Volunteer with CAP

Are you driven to serve the people of Appalachia who live in dire poverty? Volunteering is a meaningful way to build relationships, offer hands-on help, and fulfill your personal spiritual journey. If you have a heart to serve, there are opportunities for people of all skill sets to volunteer for short-term and service year programs.

Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Volunteers

COVID-19

Are you still taking volunteers?
Yes! How we deliver services may be a little different, but the need in Appalachia is just as great as ever. Because we house volunteers communally, we are taking additional precautions for our Volunteer Corps, such as raising the minimum commitment to three months and asking incoming volunteers to test and limit contacts for two weeks prior to moving into volunteer housing. Although we won’t be hosting students for our alternative spring break programs in 2021, we still need skilled construction volunteers to complete home repair projects and cooks to help feed these and other volunteers.

How are you keeping volunteers safe and healthy?
We’ve revamped nearly all of our services to reduce contact and allow for physical distancing. Mask wearing is required of all volunteers and employees.

General

Are you affiliated with any particular Christian denomination or church?

Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) is an interdenominational Christian organization. We are an independent nonprofit primarily funded by individual donors and churches rather than a particular denomination. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and are invited to participate in regular spiritual reflection. Though most are, volunteers are not required to be Christian, and openness to theological diversity is essential for community life.

Is CAP trustworthy? 

Yes! Over our 55+ year history, we have developed a good reputation with our donors, volunteers, employees, and participants. But don’t just take our word for it! There are many charities out there, so checking with a watchdog organization is always a good idea. We are very proud of our four-star rating on Charity Navigator and welcome you to review their findings. 

What are the different volunteer options?

Volunteers can serve as little as one day to as long as one year, and commitment varies by each opportunity. Explore our options or contact us for help with matching you with the best opportunity for your availability. 

CAP Volunteer Corps/AmeriCorps FAQ

How long is the commitment? When can I start?

Members of CAP Volunteers Corps make a minimum commitment of three weeks, up to one year. Commitments of three months or longer may be eligible for AmeriCorps benefits and a living allowance. We encourage volunteers to begin in January or August, but do offer flexible start dates for volunteers making a commitment of shorter than a year, or One-Year volunteers who are choosing the Local Living option.

What benefits do you offer?

Volunteering for an extended period of time is a significant sacrifice for many people, but CAP is able to provide several resources to make service more affordable. We offer room and board in an intentional volunteer community for all volunteers, as well as travel reimbursement. Eligible volunteers and AmeriCorps members may also qualify for health insurance and a bi-weekly living allowance of $125 (intentional community) or $550 (Local Living). AmeriCorps members are also eligible for an Education Award and may be eligible for student loan forbearance. While volunteers are welcome to bring their personal vehicles, CAP provides transportation to and from service sites for volunteers who live in community. Contact us for a complete explanation of benefits by service opportunity.

What do you mean by living in intentional community?

Living in community means more than simply sharing living space: it is an intentional commitment to sharing together in the Volunteer Corps pillars of Service, Community, and Spirituality. Volunteer communities share dinner and devotion several nights a week, and all volunteers are invited to participate.

What are the volunteer houses like?

CAP has six volunteer houses located throughout Eastern Kentucky. All houses have a multiple private bedrooms and shared living room space, kitchen, and bathrooms. The homes have a cable television in the common room as well as Wi-Fi. Meals and chores are coordinated between the volunteers.
 

Do I have to live in intentional community?

Although most volunteers choose to live in our volunteer houses, CAP offers a Local Living option for volunteers and AmeriCorps members who prefer to live on their own. This option includes a living allowance to help defray expenses.

Local Living Volunteers/Members find their own housing and must have transportation to their service sites. Those who choose this option are invited to take part in intentional community by sharing dinner and devotion at a volunteer house at least once a month. Please contact us to learn more.

Who serves with CAP?

