At 16 or 17 years of age, Junior Counselors (JC) are able to relate to both children and the adults and to act as a link between them during a CISV Village.In the Village, the JCs are an important part of leaders’ group, performing specific duties and contributing to the planning and operation of the daily activities.
JCs participate in leaders’ meetings and lead activities, just like any delegation leader would participate. The JCs also have the ability to serve as the bridge between the delegates and the adults. All the children need to feel liked and loved by the JCs, who appear like older sisters and brothers. Being a JC can be one of CISV’s most rewarding experiences.
Many CISV leadership positions are gender specific because CISV aims to keep a balance of genders in each program. When our chapter receives invitations to various programs, the gender of the leadership position is predetermined.
Basic Information and Skills Required for a Junior Counselor
The CISV Village is a program lasting 28 days. Each Village consists of 9-12 delegations (2 boys and 2 girls – 11 years at time of arrival, and a leader at least 21 years), 4-6 JCs (16-17 years at time of arrival), and 3 -6 staff members.
All participants work, cooperate and enjoy the experience of spreading the CISV philosophy. It’s very important to understand how a Village works.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Junior Counselor
Before the Village:
- Participate in Leadership Training in your home nation / Chapter
- Write the Village Director to introduce yourself
- Complete and return all forms requested in your pre-camp communications
- Collect information about your country and culture, prepare a small booklet to give to each participant.
- Prepare travel documents (passport / VISA), necessary vaccinations, travel and health insurance, money
- Gather ideas for peace activities, cooperation games, songs etc. to use at the Village
During the Village:
- The JC should be prepared for almost anything as your task is many sided.
- As a JC, you are in a position of responsibility. Be a positive role model for the children. Be able to recognize the moments in which you can be funny from the moments you must be serious.
- Act in the role as a friend and advisor to all children at the Village.
- Help all the children and never show favoritism.
- Always be on time and participate in all activities.
- Share the responsibility for planning and running the Village activities
- Being a JC is a 24-hour job. Some people need more rest than others, be sure to get enough rest and sleep.
- Many eleven year-olds may be able to talk more easily with the JCs than with the adults. That is why JCs act as a special “bridge” and pass on useful information acquired about individual children to the adult staff.
- Respect others feelings and customs, especially those of the host country.
- Your input as a JC is important. Do not be afraid to share your ideas in planning and Leaders’ meetings.
- Use your imagination and creativity in finding ways to communicate without words with the children.
- GUIDELINES: Each participant must follow CISV and Host Country rules and laws regarding: Use of alcohol, drugs, smoking; Use of telephone and facilities; Arrival and departure schedule; Visitors; and Inappropriate activities.
- Always the children’s safety and happiness is your most important responsibility
After the Village:
- Evaluations: Complete and return evaluation form.
- Attend the debrief. Meet with other JCs and / or delegations from your Chapter.
- Follow-up: Send thank-you cards to Village Staff and host Chapter.
- Participate in your local Chapter and Junior Branch and assist with leadership training
- Correspond with fellow Villagers to help keep CISV “alive”
Selection of Junior Counselors
The qualities for suitable JCs are:
- A genuine love for children and enjoyment in working with them.
- Ability to work with and gain the respect of both adults and children.
- A liking for Village life and enjoyment of Village activities.
- Open, inquiring personalities and good communication skills.
- A desire to further personal knowledge and ability in Village leadership techniques
- Active involvement in Junior Branch and/or other related youth organizations