMPTLY, because we do need to enable all of the prospective host families (and it is a family commitment — not just a teen matter) to become a part of the Ulster Project community themselves before the program month starts. This goal is particularly important with respect to the host families actually selected from all of the well-qualified applicants. Families who cannot make an early commitment can be considered later as either primary hosts or alternates if slots are still open. In addition to the three host teen families in each category (Catholic girl and boy and Protestant boy and girl), we would like to have no more than one alternate host teen in each category. Applicants who are selected as alternates will be expected to participate in all project meetings and activities. The well-qualified applicants who express interest in being a primary host teen, but are not selected, may become alternates.