Sunday, May 8, 2011

CISV Introduction

I am involved in a tremendous organization called CISV, and through that organization I will be traveling to Italy this summer on an exchange program. CISV used to stand for Children's International Summer Villages, but now it has grown to encompass other, non-village programs, and so merely stands for CISV with no acronym (the same is true for the SAT, by the way. It used to stand for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but some educational experts challenged that SAT scores were an accurate reflection of scholastic aptitude, so in 1993 the name was changed to the SAT I: Reasoning Test. But then many experts argued that SAT scores weren't an accurate reflection of reasoning ability either, and so in 2004 the name was changed to merely the SAT Test to silence the complainers. But I digress...)

If you already know what CISV is, you may skip down to paragraph 4, as this paragraph and the next paragraph will be used to describe how aweome CISV is! Created by a British psychologist named Doris Allen in 1950, CISV aims to "educate and inspire action to achieve a more just and peaceful world" through a variety of youth travel programs that spread intercultural understanding, tolerance, and an appreciation for world affairs from an early age. It is a wonderful group with a worthwhile cause that's fun and educational to kids, and I have nothing but glowing things to say about everyone I've met through my involvement with the program.

The way my program works is that I will be co-leading a delegation of 11 American tweenagers (6 girls, 5 boys) to Florence for 2 weeks. Each kid will have a partner in Florence who they stay with for that time, as will I and my co-leader (my partner's name is Fabrizio--can you think of a more Italian sounding name?!?!?!?). We will live with our host families and do activities as a group, and the kids will become great friends. Then we'll bring them back here and they'll stay with us for two weeks in the states, before the program's culmination. I participated in the same interchange program when I was 12 to Leeds, England, and my younger siblings have done it to Germany, France, and Portugal. We've all loved it, and we've met tons of great friends: my sister's partner, Maninha, is actually coming back to visit Emily from Lisbon this summer. The only difference was on those trips, I was one of the child participants; now, I am an adult leader.

Anyway, the purpose of this entry is threefold. One, to introduce my readers to a great program if they haven't been exposed to it already, and to encourage them to try it out. Two, to set the context for some of the posts-to-come this summer, which will undoubtedly have Underage Thoughts about the interchange during that month, so that my readers aren't confused. And three, to discuss the training for my leadership role that I recieved this weekend, and some interesting thoughts I had over the weekend regarding that training. The first two objectives have been met, but in the interest of post brevity I will tackle the third objective in the subsequent post

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