Our biggest NA ain't doing Youth Meetings.

| 14 Comments | No TrackBacks
When looking through the numbers today I realized that CISV USA (our strongest NA with a Balcony Index of 58) hasn't hosted a single Youth Meeting in the last 5 years. I doubt that they ever have. It should be added that youth meetings have always been a predominately European programme. Nevertheless IYM has achieved "programme status "in 2008 and thereby should be hosted by all NAs. Brazil (BI: 31) and Canada (BI: 27) another two large NAs haven't been hosting any Youth Meetings recently either.

I think they should.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.absolutpicknick.de/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/167


CISV Maine (which, although near Canada is still a part of the USA :-P) hosted an IYM in 2008 or 2009 (I can't remember which), and is planning on hosting several in the next 10 years. I believe I saw a few other chapters were planning on hosting during that time too.

Dallas is also hosting YM this year, and I believe there has been sporadic hosting in the past, although it is true it has been minimal.

São Paulo is hosting a IYM next july.

And there are 8 National Youth Meetings every year in Brazil.

Hello folks!

As CISV USA National President, I'd like to confirm the posts by Sarah and Martin above. We recognized this lacking in our chapters in the past years and are working to address it. As I'm sure many of you may imagine, adding a new program in an NA as large as ours has been a challenge. We've got lots of people to train in the planning and staffing of the programs.

One of our biggest challenges is cultural and geographical in nature. Because of our holiday calendar, we have trouble recruiting attendees. Most YMs hosted internationally are hosted around the Easter holiday, something that in the US is a religious holiday, so most public schools do not observe it as a full week, as is custom in many other countries around the world. For that reason, we have trouble finding a time in our calendars for YMs that can be 7-10 days and aren't at the Dec-Jan break time or during the June-August break time when our sites are competing with larger more revenue-producing camps.

While our YM hosted in Maine this past year was successful, it was small because many NAs couldn't participate because of the dates or because of the travel time from Europe, Asia, or the Central/South Americas. So... when we host our YMs, we hope you will all send delegations!!

Thanks for thinking of us. :-) If any of you have some suggestions or ideas, please contact our National Office and we can connect you to our fantastic YM Committee Chairperson.

I have a theory about this, which might be totally senseless, but it might be a good one to explain this.

Why would an NA be hosting an IYM when they could host a bigger camp and get points for hosting such a camp and won't get points from hosting an IYM? I know in the new points system this has changed, but in the past years, hosting an IYM yielded nothing points-wise. So while a village will get the NA 12 pts, an IYM will get nothing, and being able to host more than 1 village or summer camp or seminar in the same summer, why bother host an IYM?

On the other hand, for small NAs who haven't been hosting a lot lately, the IYM is the smallest and easiest of the camps to host, so they might go for hosting an IYM instead of a village or summer camp or seminar they do not have the budget for. And maybe the IYM is a good way to start in the hosting ladder, so that the year after a bigger program is hosted.

Does that make sense?

Just a question... does it matter if they don't host IYMs... or any other programmes for that matter?

@CISV USA: I only have reliable numbers here until 2008, so congrats that you are diving into the IYM business.

@Hani: I like your theory: It makes a ton of sense for big chapters to host "big programmes" instead of smallish ones.

@Laurs: Your question is absolutely valid. Why not have NAs that specialize in one programme or another. Take Israel or Columbia: When it's difficult to convince parents to send your 11y-olds into a "dangerous" country, Summer or Seminar Camps are a better alternative. Nevertheless I think such CISV heavyweights as the USA, Canada and Brazil should offer the whole variation of the CISV experience. Furthermore, if we drop the concept of "every NA should be hosting every programme", then we mights soon run into trouble, if hosting one particular programme becomes less attractive i.e. for financial reasons.


Why would they want to NOT to host an IYM?
Now that I think of it, the "point" system makes NAs have "capitalist" way of thinking when we start talking about hosting. It's no longer hosting for the sake of hosting, for the sake of advancing the organisation, but becomes for the sake of a capitalist point collection mentality?

Why should they host IYMs? It's because some people cannot afford to go for 3-4 weeks away to attend a CISV program and yet want to attend a program - and a 1-2 weeks program that is intense gives them the opportunity to get the CISV feeling and CISV experience.

@Nick I don't think that we still have the philosophy of 'every NA should host each programme' it's not in the c15/c16 any more. I think that NAs should host the programmes that they like, and that they like to send to (not in terms of hospitality rewards). If we lived in a perfect CISV world, NAs would be hosting the programmes that they believe their volunteers are most suited to (EG not hosting a seminar camp if your staff are more appropriate for village)

I also think that when you apply the 'each NA has to host all the programmes' theory it is a bit unfair for the single chapter NAs. For example in GB we have 5 chapters and the only reason we are hosting 6 of the programmes (no mosaic so far) is that we have 5 chapters. If you broke it all down we have one chapter who is only hosting villages, 4/5 don't do interchange etc. I think that at times, this should be looked at at a chapter level.

Even though it is easier for the larger NAs to host all the programmes, why should they have to? What if CISV Brazil wants to host an IYM? What if no one can go? Another idea behind IYMs is that they are supposed to regional, if the region gets onboard then great, but I think that sending a bunch of Europeans to Brazil for a week is missing the point. I still think that the way forward for IYM is to include national and regional YMs for larger NAs like Brazil and USA. Especially seen as they are doing it already. (I did a devils post about this ages ago)

@Hani - I think that flying to USA for a week is still going to be an expensive ticket wherever you're flying from. Australia have the extreme of this problem, the simply can't get involved in this programme.

I wonder if NAs hosted only the programmes they liked and believed were amazing whether we would see a dramatic change in hosting patterns, would any programmes disappear? Would we mind? Or could we write them off as darwin's 'natural selection'?