We are blessed to have volunteers and AmeriCorps members from all age groups — from recent high school and college grads to retirees and everyone in between. Our volunteers and members come from our own communities and from all over the United States. They represent many different backgrounds, education levels, professions, and experiences. Their commonality is that they feel called to join us in building hope, transforming lives, and sharing Christ’s love through service in Appalachia. We especially encourage applicants from our Kentucky service counties.

Can I volunteer with my spouse? My significant other? My children?

We encourage married couples to serve with us. Both individuals must complete separate applications and be accepted. Unmarried or engaged couples and friends are welcome to serve with us, but they may not live in the same volunteer community. Volunteers with children will want to ask about our Local Living allowance toward their housing as we cannot accommodate them in our volunteer houses.

Can I bring my pet, service dog, or emotional support animal with me?

Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate animals in our volunteer houses. Volunteers with pets, service dogs, or emotional support animals may choose our Local Living option and secure their own housing.

Do I have to apply by a specific date? How long does the application process take?

One-year applicants should visit our Admissions Timeline for application, interview, and entry details. We encourage short-term Volunteer Corps applicants to apply at least one month in advance of their desired start date.

What are you looking for in a volunteer or member?

We are seeking compassionate, self-starting, fast-learning, independent, and mission-driven individuals who possess an exceptional amount of flexibility, maturity, interpersonal skills, and openness to people — both participants and fellow volunteers/members — who may be very different from themselves. Moreover, we’re looking for volunteers and members who are passionate about serving people who are marginalized and living in poverty and are ready to fully immerse themselves in their service and community. Many of our one-year positions require someone who can drive a CAP vehicle. Because we require our drivers to be 21 or older, our ideal candidate for one-year service placements is 21 or older with a valid driver’s license and a good driving record. We will consider exceptional applicants ages 18‒20, as we do have a limited number of positions available for non-drivers.

Most of our positions require a moderate to an extensive amount of physical activity and the ability to lift 20–80 pounds. Some positions also require an extensive amount of driving on rural roads. Please contact us to discuss any concerns you may have about our service requirements.

How likely is it that I will be accepted?

Our admissions process is thorough by design — we want to make sure you feel like our organization is a good fit! The first step is to apply through our website.

Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance. First, the Volunteer Program and the appropriate program supervisor(s) review your application. Next, our admissions coordinator will contact you to discuss your application, and the program placements that interest you.

Promising one-year applicants will be invited to interview with our staff in the Volunteer office and with several program supervisors. Following your interview, you and CAP will spend time in reflection to ensure a mutual match.

Summer Camp

With COVID-19, are you taking volunteers this summer?
We are planning for modified in-person camp this summer and will follow all current state and federal recommendations. We expect to need dedicated volunteers and AmeriCorps members, and we hope you can join us!

When is summer camp? What activities do you have?
Camp typically begins in early June and runs through the end of July. Each week brings in a new group of campers for residential or day camp. Summer Camp activities include canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, camping, and field games. While all the activities are fun for the children, they also provide the opportunity to learn important life skills, such as leadership, safety, team building, self-esteem, and respect for others.

What would I do as a volunteer?

Counselor

As a counselor, your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff and prepare for campers to arrive. On Monday, we run registration and you’ll help get campers settled and into their groups for the week.

You will be assigned to a group, and you will stay with that group for the week. If time and staff numbers allow, all summer staff will have a break during the camp day.

During the day, you will be to supervise a variety of activities, including:

  • Meals
  • Cleaning
  • Morning Songs
  • Swim Times
  • Hikes
  • Field Games
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Spirit Time
  • All Camp Activities
  • Bedtime

At camp, our counselors are not simply supervisors. We play with our kids and participate in all activities. Along with the basics of keeping your campers safe and happy, you are responsible for things such as:

  • Water breaks! Lots and lots of water breaks!
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Timekeeping — think about transition time!
  • Being creative and making camp extra fun for your group!
  • Communicating with co-counselors and leads

On Friday, a lot of your time is spent is helping the campers to clean and pack. We try to make sure campers leave with everything they arrived with. Once campers are dismissed, we will finish cleaning camp for the next week and then have a meeting to close out our week and begin our weekend.

