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Frequently Asked Questions

For Students

Am I paid as a summer fellow?

Yes. All fellows are paid a stipend of $3,600 (paid in four increments of $600, $1,200, $1,200 and $600 at the end of May, June, July and August, respectively). However, fellows are required to fundraise $500 of the total $3,600. This is to sustain the Fellowship program and ensure fellowship sites who need financial help can afford to host a fellow. We provide personalized help and training as well as fundraising letter templates to help you be successful. Fundraising is increasingly seen as a valuable skill needed in the workforce, and participating in the fellowship will give you great experience in this area. Additionally, fundraising is a tangible way to build a community that will support you not just financially but prayerfully during your ministry experience. In rare circumstances a student may receive a scholarship to cover their fundraising costs.

I'm really interested in serving in one particular fellowship area/site. Can I apply and be exclusively considered for the placement I have in mind?

Not exactly. When you apply for the Fellowship program, you are trusting the placement process. Placements are made based on your gifts and the needs of a ministry. However, the OCE team will ask you in your interview if you have any preferences for a potential placement site (ministry area, location, working alone or with a partner, etc.). Your preferences are taken into serious consideration during the placement process.

Is there any work I have to do before my placement?

Yes. Accepted fellows will undergo ministry training during the spring before their summer placement. Training happens weekly (1 hour/week) and includes meeting with a small group, providing a framework for what ministry/the church is, tools for self-care in ministry, and more. If you are studying abroad during spring semester, you will receive access to video recordings of training sessions.

Can I decline my placement?

Yes. At some point after your interview, you will receive an email if you have been selected to serve in a particular placement. The email will contain information about the placement including a job description. You will have an allotted amount of time (at least two weeks) to prayerfully consider the opportunity and will be given a deadline by which you need to inform the OCE as to whether you would like to accept your placement. If you decline your placement you will not be offered a different placement instead. However, you can still apply for the program any other year during your time at Whitworth.

Will I be placed with another Whitworth student at my fellowship site?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We try to send students in pairs or groups (some sites host up to four fellows in one summer!), but sometimes students are sent to serve at fellowship placements on their own. If you have a preference in this area you can specify this during your interview.

How many students do fellowships?

Our numbers normally range from 20-30 students participating in fellowships every summer.

What do I do during the summer if I encounter problems with my site/supervisor, mental health, living situation, etc.?

Your first step when you encounter challenges is to communicate with your site supervisor. Additionally, you will stay connected to the OCE, and the Fellowship team will do their best to support you through regular check-ins with you and your site supervisor.

Am I required to do a homestay as a fellow?

No, not if your fellowship site is in Spokane or in a city where you have another living option (e.g., if your fellowship site is in your hometown and you can live with family). However, we love homestays and most fellows claim that living with a homestay is the best part of their experience.

For Sites

What makes a site a good candidate for participating in the fellowship?

We look for sites with concrete needs, real opportunities for students to assist and assume leadership, and an excitement to spiritual mentor and guide students. We also look for sites that have service opportunities that connect with the interests of the students who apply.

I've had fellows in the past. Will I receive a fellow if I apply again?

Maybe! We love to nurture long-term relationships with quality host sites. However, we choose placements based on the students who apply. It is most important to us that we find a student who is a great fit. You may be an awesome candidate but it's possible we won't find the right student. This could be due to various reasons such as a student's ability to travel, their preferred ministry focus, etc.

What is the OCE's role while a fellow is with our ministry during the summer?

Site supervisors are required to participate in a mid-summer interview (a conversation between them, their Fellow and a member of OCE staff). Additionally, the Fellowship director will provide materials and guides to facilitate pre-summer and end-of-summer check-ins. These materials will facilitate joint reflection and space for dialogue. Insights from these check-ins will be communicated to the Fellowship director.

How much does it cost to host a fellow?

A fellow's total stipend is $3,600 with some potential additional travel costs. Please talk to the Fellowship program director about what your site would be expected to cover. This amount may depend on your ministry's financial situation, your needs and the interest of our students.

How many sites host fellows every year?

Normally 15-25 sites host fellows each summer.

Does the OCE provide training for site supervisors?

Yes! Several virtual training opportunities will be offered in the spring. Usually training opportunities center around young adult spiritual formation and mentorship. Trainings are led by OCE staff, Whitworth faculty or site supervisors.