Who can serve as a volunteer?
We are looking for volunteers to share the love of Jesus Christ, who are willing to serve and put others first. Volunteers should be in good health physically, emotionally and spiritually. As a part of the application process, volunteers agree to abide by our guidelines and commitments to serve. Personal references are required for first time volunteers and criminal background checks are required for all volunteers every other year. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and high school graduates to serve without their parents.
Can my children serve with me at Blue Skies?
We encourage families to serve together but ask that children be at least 5-6 years old before serving at Blue Skies. Children should be fairly independent in daily activities before they come to serve others. Their primary role is to befriend the guest children and help the guest children have fun. Children should be independent of their parents to participate in camp activities (there are activities when volunteer parents are cleaning or cooking, etc. when their child is in H2O – apart from their parent) and should be present for all meetings and all activities. There is time for nap during the day, but our days typically begin at 8am and end around 9pm. Please keep this in mind when considering bringing your children to serve. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and high school graduates to serve without their parents or a chaperone. Parents who have children with special needs should contact our office before applying.
Please keep in mind that if your child has been struggling with making good choices or has been having behavior problems at home and/or school, this is not the right season to bring them with you to serve at Blue Skies. If you have questions as to whether your child is “ready to serve”, please contact our office.
Do I need a roommate if I am bringing my children to serve?
Volunteers bringing children to serve must find an adult roommate. If the roommate is not your spouse, the roommate must complete a separate application. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and your roommate's name. Your application will not be processed until we receive this email. All children will be sleeping on the floor in the bedroom with their parent(s). So, if you are rooming with another single adult who has children, keep in mind all of you will be sharing the same bedroom and bath. Children will need to bring sleeping bags, bedding, and pillows.
Can I bring my niece/nephew/grandchild to serve with me?
We encourage children to serve with their parents. However, if their parents are unable to attend, we allow students to attend with another adult family member. Please email Blue Skies at email@example.com prior to applying. The cost to bring a child who is not their own is $500. We do not encourage adults who are bringing their own children to bring additional children.
Where is Blue Skies?
The retreats take place in the community of Windmark Beach in Port St. Joe, Florida which is on the Florida panhandle. The address is 101 Good Morning Street Port St. Joe, FL 32456. Windmark is on EST. The Blue Skies office is located in Marietta, Georgia – just north of Atlanta.
What are the accommodations like at camp?
All volunteers stay at the same resort as the guest families (Windmark Beach) in condominiums. Single volunteers will be sharing a bedroom with another single volunteer of the same gender. Families serving together will share a bedroom. Children will need to bring sleeping bags. Volunteers bringing children with them to serve will share one bedroom together with kids on the floor. (Please keep in mind that every room will have 2 adults so if you are coming without a spouse, another adult will be sharing your room. You may want to sign up with a friend to serve with you who you feel comfortable sharing a room with your kids.) Children will need to bring sleeping bags, bedding/pillows. Most families will have a one private bathroom. If you have a large family, please consider these sleeping arrangements.
How many people will be there?
Around 120 people attend each retreat comprised of about 12 Guest Families and about 50 volunteers along with their children.
Will it be sad?
The question we get asked most often is, "Will it be sad?" Blue Skies is actually one of the most joyful places you will ever go! The reason we have camp is heartbreaking but once you get there, it is filled with smiles, hope, fun and laughter. The children who are sick get to be “free” from the hospital, their brothers and sisters get to spend uninterrupted time with their mom and dad, and parents find out they are not alone on their journey - they meet others who truly understand. We hope you won't let your fears or reservations hold you back from one of the best weeks you'll ever experience. If you’re still not sure….check this out.
How much does it cost?
Volunteers are asked to raise or give $1250 per adult and $250 per child. As a domestic mission trip, we ask our volunteers to use the Blue Skies online personalized giving campaign (Classy) or send out personal letters to raise their support. Should you decide to pay your volunteer support, we ask that you still reach out to your friends and family through social media or letters allowing them to know about your upcoming mission experience so they can pray for you, hear about Blue Skies and have the opportunity to give. All funds collected, raised and given should be entered into your DonorView funding page. All funds are due by check-in at camp.
How do I apply to volunteer?
Volunteer applications are to be filled out online. A $50 non-refundable application fee for each application (families fill out one application together) must be paid online before your application can be processed. The application fee secures your spot and is in addition to your volunteer support.
What happens after I apply to be a volunteer?
You will receive an email regarding your acceptance within 2 weeks of Blue Skies receiving your completed application (including references and background check).
