Mulcahy Fellowship

The American Youth Foundation understands that our organization and the history of summer camps in general exists within an historically white, upper class, and privileged society. We believe everyone deserves the chance to enjoy the outdoor world and have life-changing, positive experiences in nature.

The AYF recognizes the value of representation in our camp community leadership and the importance of staff and volunteers who represent the broader diversity of our participant communities. This is the foundation of the Mulcahy Fellowship and why it is so important to the AYF.

History of the Mulcahy Fellowship

The Mulcahy Fellowship was inspired by the in memory of longtime AYF staff member Elizabeth Mulcahy. Elizabeth cared deeply about ensuring equitable access to AYF programs and recognized the importance of representation in our camp communities. Thanks to a generous donation from her father, Pat Mulcahy, the Mulcahy Fellowship continues that vision and helps bring our mission to action.

The AYF launched the Fellowship in 2019 with an inaugural class of five individuals who worked as seasonal summer staff at Merrowvista and Miniwanca.

Class of 2019
Hanine Alhaydar
Bria Earl
Ambrean Ford
Willky Joseph
Salvaryus Partan

What is the Mulcahy Fellowship?
The Fellowship is an initiative to intentionally honor, support, and uplift seasonal staff who identify as historically underrepresented members in AYF program communities (including but not limited to Black/African American, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latinx, Indigenous, multi-ethnic, or LGBTQAI+). The goal is to address the lack of diversity in seasonal and full-time roles within our programs and recognize that individuals with these identities provide more emotional labor than other camp staff.

The Mulcahy Fellowship is a growing community in its own right that leans on it fellow members as it grows each year. The AYF supports this community through retreats, coaching opportunities, professional development, and time to address areas for change within the AYF.

Mulcahy Fellowship Class of 2023
 Application Guidelines

What’s Involved

  • Active commitment from late January to mid-August 2023.
  • Work virtually with the Director of Community Life, Equity, and Inclusion from January 29 to May 31, 2023, completing tasks related to the AYFs’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts (no more than 8 hours per week).
  • Participate in the virtual 2023 Fellowship Kick Off January 29, 2023 and an in-person Spring Retreat at Miniwanca March 3 to April 2, 2023.
  • Work at Miniwanca or Merrowvista as a Community Life Coordinator from early June through mid-August 2023.
  • Facilitate at Dare to Adventure Camp at Miniwanca August 8 to 11, 2023.
  • Consider being publicly recognized as a Mulcahy Fellow. (Fellows are not required to be publicly listed and may decide to be anonymous outside of the Fellowship cohort.)

What’s Offered

  • $3,200 financial stipend for virtual work, plus $750 weekly pay for Community Life Coordinator role
    • Stipend payments are made biweekly beginning in early February.
  • Reimbursed travel costs associated with Spring Retreat. Housing and food are also provided.
  • Additional stipend for Fellowship Kick Off on January 29, 2023.
  • Year-round professional and educational coaching opportunities.
  • Lifetime membership in the Mulcahy Fellows community.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be selected on the basis of:

  • Must be a returning staff member or past participant in an AYF program.
  • Must be at least 20 years old at the time of applying for fellowship
  • Strong leadership potential, enthusiasm for building community, and motivation to make a positive difference in their own community and the wider world.
  • Passion and interest for work advancing DEI initiatives (prior work experience not required)
  • Identify as a member of a group underrepresented in AYF program staff/volunteer communities (including, but not limited to Black/African American, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latinx, Indigenous [Native American, Alaskan, Hawaiian], multiethnic, or LGBTQAI+)

2023 Mulcahy Fellowship Update FAQ

Why has the structure of the Fellowship changed?

The AYF is listening to the feedback from some Mulcahy Fellows and the concerns from some seasonal camp staff who hold historically marginalized identities. They have expressed that the current process does not allow Mulcahy Fellows to have an active voice in programming. After researching similar fellowships and meeting with DEI Directors at other camps, we have restructured the Mulcahy Fellowship for the 2023 cohort and on. Fellows will work with the full-time team during winter and spring on a flexible schedule, allowing them to be involved prior to the summer season.

What are the major changes?

Length of Fellowship: Fellows are interns working virtually from late January to June and then in-person at Miniwanca or Merrowvista from June through mid-August.

Stipend: Fellows are paid $3,200 to work virtually in winter and spring. They are also paid to work as Community Life Coordinators in the summer.

Number of Fellows: The 2023 Cohort will have up to three fellows, one for each summer camp program (Merrowvista and Miniwanca Boys Camp and Girls Camp).

Criteria: To be considered for the fellowship new applicants must be at least 20 years old, hold a historically marginalized identity, and have previously participated in any AYF summer program and/or been a past staff member.

What does this mean the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Fellowship cohorts?

Those in 2019 through 2022 cohorts are still Fellows and will always be as long as they choose. Moving forward, current cohorts will be referred to as “interns” entering the Fellowship. Past cohorts are considered current members of the Fellowship.

I am a Fellow from 2019 through 2022 who would like to return to summer camp staff in 2023. Will I receive the $2,000 stipend?

Unfortunately, the changes to the Fellowship mean only that year’s current interns will receive stipends. Fellows who are not interns are welcome and encouraged to join the Fellowship Kick Off on January 29 and the spring retreat in April. Stipends and travel reimbursement are available to those who attend.

If I am already a Fellow and am interested in being a 2023 intern, can I reapply for the 2023 cohort?

Yes, an existing Mulcahy Fellow may apply for the Community Life Coordinator role and the 2023 Mulcahy Fellowship cohort. No one is guaranteed a spot in the 2023 cohort and must interview with people who may not be Fellows yet.

What is Dare to Adventure?

Dare to Adventure is a camp program that will take place August 8 to 11, 2023 at Miniwanca. This camp serves middle school-aged youth from the Detroit and greater Wayne County, Michigan area who have never experienced summer camp. This goal of this camp is to build Miniwanca’s connections to the Detroit area as a Michigan camp and work toward providing equitable access to the outdoors.


Dare to Adventure is connected to the Mulcahy Fellowship because one of the camp’s goals is to expose youth to positive experiences in nature while being led by adults who share similar identities. During the 2022 Summer Retreat, we established the participants and foundation for this camp as a group.