Excellent points, Laura. I was inclined to say, you're right (with everything). But instead, let
me counter a few arguments:

Even if I like the idea of Darwinian selection, I think this wouldn't necessarily lead to chapters hosting the programmes with the best quality. Instead, selection criteria would be "easy to host", "as little staff as possible", "cheap to host". So even if hosting all programmes is not part of the infofile any longer, I strongly believe that CISV is not an organization, where every local brach can pick their favourite blend. In that sense I see ourselves as a top-down organization that agrees on an educational concept, and we need all NAs to co-operate. We rely on NAs to host, otherwise others can't send.
I also tend to disagree that Youth Meetings aren't for everybody. It's exactly the point that Youth Meetings can be regional or even national which makes them "hostable" for all NAs. Even single chapter NAs can host all programmes - of course not all in one year, but over a course of 5 years maybe. Also for IPP it was long said, that it can be only hosted by the big NAs. Not true. Two of our smalles chapters here in Germany are hosting IPPs. In many respects (like: no kids to worry about) IPPs are easier than other CISV programmes. And I think it is important for a chapter to experience a programme also in the hosting position, not only as a sending chapter.

It all comes down to the question, what is a programme??? Why have we granted 7 different "concepts" this status? Others (some may remember JB-X or Camp Latino or Ethnic Camps) never made it there.

At this point I'm too lazy to dig into the Infofile, so I'll offer my personal interpretation instead: CISV considers our 7 programmes our core method to reach our goals. So, I disagree that you can opt out of one programme. Especially if you are a huge NA, you should try and bring the Youth Meeting experience to a new continent.

(oops, the comment got a bit long, sorry...)

My view is that every NA should host everything *where possible*. In practical life that will be a pragmatic approach. If you are living far away it will be hard to do short programmes like IYM. If you have a very parent driven chapter it can be hard to run programmes like IPP and Mosaic that require more in depth content planning up front. For a youth driven chapter it might be opposite with a 4-week 75-participant village requiring more administrative that what is interesting.

Or like my old chapter that decided to stop doing Seminar Camps as that gave nothing back to chapter... and the youth knew only how to demand, and not to say thank you, so then it was decided it was nicer to run a village or summer camp instead.

Maybe the rule of thumb is to host what you want to send... The new hospitality system should push towards it. And if you decide not to host something you'd better know at least why not.

I'm inclined to agree with Laura's point of view in this discussion. I was asked to attend a 19+ YM in Spain and was all for it until I started looking at airfares--$1500+ for a week. Given the timing of the meeting, I would only have been able to attend the camp with no extra travel around the area because of school. I love CISV as much as the next person, but I can't justify that.

From a hosting perspective and a large-NA perspective, it is interesting to see how national and regional (regions within the USA) weekend "camps" have developed over the past few years. We have chapters line-up to host the National Youth Meeting. During this past programming year, four out of five national regions hosted regional minicamps over weekends. These are great opportunities to experience CISV for 1/4 or even 1/8 of the cost (and, more importantly, 1/4 of the time) of a YM. Scheduled over long weekends, our JBers don't have to miss school (important!) and there isn't as much pressure to get things done in a Friday-Sunday environment.

So--while we might not host IYMs-we're doing a pretty darned good job hosting NYMs, RMCs and even an NAM (National Adult Meeting)!

I'm with Martin on this one. For people to come out to my home chapter Victoria for a week long youth meeting, (or even a slightly longer one) I think would be a tough sell. Why? It's far. And even though we could maybe get a western Canadian chapter to send a delegation, the closest out of country chapter for us is San Fransisco, which is still a bit of a trek. Even if they happened to pick up our invitation, as opposed to Jacksonville or New York, where would the next closest group come from? Central America.
Even for chapters from the east of Canada and the States it would often be cheaper to head off to a camp in Latin America or Europe. That makes my chapter's camp a longshot choice for most parents and chapters, even for NAs that are 'close' by and technically in our region.
For me it really comes down to geography and unfortunately for IYM, the ratio of money paid on airfare vs length of time at the programme is not kind if they aren't at least sort of central for some NAs.
Good programme? Yes. Realistic for all to host and attend? No. Especially for places like Canada, USA and Brazil that are so expensive, even for in country travel. Canada sends some delegates every year, but those positions are often difficult to fill, especially for younger kids who don't have the option of continuing their travels. Like the USA, Canada has other national programmes that fill the short camp experience void. Short programmes are important but one programme is not going to be a fit for all NAs.

I never thought this post would attract so many comments - I'm glad I hit a nerve.

@Kalenne: I still tend to disagree: First of all their are IYMs that are 2 weeks long. Also there are IYMs that are for 16+ that travel individually. Finally they are officially a "regional" programme, so why no pick a chapter with others nearby, and not the one that's most separate from the rest. There's so many options, especially for a large NA. Let's look at it from a different perspective: There may be kids, who for what reason ever, may never be able to attend a 3-4-week CISV camp in July. Maybe it's because they always spend the summer holidays as a family. Maybe it's because the parents wouldn't want to let their kids go for so long. Youth Meetings offer a short-term camp experience in a different season and may be the only way some people can experience a CISV camp feeling. With the new fee structure, Youth Meetings may even turn out cheaper than a village. Maybe the alternative of a Greyhound bus is an option, because not money but time is abundant. And finally, how about a Youth Meeting with participants from one chapter only. It's not officially promoted this way by CISV international, but imagine: No travel costs at all!

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick published on November 19, 2009 4:21 PM.

Introducing the "Balcony Index". was the previous entry in this blog.

2 years in CISV Sweden's headquarters. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.