What is expected of a host Family?
First and foremost a host family must have a teen between the ages of 13-16 who is willing to be a full participant for the summer project. For the American teenager, camps, excessive daytime sports practices, July vacations and part time jobs interfere with the mission of the Ulster Project. Teens can attend some activities outside of the Ulster Project like dentist appointments, a few sports practices or games, family reunions etc.
The teenagers are paired according to gender. We try to house Catholics with Catholics and Protestants with Protestants. It is not always possible and is a bigger deal for the Northern Irish than us.
American Hosts are expected to provide a place for their Northern Irish teen to sleep. It does not have to be a separate bedroom. An air mattress or mattress on the floor of the host teen’s room has proven sufficient in the past.
Host families are also expected to provide food for their guest. However, project participants are not home much and eat at almost every project event. Therefore, providing food is not costly.
Host families are expected to provide transportation for their teen and their Northern Irish teen to and from activities. The schedule is generally designed to lessen this burden by having only one drop-off and pickup time per day. Often carpooling arrangements can be made if there are conflicts with transportation on some days.
Host families must be willing to let their teen participate in the activities. This includes trips to amusement parks, high ropes course, horseback riding, pool parties, peace education and much more. The Ulster Project pays for all admission for both teens for all Ulster sponsored activities.
Host families must be willing to attend family events. These include an evening at the Thomas Family Winery, family cookouts and picnics, Sunday church services, etc. Attendance at all events is not mandatory, but is suggested — it’s a lot more fun for families that way.
How much does the Ulster project cost a family?
The cost for the American families is kept to a minimum by the generous donations of many supportive groups and fundraising.
There are two or three events that the families will be asked to purchase tickets for; usually a dinner at the Thomas Family Winery and the Auction Dinner. American teens will want spending money for shopping trips and activities the teens plan outside of the Ulster planned activities; these activities and the amount of money spent is at the parents’ discretion. The Ulster Project provides a T-shirt, but if family members other than the teen want to purchase a t-shirt there will be an additional cost. In the past the teens have ordered Ulster Project hoodies at their own cost. Other costs involve providing a dish to share at events such as picnics and pool parties. Finally, there is the cost of gas to and from Ulster Project events.
Families have found that the events, spending money, and pitch-ins will cost about $200 for the entire month. However, we encourage those with problems concerning the cost to speak with the President or another board member. We do not want the cost to keep a teen from participating.