To us die-hard CISVers, it is a mystery why CISV is not in every community, like Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and Rotary Clubs and that there are not opportunities for every child who wants to go. What a wonderful world it would be if there were! To the contrary, it is a fact that CISV program opportunities are finite. We host, extending program opportunities to other chapters around the world. Each fall, we receive program opportunities from other chapters. The delegates that can be sent are limited to a specific number. In most cases, the gender must be specific also. This number and mix is based on research.
The Selection Process involves submitting the application including references and attending Selection Day when he/she will be interviewed and observed by members of the Selection Committee. We have some very tough decisions in the Columbus chapter. We have an active Junior Branch (JB) in a thriving, involved community where children are motivated to excel and succeed. Our Selection Committee members have experience working with youth. They are not on the Columbus board or serve in a committee chair position or personally know the applicants and their families. The committee must carefully consider the best applicants and the mix of delegates to meet the specific program’s goals.
Program Goals and Selection Criteria The goals and selection criteria are slightly different for each program. All programs share the common goals of building global friendships and learning about the educational areas of diversity, conflict and resolution, human rights and sustainable development.
Village: The goal is to learn about each other’s lives and how to communicate, cooperate and live together. Our Selection Rubric considers a child’s confidence, independence, flexibility, open-mindedness, cooperation, respect, empathy, tolerance and enthusiasm. Additionally, the mix of personalities to form the delegation is a factor. It would not be good to put all extreme extroverts together, for example.
Interchange: The goal is to provide cultural experience for the young delegates while engaging the whole family. In this family-based program, selection is based on the Village criteria plus the family’s ability to fully participate in the planning and hosting phase, providing adequate supervision for their international charges.
Youth Meeting: The goal is to explore a theme relating to an educational goal and reflect on how they can apply what they have gained from their experience, such as knowledge of the theme along with planning and communication skills, within their own community. Criteria are similar to Village. Individual Youth Meeting participants travel alone to the program.
Step Up: The goal is to encourage the youth to take a leading role in planning and organizing activities. The participants use CISV’s peace education to provide a theme around which the activities are planned. The expectation is that this program experience will help them become active global citizens going forward. The Selection Rubric considers the same characteristics as for Village with the important addition of leadership skills. Step Up requires youth who demonstrate maturity and good judgment. As with the other programs, the delegation mix is also considered.
Junior Counselor: The goal of being a Junior Counselor is to enhance the Village experience for the participants and to grow his/her leadership through being an integral part of the Village leadership team. The applicant, who travels alone, must show leadership skills, ability to work with children, and demonstrate high maturity and good judgment. Being involved at the chapter level, having knowledge of CISV educational goals and genuine enthusiasm for CISV are also considered.
Seminar Camp: This personally challenging, intensive program is coordinated by the participants. They develop their own agenda and explore global issues based on their own backgrounds and interests, through activities and in-depth discussions. Seminar Camp’s group-living environment encourages them to collaborate, and to take a creative approach to problem-solving and resolving differences that can arise from healthy discussion. Selection is based on the applicant’s maturity, good judgment, ability to contribute to and collaborate with the seminar camp “community” and independent thinking. The applicant travels alone to this program.
Adult Leader: The leader’s responsibilities begin immediately with building rapport with the delegates and their parents. Organizational and communication skills are needed for scheduling delegation meetings and preparing the delegation for the program. The Selection Rubric considers the applicant’s confidence, independence, flexibility, open-mindedness, cooperation, respect, empathy, tolerance, enthusiasm, leadership, organization and communication.
Selection Myths JBers who fulfill a certain role in the JB are entitled to a Junior Counselor/Step Up/ Seminar spot. While it is true that involvement and leadership in the JB and increased knowledge of CISV are beneficial in selection, selection is never an entitlement. Additionally, programs are not selected with any particular youth in mind and are driven based on chapter demographics, gender fairness, and desirability of location and time period. Everyone has a fair shot.
You have to be extroverted/ have a super bubbly personality/be a top student, etc. to be selected. No!! Can you imagine 48 of the same type of person all together?! The key to a good delegation is balance. Diversity of all kinds makes the world go round. Same is true of a CISV program and delegation. There is a place for introspective book worms, logical techno kids, life-of-the party dancing fools and pie-in-the sky dreamers.
Your parent is on the board or volunteers for/contributes to the chapter in a significant way. The selection rate for board member’s youth is between 50 - 75%. This has much more to do with the families’ general increased involvement in CISV and, thus, the youth’s involvement in CISV than the fact that the parent is a board member or a super volunteer. It is an advantage to being tuned into chapter events.
Your older brother or sister was a delegate. A younger sibling is not automatically selected. As in the above case when a parent is involved in CISV, there is a greater likelihood that another child from the same family will be selected given the family’s knowledge of and experience in CISV. Each applicant must go through the same process (application, observation, and interview) and is selected on his/her own merits.
Improving the Odds So you really want to participate in a CISV program which, as previously mentioned, has finite opportunities. What can you do to increase your odds of attending?
Have a summer birthday! OK, this is the only one that you have no control over. The fact is that if you were born between June 1 – and August 31, you have twice the program age eligibility. So be patient and maybe next year will be your year. The same is true for multi-year eligibility for programs with two years of eligibility, such as Junior Counselor and Seminar Camp– if you are at the young end, try again the following year.
Be involved with CISV year round. We have meetings, activities, mini-camps. Not everyone can go to everything, but the more you participate, the more you will know about CISV.
Take the interview seriously. This is your chance to show the Selection Committee what you have to offer. Make a good impression.
Wait and see what Round Two brings. If you did not get selected, Round 2 starts in February for returned invitations and “chapter sharing” for when other chapters cannot fill their invitations. There may be another opportunity. Chapter sharing is arranged directly between the specific chapter program chairs - the parents and applicants DO NOT contact other chapters.
Get your CISV fix in short bursts! Local and regional mini-camps and National Mini-camp (Memorial Day weekend) are great ways to get the CISV experience in weekend doses. Many JBers never attend any international, multi-week program and get just as much out of CISV by attending other types of events! It’s all fun and all good. You will still meet lots of new friends from all over. Remember, CISV is not a travel organization!