How can I sign my child up for the Wayfinders program?

In general, students are referred to Wayfinders by Communities In Schools (CIS) personnel. Exceptions are made for siblings of current scholars and in some other circumstances. To inquire about program openings, please contact Mollie James at [email protected].

How old must my child be to become a Wayfinders scholars?

Wayfinders selects new students in the spring of 4th grade.

What are the qualifications to become a Wayfinders scholar?

Wayfinders scholars must come from a low-income family, attend a CMS school, and demonstrate strong academic effort, leadership potential, and good citizenship.

Is there a fee to join the Wayfinders program?

No. The program is free for selected students. It costs approximately $2,500 per year to send a Wayfinders student to summer camp, so we are making an investment of over $12,500 in each scholar over the five year program.

What will my child need to have for overnight summer camp?

Our camps provide camp packing lists, and Wayfinders and its mentors help scholars and their families gather the necessary items. Wayfinders provides each first-year scholar with a camp trunk and a sleeping bag. Each year, Wayfinders provides all scholars with a reusable water bottle, stationary and stamps, a book to read at camp, and other helpful items. Mentors help parents get the other clothing and bedding items they need. New clothes are NOT needed for camp! Old clothes are perfect, and so thrift stores are a great place to gather anything scholars don’t already have. We also have a free shopping day each June at the Crisis Assistance Ministry Free Store where scholars can “shop” for free for clothing and bedding needed for camp.

What if I can’t drive my child to and from summer camp or Wayfinders enrichment events?

No problem. Our mentors will provide transportation to and from camp and enrichment events if parents/guardians are not able to do so.

What is the role of the Wayfinders Mentor in my child’s life?

Wayfinders mentors serve as a buddy and support person for the Wayfinders scholar and the scholar’s family. Wayfinders mentors prepare the scholar for camp by helping gather necessary clothing and bedding items, provide transportation to and from camp if needed, write their scholar at camp, do post-camp surveys with scholars and parents, meet in person with their scholar at least once every other month for an activity of their choosing, and stay in touch with their scholar every month via phone, text, or email. The goal is a long-term, supportive, and transformative relationship.

Is attendance at the Wayfinders enrichment events mandatory?

No, but we encourage participation in as many events as possible. All events are free and provided so that your child will have exposure to a wide variety of educational and enriching experiences.  We do keep track of scholar participation.

What will you do with the information you receive from CMS regarding my child’s grades, attendance, and school behavior?

We use the CMS data we receive to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of our programs and to determine the continued eligibility of scholars. Student-identified data is not shared with anyone other than Wayfinders staff and leadership.

What will happen if my child’s grades or behavior decline or if they get in trouble at camp?

We expect our scholars to continue their good grades and behavior after entering our program. If grades and behavior decline, depending on the seriousness of the matter, scholars may be given a warning to make improvements, the opportunity to attend camp may be taken away, or students may be removed from the Wayfinders program.