CISV in general
Is CISV religious?
No. We openly accept every religion, we allow every belief. For us, religious freedom is just as important as freedom from beliefs.
Is CISV political?
No. We are not encouraged or supported by any political direction. We are open to any political attitude. Different points of view enrich the cultural diversity. Tolerance against other people's ideas promotes living together.
Is there an overview about CISV somewhere?
You can find an overview of the organisation on the CISV Structure Page
Which language is spoken on camps?
English. Depending on the camp, the children come from five to twelve nations. It's a requirement for all leaders and staff on camps to be fluent in English. This is not a requirement for children, as learning to collaborate and live together across language barriers is part of the learnings gained in camps; the children live and play together through non-verbal communication, their leader's translating for them and whatever English they might know.
So CISV hosts English learning camps?
Oh no. We do not teach English or any language on camps in any formal setting. Though, the children learn a great deal simply because they use the language, feel its value, live, play, and communicate in it. All the children usually end up learning words and phrases from all of the language of all the nations on the camp.
When can I apply?
You can apply at any time. If the destinations are not yet known, you can submit a general application. We take your wishes into account and keep you up to date.
Which programme can my child apply for?
Our Programmes have strict age limits. Your child must be of the required age (between 1 June and 31 August on at least one day). When applying, you are also asked to indicate a priority ranking, as we assign the places according to your wishes, but also according to various other criteria.
What are the age limits?
Paricipants must be of the required age on at least one day between 1 June and 31 August. For winter programs (mostly Youth Meetings), the limits are from 1 November to 31 January, for Easter programs from 1 March to 31 May. An example: If the age limit is 11 years, the child is allowed to join even if they are already 12 on 2 June; as well, if they have had their 11th birthday on 31 August. The age restriction ensures that children can "get along" well on the programmes.
What happens if an event is cancelled by CISV?
In this case, paid programme fees will be refunded in full.
What is covered by the CISV insurance?
- Costs due to illness or accidents
- Travel expenses incurred by cancellation or program cancellation by CISV or by accident or illness of the participant or the leader (up to 1000 GBP)
- Loss of travel baggage
- Cost of travel delay
- Crisis management in an emergency (political, natural catastrophe)
- Liability insurance for damage caused outside CISV
When and how do the children of a delegation get to know each other?
The delegation will meet several times, usually at a family's home or in a restaurant. The children get to know each other and get in touch with their companions. The adults also get to know the leader and discuss organizational matters.
What does "PreCamp1" mean?
The "PreCamp1" is the first camp information from the hosting nation. It is available for summer programs at the beginning of March the latest. Within the "PreCamp1" the following information is given:
- Which chapter of the partner country will host the camp?
- When shall the participants arrive?
- When should they depart?
- Which airport?
- What other countries were invited?
Forms, forms, forms?
During preparations you have to fill in some forms. The programme chair or the leader will help you. You confirm that the leader is responsible for your child, and you provide information on the health of your child (medication, allergies, ...), so that in case of an emergency (which will hopefully not occur) the staff and the leaders can react immediately and adequately.
Participants under 16 will travel in their delegations with a trained adult leader who will be over 21 years of age. Participants over 16 are permitted to travel on their own, but will often be met by a host chapter member at the airport.
Method of Travel
The method of travel usually depends on the location of the camp, the most common methods are by plane or by train.
How many kids are accompanied by a leader?
The children travel in small groups (4-6 children) and each group is accompanied by an adult, trained "leader" over the entire duration of the camp. Exception: host family stays.
Who is the leader?
We are looking for the best possible leaders, many of them experienced CISV people, some are pedagogical students or in training to a social profession, and all are trained in preparatory courses for the CISV program. It is important to us that the leaders can deal with in difficult emotional situations, look after the children reliably and affectionately, help them to interact with the other children and offer the children an optimal camp experience.
How do you become a leader?
An application is possible at any time. We are looking forward to dedicated adults who are 21 years of age or older at the time of travel.
What is a leader's income?
Nothing. The travel costs travel are paid by the parents, food and lodging is taken over by CISV, Interchange activities are also financed by the parents. We do not offer any payment. Leaders can get a certificate for their experience.
What do the children do all day?
Embedded in a fixed daily routine games and educational activities take place. Activity phases are usually initiated by so-called "energizers", which are short, fun games that are fun and stimulate the children to work together. There is also plenty of time for sports and leisure. Recovery phases are provided and consideration is self-evident. The activities always follow a certain pattern: First, the children get to know each other. Only when the leaders and the staff can establish that the participants are no longer feeling foreign, there are activities, where also closer contact can take place. Of course, the specific needs of the children are taken into account. Gradually, the participants feel confident about each other, and more and more activities lead to tolerance, understanding and finally to friendship.
Is the age of the children considered?
Of course. Camps for older young people have more opportunities to participate democratically. Camps for the younger ones, on the other hand, are designed by the leaders and the staff.
What's for dinner?
Regional food. Special needs of the children (vegetarian, allergies, no pork, ...) are taken into consideration.
What about religion?
CISV is religiously unbound. This means that if your child is religious, they are by no means prevented from exercising their religion. If possible, their needs are also supported. on the other hand no child will be encouraged or even forced into any unwanted religious activities.
Can I call my child on the mobile phone?
No. No direct contact is possible during the camp. This makes the children much easier to become comfortable in the new environment. They are, however, always happy about mail from home; Sporadic e-mail traffic is also possible via the leader. Please understand that no answer from your child is most probably a sign that they feel very comfortable.
The staff is also available for emergencies.
And if something happens?
Our leaders are prepared for unforeseen things as much as possible. Each program has at least one staff member trained in first aid. In addition, there are experienced risk managers who handle crisis situations in each chapter and country. Our greatest interest is in the welfare of all participants.
For which camps are there family stays?
In a Village, the children spend their first and third weekend with a host family. A Step Up also starts with a host family weekend.
How many children live with a host family?
Children stay with their host families in groups of two or more children, the first weekend with someone from their delegation, in the middle weekend with someone they've made friends with on the camp.
Who can be host family?
Usually these are CISV-affiliated families, sometimes also individuals. Most of them have children who take part in CISV activities, some of them have been CISV children fifty years ago. But people interested in CISV and cultural exchange are also willing to share their home for with children from other countries for a weekend.
What are the requirements to be a host family?
Room for the guest children, but not necessarily single rooms. Mattresses are sufficient. Time to sleep, understanding for possible jetlag, a warm welcome and sufficient food should be self-evident. The children should get to know local customs, and experience the host country a bit more "close up". Very often the host families get to know each other before and meet for common leisure activities (swimming, museum, ...). The host families are informed in advance about CISV practices and rules.
How much money does a host family receive?
Nothing. It is a purely voluntary activity - like all activities at CISV Great Britain!