Lifeguard

If you are selected to be a lifeguard and are coming to camp for the entire summer, we offer lifeguard training directly before counselor orientation. As a lifeguard, you are responsible for keeping up with the procedures you learned during training. During the week, you will work with the lead lifeguard and run through some drills and scenarios.

During all water activities, you are the counselor in charge. If there are multiple lifeguards in your group, you may not be required to guard during every water activity. Other counselors will lead games and activities, but if you are guarding, you call the shots.

You are responsible for:

  • Assigning numbers to campers (first swim time only)
  • Perform the swim test for all campers
  • Keeping track of swim test results (first swim time only)
  • Check in/check out campers
  • Going over rules
  • Overseeing the safety of all campers
  • Leave swimming area as clean as it was when you arrived

Kitchen Staff

Your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff, and prepare for campers to arrive. After the meeting, we would like your help to clean up the cafeteria from dinner while the counselors do their chores. Then you are free to spend your evening relaxing and preparing for the camp week ahead.

On Monday morning, please report to the camp kitchen. At this time, you will be introduced to the head cook, who will be working with for the week. She will give you more information about what your days will be like and what times you’re needed.

Your daily duties include:

  • Preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Cleaning up after breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Preparing snacks

The head cook will let you know what she needs you to do specifically. Every day, you should be able to have a break in the afternoon after lunch. You spend a lot of time on your feet so, this will give you an hour or two to sit down and relax.

Floater

Your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff, and prepare for campers to arrive. After the meeting, you should check with the coordinator to talk about your tasks for the upcoming week. Once that is complete, you are free to spend your evening relaxing and preparing for the camp week ahead.

As a floater, you have many different roles throughout the camp week. You will be asked to fill in as needed, but some things that you may be asked to do are:

  • Help in the kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Photography
  • Fill in if extra counselors are needed at activities
  • Arts and crafts
  • Assist in the office

Arts & Crafts

Your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff, and prepare for campers to arrive. After the meeting, you should head out to arts and crafts to get things ready for the week. Once that is complete, you are free to spend your evening relaxing and preparing for the camp week ahead.

Arts and crafts happen for an hour once a day for each group, three days a week. Your responsibilities include:

  • Setup for craft
  • Teach campers how to complete craft
  • Supervise and assist campers
  • Facilitate campers cleaning up
  • Finish any remaining clean up

Although you only have groups in arts and crafts a few hours of each day, you will still be busy when there are no groups there. Use time between groups to finish cleaning up and prepare for the next group that’s coming in. If that is all complete, and you have extra time, you may take a break, see if the kitchen needs help, or join a group in their activity. Make sure you let somebody know where you are in case you are needed.

Finally, you’re responsible for keeping groups’ crafts organized for the week and keeping each camper’s crafts together so that they can easily find them on Friday before going home.

Office Worker

Your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff, and prepare for campers to arrive. After the meeting, you should check in with the Lead to see what office work needs to be completed. Once that is complete, you are free to spend your evening relaxing and preparing for the camp week ahead.

During a typical camp day, your responsibilities include:

  • Answering phones and taking messages
  • Checking and sending out mail
  • Filling out and sending confirmation letters
  • Reviewing applications
  • Calling parents regarding applications
  • Ordering groceries
  • Scheduling people to cook Sunday dinner
  • Copying awards
  • Taking/editing photographs
  • Assist with food service paperwork

Photographer/Social Media

Your week starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your week ends on Friday once our meeting is over. On Sunday, we have dinner as a community, introduce new staff, and prepare for campers to arrive. After the meeting, you should check in with the Lead to get a list of campers and make notes if any of them are not to be photographed. After this, you will check to ensure our photography equipment is charged and in good working order, and familiarize yourself with our camera and our photo editing software. Once that is complete, you are free to spend your evening relaxing and preparing for the camp week ahead.

