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, Jesus Christ. Having selected the North Star as a representation of the cross , our “centrally focused mission.”
Why did you think if should be a 501(c)(3) Low Income Corporation and how can you we get involved?
There are three main ways: (1) Donate time in helping us develop our leased lands; (2) Donate time in helping us mentor the students; (3) Donate funds, materials, or useful products. Since our mission is to train students 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 if 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, on must learn techniques to maximize success and enjoyment. POLESTAR OUTDOORS believes that the mentors and students 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 wildlife.
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, willingess and ability to contribute to the activity they are involved in (e.g. provide transportation , use of personal equipment, such as finshing poles, shotguns, rifle, etc.). Further they are required to sign an authorization for a complete background check. The final step is to check with appropriate clergy to see if there are any known reasons why a potential mentor should not be authorized to work with students.
How are students selected? What qualifications must they demonstrate before participating?
Our program is primarily designed to accommodate students who have no other avenue to enter the outdoor recreation world, however, we do not limit this! Basically, any student who wants to enter the program is allowed (provided there are enough mentors). The student applies by filling our 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 the students have not had the opportunity to obtain field skills and/or state permits, so we can assist through this process. They must demonstrate the willingness to learn! POLESTAR OUTDOORS does have a Hunter Safety Course authorized by Wyoming Game and Fish Department. If a student desires to hunt, they must accompany their mentor two or three time before going into the field. This is required to demonstrate safe and proficient use of a firearm.
How many years can a student be in the program?
We have no set limit but generally allow students at 11 years of age and are welcome to attend through 18. We hope that students who have been in the program two to four years can become apprentice mentors and work closely with their own mentor to help the younger students.
How long is the commitment on the part of the youth and/or mentor?
Each mentor knows that the commitment is one year, but if everything goes well they are encouraged to remain for two to three years. The students commitment is for one season (three to six months) but they are allowed to remain in the program as long as they like. We want the program to be an easy-in / easy-out arrangement as their interests grows in the enjoyment of hunting and fishing. However, if someone discovers that they’re not interested in this activity, they can leave with any stigma.
Can youth be removed from the program and who makes this decision?
POLESTAR OUTDOORS reserves the right to remove a youth ‘for any reason’ deemed inappropriate. We must maintain absolute safety of all those that participate and if any safety protocols are not followed, the student will be removed. The decision is made by the Program Director with the input of a mentor. It is also possible for a mentor to be removed from the program “without cause.” All students entrusted to POLESTAR OUTDOORS must be managed in a completely safe, respectful and professional manner. All mentors serve at the will of the directors. For the record , no student or mentor has been removed to date.
What if the student doesn’t want the game meat?
POLESTAR OUTDOORS has a program where deserving families are identified and are provided unwanted game meat. For many students this is a great way of getting involved in this charitable effort and provide to those less fortunate. Please check local laws and restrictions before donating game meat.
What support does POLESTAR OUTDOORS provide mentors?
POLESTAR OUTDOORS provides mentors approved hunting and fishing venues. For example, 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 irrigation, etc. POLESTAR OUTDOORS also makes available equipment such as blinds rifles, shooting equipment and meet processing. POLESTAR OUTDOORS provides training to the mentors in areas of field skills, hunter ethics, and techniques of sharing your Christian testimony with students in selected venues. We have developed a series of questions for the mentors to open conversation concerning God’s creation, Christian ethics, conservation and management vs. preservation, etc.
Is there a financial outlay required on the part of mentors?
Yes, but these are usually minimal. For instance, most of our activities acan be conducted within a short driving distance, but the mentor does provide their own transportation and in some instances, field lunches, lures, use of camo, etc. This is a very individual matter and we will help in any way we can to make this a non-issue.
What equipment is provided to students and mentors?
POLESTAR OUTDOORS hasn’t been able to provide much, but we are trying to build up an inventory to be more helpful. By virture of our target audience we are dealing with students who have little to no field experience so they come with minimal gear. We want to be able to provide some clothing and access to firearms and fishing equipment. We prefer to keep these provisions very basic, but help students have good experiences as we teach them to become lifelong outdoor adventurers. Many students come prepared with warm jackets, good shoes, rain gear, etc. and remain hopeful to be in a position to maximize their enjoyment of the outdoors.
Who identifies 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?
This is a very exciting aspect of the program. Landowners get a great sense of satisfaction from witnessing the students use their land. They appreciate our strong teaching emphasis on landowner respect, respect for private property, hunter safety, hunter ethics, etc. Landowners are an integral part of the program and most want to genuinely help. In Wyoming, the landowner also receives a small portion of the license fee for each big game animal harvested. In some cases, the landowner actually gets rental as we lease the property for exclusive use by POLESTAR OUTDOORS.
What are the liability issues for landowners, 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 they were to allow any sportsman on their land, so the is no increased liability. As far as mentors and directors are concerned, POLESTAR OUTDOORS needs the industry standard “errors and omissions” insurance coverage. Every mentor must have normal vehicular liability insurance to transport youth.
Do you have a lot of other programs that dovetail onto the basic hunting and fishing programs?
POLESTAR OUTDOORS does while trout fishing, small game, game bird and big game hunting since this is our primary focus, but we do have several oth student oriented activites, as well. We teach Hunter Safety Programs, offer meat cutting classes, have donation programs for families in need and more. We also offer on a limited basis fly tying classes, wilderness hiking and camping. All training is done with a Christian ethic and principle premise.
How can I get a copy of POLESTAR OUTDOOR’S Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement and/or Financial Statements?
We are more than happy to provide copies of these by email of postal service. Simply request by email and provide your full name, address, phone number and email address.