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?
Yes, here you can find an interactive map and more detailed information about the organization's structure.

Local Events

Jr. Branch Events
Annual Events include:
Welcome Back Party Aug/Sept.

Peace Day Activity Sept.

Fall Mini-camp Nov.

Peace of Pie Night Dec.

Souper Bowl - Jan.

Movie Night

Mosaic/Community Service Mar.

Spring Mini-camp Apr/May
Family Events

Fall General Meeting Nov.

Candle Lighting Late Dec

Family Fundraising Party Feb or Apr.

Spring General Meeting May/June

Mosaic Activities
Adult Events

Wine Tasting Fundraisers Fall or Spring

Local Leader Training - for leaders, Jr. Branch Board, and interested Board Members early March

Leader CPR Training

Hosting Program Welcome Party (for those taking a major volunteer position for our hosting program).

Language

Which language is spoken in camps?
English. Depending on the camp, the children come from five to twelve nations. English is the "smallest common denominator".
My child can hardly speak English. How will this work?
In direct conversation the children quickly learn to express themselves non-verbally or in rudimentary English. Their counterpart is usually faced with the same problem. The leaders support whenever necessary. Before each activity, time for translating is scheduled. Even the 11-year-olds usually do without this "translation time" from the third week on and get along very well with English.
So CISV hosts English learning camps?
Oh no. We do not teach a language. At the same time, the children learn a great deal, simply because they use language, feel its value, live, play, communicate in this language. And precisely because not taught, because no mistakes are counted and no marks are given, they come back with a lot of new, valuable language experience.

Application / Program

When can I apply?
Our Fall application deadline is Nov. 15th. However, we generally have a few spots available after this date, and welcome your application.
For which program can my child apply?
Our Programs have strict age limits. The child must be of the required age (between 1 June and 31 August on at least one day). You may indicate dates that your child is not available, however we base our delegations on selection criteria and our selection committee determines where the delegate will travel.
How was that again with the age limits?
The child must be of the required age on at least one day between 1 June and 31 August. For the winter programs, the age 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 it is already 12 on 2 June; as well, if it has its 11th birthday on 31 August. The age restriction ensures that the children can "get along" well in the programs.
Cancellation of an event by CISV?
In this case, paid program fees will be refunded in full. We do not reimburse program fees if a delegate decides they no longer wish to participate in a program.
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 of CISV

Travel

Who books the flights?
The flight booking is made jointly for the whole delegation, it is handled by our reliable travel agency partner. We will collect the necessary data from you in good time and book as soon as the delegation is confirmed and the host chapter can not change the basic data of the camp (about 4 months before the start of the camp).
Do all of the children of the delegation travel together?
Yes, the delegation travels back and forth from the home chapter; the companion is always there.
How do the children get from the airport to the camp?
The Pre Camp 1 defines where the participants have to travel independently. Mostly this is an airport, but it may also be a short onward journey by train or bus required. You will find details about this at the latest in PreCamp2. If the camp starts with a host family (Village and Step Up), the children will be transferred to the host family by staff of the host chapter and taken to the camp site two days later.
Who pays the travel costs?
Travel expenses are fully borne by the parents. In addition there is a proportionate travel for the leader, who otherwise works as a volunteer. For delegations, our chapter uses an experienced travel agent. Individual delegates book their own travel based on the Pre Camp requirements.
Does the trip have to be done by plane?
No, that is not mandatory. For nearby destinations, which are easily accessible by train or bus, CISV likes to avoid more environmentally friendly means of transport - this will be discussed in the delegation.

Preparations

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. 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?
The flight must be booked for the whole delegation at the same time.
Forms, forms, forms?
During preparations you have to fill in some forms. The program 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.

What happens at a CISV program

What do the children do all day?
Embedded in a fixed daily routine games and personality-forming 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, 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 and trust.
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 allergies and dietary needs of the children are taken into consideration. This does not include individual dislikes.
What about religion?
CISV is religiously unbound. This means that if your child is religious, it is by no means prevented from exercising his religion. If possible, its needs are also supported. On the other hand no kid 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.

Leader

How many kids are accompanied by a leader?
The children travel in small groups of 4-6 children for Village, Step Up and Youth Meeting; and 6-12 children for Interchange (Interchange delegations of more than 7 children require a Jr. Leader) 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, many are educators or university 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?
We receive leader applications, and encourage future leaders to attend our local mini-camps. Selection Overnight is required. 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 are paid by the parents, food and lodging is provided by the CISV host chapter. Interchange activities are also financed by the parents. Leaders are not compensated. Leaders can get a reference for their experience.

Host Families

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. During the Interchange the child lives with the host family and meets with the rest of the group again and again to perform CISV activities with the group.
How many children live with a host family?
During an Interchange usually one kid, as there should be the same number of children in both groups. For the other programs, children stay with their host families in groups of two or more children.
Who can be a 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. Host families are background checked and a chapter member visits the host family home.
How much money does a host family receive?
Nothing. It is a purely voluntary activity - like all activities at CISV Austria.