Frequently Asked Questions

What does the name and logo mean? The name POLESTAR means 'centrally focused'!. The North Star (Polaris) is the centrally located star in the northern hemisphere----and therefore is known as our pole star. As a Christian organization we want to point to our spiritual pole star, Christ.....and have selected the North Star as a representation of the cross, which is our "centrally focused mission". Why did you think it should be a 501(c)(3) Low Income Corporation? We have had many people ask the question "How can I get involved?" There are 3 main ways, one is to donate time in helping us develop our leased lands, or two, donate time in helping us mentor the kids, or three, to donate money, materials, or useful products. Since our mission is to train kids in conservation practices, outdoor education, and Christian principles, any gift will qualify as a tax deductible donation. POLESTAR-OUTDOORS also qualifies as a 501(c)(3) because it provides free public services to the participants. You say your program teaches hunting skills, hunter ethics and Christian principles---what does this mean? As our mission statement emphasizes we are about teaching youth life skills and getting them to focus on the true meaning of life. We use outdoor sports to do this.....specifically hunting and fishing. We believe to be a good, ethical sportsman one must learn techniques to maximize success and enjoyment....POLESTAR-OUTDOORS believes that the Mentors and Youth need to focus on our role in nature and apply Judeo-Christian principles to our conservation practices, ethical use of resources, and overall appreciation of nature. How can I get involved? The obvious ways are donations of time, money and material supplies......but you might also want to get involved by serving on boards/committees or even starting a chapter of your own (see STARTING A NEW CHAPTER page). How are Mentors selected? Mentors are selected by the directors of the program. They must go through evaluations as far as hunting and fishing skills and knowledge of the laws, willingness and ability to contribute to the activity they are involved in (ex.-provide transportation, maybe use of some personal equipment such as fishing poles, shotgun, or rifle...etc.) Further, they are required to sign an authorization for a complete background check (ex.-police records that might impact our decision) The final step is to check with appropriate clergy to see it there are any known reasons why a potential mentor should not be authorized to work with youth. (We do not ask for specifics- only if the clergy feels comfortable with the person in that role). How are Youth selected? What qualifications must they demonstrate before participating? Our program is primarily designed to accommodate youth who have no other avenue to enter the outdoor recreation world, however, we do not limit this! Basically, any youth who wants to enter the program is allowed (provided we have enough mentors). The youth appiles by filling out a liability release form which must be signed by a parent or guardian, and they must also show that they have all necessary state permits to do the activity requested. Many of our youth have not had the opportunity to obtain field skills and/or state permits, so we ask them to let us help them through the process.....they must demonstrate the willingness to learn! (We do provide our own Hunter Safety Course which is authorized by the State of Wyoming Game and Fish Dept). If a youth wants to hunt they must agree to go shooting with the mentor 2-3 times before going into the field. This is required to demonstrate they are competent and safe with a weapon. How many years can a kid be in the program? We have no set limit, but generally pick up a kid at 11 years of age and they are welcome to stay in the program until 18. We hope that youth who have been in the program 2-4 years can become apprentice mentors and work closely with their own mentor to help with the younger youth. How long is the commitment on the part of the youth and/or mentor? Each mentor knows that the commitment to the program is for 1 year, but if everything goes well they usually like to stay with the kid for 2-3 years. The youth commitment is for one season (may be 3-6 months) but they know that if they want to stay in the program they can. We want the program to be an easy in-easy out situation for the youth as we are trying to introduce youth to outdoor activities and the enjoyment of hunting and fishing. However, if somebody discovers that they aren't interested we want them to be able to exit easily without any stigma. Can youth be removed from the program? Who decides? YES, we reserve the right to remove a youth 'for any reason'. We must maintain absolute safety and if somebody will not follow safety procedures as outlined by the mentor, that youth will be removed. (Ex.