For those who live in the metro Atlanta area, attend team meetings (typically 2 - about one month before the retreat and one week before retreat).
Raise or give full funding which is due before retreat begins.
What happens if I can’t attend the retreat after my application has been accepted?
If for some reason you are unable to attend once your application has been accepted, you are required to raise/give the full amount of volunteer support due or find another volunteer/volunteer family to take your spot.
Feel free to call our office with questions, 678-486-5585 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to serving with you!
Blue Skies Volunteer Guidelines
To help protect you, your family, those we serve and our ministry the following guidelines are in place:
If you, your child or anyone in your family is having or has had a history of anger or violence; challenges with or involvement/use of illegal or prescriptive drugs or alcohol abuse; history of sex offenses or pornography; or history of theft or crime, they are not eligible to attend Blue Skies.
Students who are disrespectful, have been expelled from school, have been involved in any illegal activities or are having behavioral challenges should not be considered to serve until the issues have been discussed with Blue Skies and are resolved. Please feel free to contact our office for additional information.
Any staff, guest family or volunteer who is found to or has history of any sexual offense will be terminated from employment or volunteer services/retreat attendance immediately. Thank you for your understanding of these guidelines.
Parents/guardians are responsible for the actions of everyone attending the retreat with them. Children should be supervised by their parents unless they are participating in a scheduled activity. If your children are serving with you, we expect them to participate in all retreat activities and meetings.
As volunteers/staff, we typically stay on campus unless there is a scheduled outing. Our guests are free to come and go as they like to shop, sight see, etc. If they leave the retreat facility (other than the scheduled parent’s outing) they must take their children with them.
Please show common courtesy and respect for all retreat participants.
Dress, speak and behave in a manner that is honoring to God.
Report any accidents/injuries or concerns to the Retreat Director as soon as possible.
Please report any maintenance problems to the Retreat Director.
Blue Skies volunteers are not allowed to drive Blue Skies guest families.
Never be alone with a child or someone of the opposite gender (unless it is someone in your own family). Please travel in groups of 3 or more.
Please dress modestly (including your swimwear).
Please be on time to all retreat activities and abide by the guidelines of Blue Skies.
Golf carts are limited to staff/directors only (no drivers under 21).
We ask that our guest families please not solicit any gifts or services from the volunteers, donors or individuals in the community during or after the retreat. Please refrain from giving money, gifts or service to our guests apart from the gifts and service we provide during the retreats. Please notify the Blue Skies staff if you know of a guest who solicits money, gifts or services such as babysitting, financial aid, etc. We want to help connect our guest families with the appropriate oncology programs and support services available to help them.
We ask volunteers to respect the privacy of Blue Skies’ guest families, volunteers, donors and businesses/individuals in the community. Please do not use Blue Skies to solicit or promote your business, other ministries or endeavors.
Your Commitment to Us
HEART PREPARATION: We find that spending time with God in His word and in prayer is the best way to prepare our hearts to serve.
TIME COMMITMENT: We ask that local volunteers (who are an hour or so away) make every effort to attend the pre-retreat team meetings held by the Retreat Directors. Typically their are two meetings that are held within metro Atlanta area. The first meeting will be held about one month before your retreat and the second meeting will be held about one week before the retreat). Arrival time to the retreat is critically important. Please make plans to arrive during check-in and remain through dismissal. Check-in is typically on Saturday between 3 and 4 PM EST in Port St. Joe, Florida. Volunteers are dismissed at 10 AM on Saturday morning.
Each adult needs to raise or give $1,250 and each student $250. To serve without yours parents (you will be listed as an adult at camp), you must be 18 years old and a high school graduate. All funds are due before the retreat begins. Blue Skies provides a personalized online fundraising campaign set up for each volunteer. Fundraising information provided in the Volunteer Manual.
BEHAVIOR AT CAMP:
Show up with a great attitude, ready to work hard! In Colossians, the Bible tells us we should work with enthusiasm as if we were working for the Lord - not for men - it is our Father in Heaven who we want to please!
Treat everyone with respect and share the love of God through your actions. They will know we are Christians by our love - by how we treat one another and how we speak to one another. This includes our guests, our family, and fellow volunteers. John 13:35.
Abide by the rules and guidelines at Blue Skies. Every guideline is in place to protect you, our volunteer team and those we are serving.
Honor God at Blue Skies in what you say, in your attitude, in presenting yourself (including clothing/bathing suits), in all you do.