For Hosts

What’s Involved

Want to be a host for a Native American young person? Lakota YouthStay hosts are families of any makeup – those with children or without, couples, single Moms, and retirees who live in the greater Boston area. Hosts welcome one or more young people from the Pine Ridge Reservation into their homes and into their lives. While we expect the host family to cover the cost of hosting the youth, travel to/from Boston and the cost of scheduled program activities for the youth are covered by the Lakota YouthStay program.  We do, however, welcome and appreciate monetary contributions in any amount to help defray the cost of airfare and program activities.

We are looking for hosts who have:

  • enthusiasm and energy for sharing their homes and their lives with someone from a different culture;
  • an interest in learning about Native American life and culture;
  • flexibility and open-mindedness;
  • a willingness to build sustainable friendships with Lakota youth;
  • the ability to commit to a minimum of one day of chaperoning the group activities during your host week.
  • the ability and willingness to cover the cost of incidentals for hosted youth such as snacks, occasional meal out, gas to/from scheduled activities, etc.
  • the ability and willingness to cover the cost of participation in LYS activities for self and family members. This may include admission passes, public transportation passes, etc.
  • been fully vaccinated and boosted

For more details about what’s involved, please see our host agreement.

  Lakota YouthStay 2024 is scheduled for July 2 to July 11, 2024.

What You Give

As hosts, you will share your home and heart with a Lakota young person for a week.  Hosts are expected to provide a safe, welcoming, comfortable living situation, meals, transportation from/to the airport and the daily group experiences/gatherings, participation in educational workshops before, during and after the YouthStay experience and a minimum of one day chaperoning the youth during group activities.  In addition, hosts will:

  • Provide a separate bed for each youth they host. Sharing a room with a youth of the same gender and  approximate age is suitable.
  • Provide 1-2 days on the weekend of individualized activities with your Lakota guest during the YouthStay week. This can be with you and/or your family or planned jointly with other host families.
  • Be interested in the youth, their culture and history and have realistic expectations of social engagement for the youth.
  • Help your guest adapt to life in your home and ensure your guest is available to participate in all Lakota YouthStay group activities.

What You Get

By hosting a Lakota youth, you will have an opportunity to share a mutually rewarding, 9-day (2 travel days/7 days in Boston) experience getting to know a Native American youth and learning about the rich, vibrant culture and history of the Lakota people while sharing your own story and that of your family and community. You will receive the support you need from our team to ensure a successful experience for all – before, during and after the YouthStay program. Best of all, we hope the experience will be the beginning of a life-long friendship between youth and hosts that will broaden one’s perspective on history, geography, culture and life!


Are we good candidates for hosting?

Hosts come in many shapes and size. There is no typical host. Hosts can be families with teens, no children or young children, couples, single Moms, or retirees. Understanding your interests and preferences and matching these with those of the youth will help create the best match for all.

How are youth participants selected for the YouthStay program?

YouthStay participants must meet certain standards and qualifications and agree to a shared covenant for behavior to be accepted by the YouthStay program. They must:

  1. be between 10–15 years of age upon arrival;
  2. demonstrate a commitment to the spirit of exploration/discovery, self-reflection and engagement in cultural exchange;
  3. provide two references from a teacher and non-family community member.
  4. agree to the Youth Covenant for Behavior.
  5. be fully vaccinated and boosted as per CDC guidelines for their age group

Will I receive financial compensation for hosting a Lakota youth?

No. Hosts are volunteers who see the value in hosting a youth from another culture and engaging in cultural exchange. The cost of youth travel to Boston (round trip airfare, ground transportation to/from Rapid City) and the cost of group activities for the hosted youth are covered by the YouthStay program.  We do, however, welcome and greatly appreciate monetary contributions in any amount to help defray the cost of the airfare and program activities.  Check the host agreement for more details about what is expected of you as a host.

How will the youth get around?

The hosts are expected to provide transportation to/from Logan airport as well as to the local group meeting location each day so the youth can participate in group activities as arranged and coordinated by the YouthStay program staff. Occasionally, hosts may be requested to voluntarily sign up to provide transportation to a location beyond the greater Medford/Arlington area.

What if the youth need medical attention?

The youth have health insurance that will cover any medical expenses should they require an urgent or emergency visit to the doctor or hospital. Before a youth is fully accepted into the Lakota YouthStay Program, they must undergo a complete physical exam and submit a physician’s report documenting they are in good health.

Can I host more than one youth?

Yes, one, two or three YouthStay participants can be placed with a host at a time. Some hosts decide hosting several youth people is better than one and find the hosting experience is even more rewarding. YouthStay participants and their parents/guardians must approve this arrangement. We have found it best to place 2 youth with hosts if there are no children in the home.

Why does Lakota YouthStay conduct criminal background checks?

The safety and welfare of our participants is of the utmost importance. While the application process can tell us a lot, best practices and Massachusetts Law for any program involving youth demand the level of consideration provided by background checks. The criminal background check is an integral part of the screening process that YouthStay staff, volunteers, hosts and their family members aged 18 years and older must undergo before being affiliated with our program. The hosts will be asked to cover the cost of the background check(s) for all adults over 18 years of age as part of the final application process.

Who provides supervision for the youth in the program?

YouthStay participants must be provided with general adult supervision at all times. This means an adult needs to be in the house/general area while hosting YouthStay guests. There will be group experiences each day, organized by the YouthStay program. There will also be some evening group experiences, including some dinners. Adult supervision will be provided during all group outings and meals.  Hosts are invited to participate in as many of these as they choose.

What Covid precautions are required?

Lakota YouthStay follows all CDC, federal, state and local health recommendations and mandates. We expect hosts, household members, youth guests and volunteers to be fully vaccinated and boosted and show proof of vaccination prior to the start of the YouthStay program. All participants will be required to read and sign our Covid policy. If anyone shows Covid-related signs/symptoms prior to or during the YouthStay program, they will be tested for Covid.  If testing positive, they will be required to quarantine for the CDC recommended # of days before being allowed to participate in the program.

Apply to Be a Host

Application Timeline (due to Covid, application deadlines are flexible.  If you are interested in hosting and it is past a deadline, please email us!)

  • February 15 – Application deadline (initial $25 application fee due at time of application acceptance)
  • February 25 – Initial CORI checks and home visits completed
  • March 15 – Preliminary host approval
  • March 20 – Balance of host application fee due
  • April 15 – Final background check completed
  • May 6 – Final host approval