= failure to use life vest, when requirred---unsafe gun handling, etc.) The decision is made by the Program Director with the input of the mentor. It is also possible for a mentor to be removed from the program.......'without cause'. Again, we must make sure that the youth entrusted to us are 'managed' in a totally safe and professional way. Each mentor knows that they are serving at the will of the directors. Having said all this, let us quickly add---we are very careful in the original selection process and we have never had to remove either a youth or a mentor!!!! What if the youth hunter doesn't want the game meat....what happens to it? We have a very good program where POLESTAR-OUTDOORS identifies 'needy' and/or 'desirerous' families who want all the game we can provide. For many of our youth this is a great way to get involved in giving to those less fortunate. Some states may have game laws that do not allow for this, so check your own situation before starting!!! What support does POLESTAR-OUTDOORS provide the Mentors? POLESTAR-OUTDOORS provides the mentors, approved hunting and fishing venues. For instance, we lease (or landowners donate) large tracts of land for hunting. These areas are managed by POLESTAR-OUTDOORS for specific wildlife by planting food plots, providing watering facilities, etc. (Upland birds, deer, etc.) POLESTAR-OUTDOORS also makes available equipment such as Blinds, rifles, meat processing, etc. POLESTAR-OUTDOORS provides training to the mentors in areas of field skills, hunter ethics, and techniqes of sharing your Christian testimony with youth, in the selected venue. We have developed a series of questions for the mentors to open conversations concerning God's creation, Christian ethics, conservation and management vs. preservation, etc. etc. Is there a financial outlay required on the part of Mentors? Yes, but these are usually minimal. For instance, most of our activities can be conducted within a short driving distance, but the mentor does provide his/her own transportation and in some instance, also provides field lunches, lures, use of camo's, etc. This is a very individual matter and we will help in any way we can to make this a non-issue. What (if any) equipment do you provide the youth and/or mentors? We haven't been able to do much in the past, but we are trying to build up a better inventory so we can be more helpful. By virture of our target audience, we are dealing with youth who have had no field experience so they come to us with minimal 'gear'. We want to be able to provide some clothing, maybe 'user' firearms and fishing equipment, ammo, etc. We prefer to keep this very basic, but help the youth have a good experience as we are all about teaching them how to become lifelong outdoors people. Many of our youth come without warm jackets, good shoes, rain gear etc. and hopefully one day we will be able to help them and thus maximize the enjoyment of the field experience. Who identifies the locations and field practices for the program? This is done by the Founders and Board of Directors. Mentors are required to follow our lead. What do landowners get out of participation in the program? Why would a landowner want to get involved? This is a very exciting aspect of the program.......landowners get a great sense of satisfaction from seeing the youth use their land. They appreciate our strong teaching emphasis on landowner respect, respect for private property, hunter safety, hunter ethics, etc. Landowners are an intregal part of the program and most want to help youth. In the State of Wyoming the landowner also recieves a small portion of the license fee for each big game animal harvested. In some case, the landowner actually gets rental as we lease the property for exclusive use by POLESTAR-OUTDOORS. What are the liability issues for landwoners, mentors and program directors? This would depend on where you are operating. The general rule is that the landowner liability is the same as if he/she were to allow any sportsman onto their land, so there is no increased liability. As far as mentors and directors are concerned POLESTAR-OUTDOORS needs the industry standard "errors and omissions" insurance protection. Every mentor must have normal vehicular liability insurance to transport youth. Do you have a lot of other programs that dove-tail into the basic hunting and fishing programs? Yes, while trout fishing, small game, game bird and big game hunting are our primary focus we do have several other youth oriented activities going on. We teach Hunter Safety Programs, we offer meat cutting training, we have a program where the youth can donate their game to families who need the meat, etc. We are planning to offer training in areas such as fly-tying, wilderness hiking, camping etc. All training is done with a Christian ethic and principle taught. How can I get a copy of POLESTAR-OUTDOOR'S Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, and/or Financial Statements? We will be more than happy to provide a copy of these by email or "snail" mail. Simply request by email, providing full name, address, phone number and email address.

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