Village is for eleven-year-old children who represent their country in an international camp setting for a once in a lifetime experience.
In the Village, there are ten to twelve delegations, each from a different country. The delegations consist of two boys and two girls and their Adult Leaders (chaperones). Their mission: to share their culture while learning about those of the other delegations present in the Village. In addition to the delegations of eleven-year olds and their leaders, each Village will have six Junior Counselors who act as liaisons between the youth and adults in the village, and four or five resident Host Staff members who help facilitate and administer the program.
What might I expect
Just as in many camps available to young people today, Village offers a mixture of camp activities such as arts, crafts, sports, singing, and dancing. The one thing that sets Village apart from camps offered by other organizations today is the opportunity to share a month with children from all over the world, and learn about their cultures, the likenesses and differences.
What can I expect to get out of participating
Children in a Village will become close friends with other children and, in the space of one month, they indeed learn that the similarities far outweigh the differences. It is not unusual to see children who have had the Village experience later as young adults make life decisions directly related to their experience in the Village, and many of the friendships made during Village last a lifetime.
What can my parents expect on my return home
Parents of Villagers should expect their children to return home with a much-improved understanding of world geography and culture.
They should also expect a flurry of letters, phone calls, e-mails, and a desire on the part of their children to host their new friends as well as travel to other countries to visit them. Children returning from a Village may be more independent and mature. CISV is an all-volunteer organization, so parents may be asked to give time in their own local Chapter to help children coming to a local Village have the same experience as their own had when they traveled. They may be asked to host or lead delegations, serve on selection committees, fund-raise, etc.
Quality of staff training
Host Staff members and Adult Leaders must complete an application process (including background checks) and an internationally mandated training course before serving in a Village. The training materials are constantly being revised and updated to provide the necessary tools and skills to serve in this unique camp situation.
Traveling the world
It’s important to note that, no matter what the location of the Village program, the actual experience will be the same. The Village participants spend the majority of their time at the Village site (which might be a school, college, or camp facility), just like they would at a domestic summer camp. However, the participants do have several very exciting opportunities to explore their camp’s host country.
When the children arrive at their Village destination, they spend the first weekend with a CISV host family while the delegation leader moves into the Village site for orientation. The host families are CISV volunteers just like the ones you’d meet here in the New York chapter, and their children have participated in CISV activities too. The host families give the delegates a taste of home life in that country, and also take them to see some of the sights in their community. After the second week, the children have a second host family weekend, except this time they will spend the weekend with another child from the Village who’s not from their own country.
The Village staff also arranges a few sightseeing excursions into the local community as well as a shopping day where the kids can purchase souvenirs to take home to their families, if they wish.