Village is a four-week international camp unique to CISV. Delegations of two boys and two girls (age 11) with a leader (minimum age 21) from 10 to 12 nations plus six Junior Counsellors – JCs – (age 16-17) from five nations and the host staff participate in a multi-cultural camp featuring experiential education activities and emphasising global friendship, cross/cultural communication and cooperative living. Village participants come to understand how they are alike and to celebrate their differences.


  • Eleven-year-olds readily accept new experiences. They can enjoy living with many nationalities and many languages
  • Eleven-year-olds are active, in contrast to the intellectual, philosophical adolescent
  • Eleven-year-olds easily communicate with other children. In the absence of a common language, they spontaneously use sign language, drawing and drama. At their age they do not fear making mistakes and quickly try out any newly learned words or phrases
  • Eleven-year-olds are adaptable. They are relatively free from inner barriers and prejudice
  • Eleven-year-olds are old enough to carry the stamp of their respective cultures. They represent enough differences to give a real international character to the Village. They easily work with authority. They have not yet reached the characteristic rebellion of adolescence
  • Eleven-year-olds are old enough to be away from home for as long as four weeks without being homesick


Village as the Basis of CISV by Doris Twitchell Allen, Founder of CISV

During and after World War I, groups of citizens challenged the traditional concept of war as an honourable way to assert national rights. Examples are Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, founded in 1915, and Fellowship of Reconciliation, founded in 1915. In 1945, as a protest against the suffering and waste of World War II, 50 nations established the United Nations based on the concept of a “world community”. In August 1946, another concept was added, namely, that education for such a community should start with the children, to grow up aware of “belonging” to humans around the world.

For such education an organisation was formed, Children’s International Summer Villages, Inc. (CISV). It was organized to give life to the idea that education for peace should start with children. Its method of education is “learning through doing”; it is an action process. Children from different countries live together in a camp-like Village for four weeks, and each Village is a veritable miniature world.

Especially significant is the limitation of the size of the Village to forty-eight children to permit establishing close friendships. Equally important is the opportunity to practise solving problems of daily living in the children’s parliamentary sessions. In the face of 7 to 10 different languages, instead of aimlessly arguing or fighting, these children learn to discuss situations. Such remarks as the following from an 11 year old Norwegian boy may be heard: “I say that before we talk of punishment, we should be sure that everyone knows what the rules are.”

Language is handled in a natural way by 11-year-olds. They spontaneously fall into sign language, demonstrations and drawings. One of the most interesting research findings has been that communication seems to have struck a deeper level in situations where there has not been a common language. Warm human feelings seem to take over in face of a language area deficiency. One thing is certain. Experience at a CISV activity stimulates a desire for further language learning, after the Village.

The Village process for 11-year-olds has evolved and developed over the years since it emerged in 1951. It gave CISV its name, and set the basic standards for the work of the organisation.


In CISV, people in a position of responsibility are the guardians of other people’s children. We have a responsibility to participants, their parents, the law and to ourselves, to be very careful in choosing the people who take on programme responsibility and assume a guardianship role. We must also be conscious of, and careful about, anyone who comes into contact with participants.

With the exception of international Seminar Camp staff (who are selected by the Regional Delivery Teams for Educational Programmes), this responsibility lies entirely with the NA/Chapter. Each NA/Chapter must appoint a representative or committee responsible for selecting and screening all of the people who will be in contact with participants.

CISV has established some guidelines and some specific procedures to make our selection process as fair and as safe as we reasonably can. They set out, in general terms, who may be considered an appropriate candidate and what kinds of factors should/can be considered when reviewing applications.

In addition to these selection guidelines, CISV International has also established specific procedures appropriate to the different responsibilities which help us to keep a record of the decisions made and candidates selected. These procedures are set out below for each type of programme responsibility and must be applied consistently throughout the organization. Unless otherwise indicated, they apply to all CISV’s international programmes and it is recommended that similar procedures be adopted by NAs for national and local programmes and activities.

Though it is not forbidden to select a leader who is the parent, relative or teacher of a delegate, it is discouraged as pre-existing relationships can create challenging group dynamics within delegations, such as perceptions of favouritism. When no other option is possible, the sending Chapter should always discuss the matter thoroughly with the leader first.


The general responsibilities of these positions are set out in the Role Profiles section of the Programme Guide. Any applicant selected must have appropriate skills and background.


Interchange leaders and junior leaders must be of the sex stated on the Friendly Intent Form. For other programmes, NAs are asked to make best efforts to find leaders who are of the sex recommended on the programme invitation (if such a recommendation is made).


The following rules must be observed and can be found in InfoFile C-03 Programme Basic Rules. Leaders must be the proper age on the day they leave for the programme, or, in the case of the host delegation leader, on the first day of hosting.


  • All adult leaders must be at least 21 years old
  • All Interchange junior leaders must be at least 18 years old, and a minimum of four years older than the oldest participant age allowed for the assigned Interchange age group


Anyone applying for a position of programme responsibility (including staff, leaders, JCs, junior staff/leaders) must arrange for two references to be submitted on their behalf. The NA should refer the applicant to the Reference Form. The applicant should fill in the ’Section 1 Applicant Information‘ and send it to their two referees, along with the name and address of the CISV member, who is responsible for staff selection. The referees should send the completed reference forms directly to that person. The form can be filled in electronically, but must be printed out and signed.

Even if the person has served as staff member or leader before, they must provide references each year that they apply for a staff/leader position. Previous references can be used if the referee confirms that the information is still valid. There is a space at the end of the Reference Form for a referee to sign to confirm that they have given a previous reference, which is unchanged.


Police checks are required for all staff/leaders (aged 18+) at all CISV International programme and activities.

What is meant by Police Check?

The terms used and the procedures will vary from country to country. For example, in some countries, with the individual’s consent, the organization can obtain the information directly from the police. In other countries, the individual has to make the request personally. In some countries the police or other authorities may only give information about situations where the individual has been convicted (found guilty) of an offence. In other countries, they might also give information about arrests or where an investigation is underway.

CISV has to work with the best information we can obtain according to national laws and procedures. What is essential to find out is whether an applicant has a criminal record of convictions or arrests, which would make them unsuitable to take on a role of trust with children and youth in a CISV programme.

More details at