During a typical camp day, your responsibilities include:

  • Taking camper headshots and uploading them to their online profile during registration
  • Taking at least three pictures of each approved camper in a variety of activities
  • Ensuring that no pictures of unapproved campers are taken or uploaded
  • Curating photos, making sure they are of the highest quality and conservatively tasteful
  • Using our software (Lightroom) to crop, edit, and watermark camper photos
  • Under the guidance of the camp coordinator, uploading photos to photo sharing sites such as SmugMug, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Creating an end-of-the-week slideshow for each week and possibly an end-of-the-year video slideshow
  • Assisting around camp with other needs as they arise

How long is the commitment? Do you have an application deadline?

Medical personnel may serve for one week or longer, and we ask that our other volunteers make a minimum commitment of three weeks.

Who qualifies to serve as medical personnel?

We need RNs and LPNs who are licensed in Kentucky or a state participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact. We also welcome EMTs.

Do you offer any financial support for volunteers?

Yes! We provide travel assistance of up to $400. Individuals making a commitment of six weeks or longer are eligible for a bi-weekly AmeriCorps living allowance of $375, as well as an education award for student loans and qualified education expenses.

Where will I stay? What about food?

Volunteers stay in dormitories at camp. Meals are provided when camp is in session, and volunteers have access to the kitchen on weekends.

Seasonal Skilled Volunteering

With COVID-19, are you taking volunteers this year?
Yes! Though we may have limited or no student groups, we’ll still have a need for skilled volunteers to complete home repair projects and cooks to keep everyone well-fed!

How long is the commitment?
Volunteers serve for a minimum of one week, but we’re so thankful for volunteers who can serve up to six!

Where will I stay? What about food?
We have dormitories and RVs spots available. Meals are provided Sunday dinner‒Friday breakfast, and you’ll have access to the kitchen over the weekends.

Mission Trips

When can groups come and serve with CAP? 
Our Mission Group season runs May‒October. Occasionally, we’re able to accept groups in the last week of April and the first week of November. 

How much does it cost to attend a CAP mission trip? What's included? 
The cost for out-of-state groups is $325/person, with a maximum registration fee of $200/group. The cost for in-state groups is $275/person, or $25/person for groups from CAP’s primary service counties. Participation fees cover the cost of lodging, meals, programming, and the provided service project.  

What is the youth-to-adult ratio? What is the minimum age a student can be to serve? 
We require a minimum ratio of two adults age 21 or older for every five youths attending the trip. Because our groups serve in home repair, students must be at least 14 years old to serve.  

Do groups need to provide their own transportation? 
Yes. We require groups to be able to transport themselves to and from the job site each day. Because we serve in rural areas, the drive may be up to an hour each way. Groups must have one vehicle for every seven volunteers they are bringing.  

Should groups bring their own tools for the job site? 
CAP provides tools for job sites; however, group members can bring their own tools if they so choose. All tools brought to the job site will be checked for safety by their CAP crew leader.  

Spring Break

How much does it cost to attend WorkFest or YouthFest? What’s included? 
The events cost $225 per person with a $200 registration fee, regardless of group size. Participation fees cover the cost of lodging, meals, programming, and the provided service project.

Do schools need to provide their own transportation? 
Yes. We require groups to be able to transport themselves to and from the job site each day. Because we serve in rural areas, the drive may be up to an hour each way. We prefer that schools bring one vehicle for every seven volunteers.  

What is the youth-to-adult ratio? What is the minimum age a student can be to serve? 
We require a minimum ratio of two adults age 21 or older for every five youths attending the trip for youth groups. Because our groups serve in home repair, students must be at least 14 years old to serve.

Community Volunteering

Where can I volunteer?
We have flexible opportunities in Rockcastle, McCreary, Jackson, Johnson, and Floyd Counties, and in our Lexington office. Whether you want to volunteer once a month or daily, we’ll work with you to find the right opportunity.

Have more questions? Give us a call at 606-256-0973 or 800-755-5322 or contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Prayer Requests

Our faith calls us and sustains us— that's why Christian Appalachian Project gathers for chapel each day. If you or a loved one are in need of prayers, please let us know and we will lift up your request.

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