Period: from October 2015 for 12 months
Number of volunteers: 1, volunteer needed (preferably boys for gender balance)
Name of the organisation: Solidarités Jeunesse / Villages des jeunes (Vaunières)
Place: Provence –Alpes Côte d’Azur region, France
1) Aims of the association :
Villages des Jeunes, regional delegation of Solidarités Jeunesses in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region :
The Villages des Jeunes act for the social integration and the participation of all volunteers as a part of its action, in particular helping the socially disadvantaged, locally, nationally and internationally. Its objective is to allow people from different social and cultural situations to
work together at something useful. To enable this, the association runs two international hosting centres, the Faï farm and the hamlet of Vaunières. From these places, the association leads various types of activities (workcamps for disadvantaged people and volunteers, hosting events promoting social and international exchange…) which bring together people of different nationalities and cultures (volunteers, families, holiday makers) through several activities (decorating the buildings, environmental work, hospitality work, cultural activities, raising awareness about key issues such as environment which operate within different areas both social and professional (such as ) vocational training, restoring abandoned buildings, preserving the buildings and the environment and thus the heritage of these places, supporting local projects and stimulating local social activities).
The permanent staff is composed of:
1 regional delegate
1 technical coordinator
1 social worker (carrier’s advisor)
2 technical leaders
Since our activities are more intense between April and October, we recruit more staff in this period: facilitator, technical leaders, cooks
3) Target group of the association:
People (adults and teenagers) victims of exclusions, marginalized or living in precarious situations and international volunteers.
MOTIVATION AND EVS EXPERIENCE
Our association « Villages des jeunes » got involved in the EVS program right after its creation. Since then, we are welcoming every year 2 to 3 long term volunteers and 4 to 5 short term volunteers (youngsters with less opportunities) in Vaunières, our welcoming centre. Vaunières is an old hamlet, located in the mountains, transformed in a welcoming centre and international meetings. The association has two objectives: bring back to life an abandoned place in the rural areas and allow people from various socio cultural origin and ages to gather around a collective interest project. The opening to the world, social and generational opening up, and the youngsters’ volunteer participation constitute the founding elements of our project.
Through different actions developed in this place, various publics meet, exchange, learn to live and work together: youngsters suffer from social exclusive, unpaid workers, international volunteers, employees in professional insertion, families, hikers, etc… For the young European volunteers, the Vaunières welcoming centre thus constitute:
– a tool of personal discovering: collective life, rural area, mountain area, associative life, cultures of the world, unknown social realities.
– support of learning process: team working, taking responsibilities, sociocultural workshops, welcoming and handwork jobs.
For the association, the active participation of the young European volunteers constitute a main asset of our project. The presence of “foreigners international unpaid workers” brings interrogations with our “target public”, for most of them far away from the European
programs. This allows us to grasp notions such as volunteering, citizen action, cultural diversity, tolerance,…Finally, the involvement of the European volunteers greatly contributes to the effort of cultural opening up and social diversity wished by the association.
The vocation of Vaunières’ welcoming center is to be a place of meeting ang exchanges, social integration and personal learning process for everyone. In this objective, the association welcomes youngster with less opportunities (dealing with social or professional difficulties) and others from more comfy environment as well. In general, the employees of the association have either a professional experience in the social domain or a strong personal motivation to fight against exclusions.
a) The volunteers with less opportunities get from the experience and the organisation from our insertion actions, specifically the insertion work camp through economic activity and the welcoming of young from medical or social structures :
– Specific formation of the full-time employees : participation to seminars and formations on different subjects such as inclusion, inter culturality, participation of the team to the commission “Solidarities and fight against exclusions” organised by Solidarités Jeunesses.
– Involvement of tutor dedicated to the volunteer individual support. The tutor is chosen among the full-time employees team. This is a person who has a proven field experience in the social insertion and in the support of person in difficulties.
b) The individualised support takes place in the following manner :
– Volunteer welcoming : presentation of the project, the tutor, discussion on the expectations of the young, his apprehensions, his personal project.
– Implementation of a settled support: weekly assessment of the project with the volunteer on the following points
1. Integration in the team/group
2. Acquisition of knowledge (cultural, technical, linguistic)
3. Initiatives, responsibilities heading
4. Special difficulties
5. Help for the realisation of the youngster personal project
– Involvement of the volunteer in the collective assessment meetings organised during the project
Created in 1964, the association “Les Villages des Jeunes », became regional delegation of Solidarités Jeunesses in Provence-Alps Cote d’Azur in 1996. It is an association for popular education, registered by the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The association organises short and long-term international programmes, inclusion and social actions, trainings, international solidarity actions, and
manages two hosting structures in a rural environment, including Vaunieres. Vaunières reception centre: As many other small villages located in mountainous and isolated areas, Vaunieres was abandoned at the beginning of the 60s due to the profound changes of the local rural economy which caused the collapse of the agricultural and pastoral activities. When the association settled in Vaunières in 1964, there was only one inhabitant left and the majority of the houses were either in ruins or in a very bad condition. Thanks to a renovation project and international youth workcamps, the hamlet has become a national and international meeting centre. The almost entirety of the renovation work has been done with the participation of young people with social disabilities, international volunteers, families… Today, there are no more “villagers” in Vaunières, only the permanent staffs of the association lives there all year through.
a) Geographical environment:
Vaunières is situated 7 km from the village of Saint Julien en Beauchêne, in the north of the Provence –Alpes Côte d’Azur region, at an altitude of 1200 , at the bottom of a valley in the Alps. Located in the heart of a magnificent circle of mountains, the place benefits from a very well preserved environment composed of forests and green fields. Sited at the crossroad of many footpaths which connect other villages around, Vaunières also offers many possibilities for beautiful hikes in the mountains. St Julien en Beauchene, the closest village to Vaunières, has a population of about 100 inhabitants. It is set in a very rural area with a declining economy. The people live on agricultural and pastoral activities and are eager to develop tourism.
The closest cities are: Gap (40 km), Grenoble (90 km) and Sisteron (70 km). Marseille is at 200 km away, travelling south.
b) Description of Vaunieres reception centre
The centre comprises 6 buildings and 80 ha which allow it to accommodate up to 150 people during the summer.
Hôtellerie house: 34 beds in rooms of 4 to 5 people, collective kitchen and dining room shared with international volunteers and the permanent staff, showers and toilets on each floor. Auberge house: 19 beds in rooms of 4 to 5 people, independent kitchen
and dining room, showers and toilets on each floor. Trois Roues house: one dormitory of 6 beds and one bedroom, independent kitchen and dining room, showers and toilets adapted for wheel chairs. On the place, you will also find rooms for activities and parties, a “tavern”, some animals, an open air theatre, a traditional oven to bake bread and pizzas, a wood and masonry workshop…
c) Actions held at Vaunières
– Reception of groups and individuals: The reception activity is one of the most important ones, especially in the summer. Many groups, schools, families and hikers stay at the centre, either to take part in renovation and construction activities or simply to take a holiday. Some other people also come for specific projects such as seminars, training courses and intercultural exchanges. The centre is open during the year; however, the activities of the centre are concentrated to the high season (May to October) and the school holidays.
– Inclusion through economical activity: Every year, this action targets ten to twelve local people confronted with social and professional difficulties. The people who take part in this action are salaried on a part time basis, they come to work 3 days a week. They contribute to the renovation work of the centre and help us with the reception of groups.
– International workcamps: At the centre and in the villages nearby, the association organises international youth workcamps in the period between April and October. Every year, these workcamps involve numerous volunteers coming from all over the world.
– Preservation of the environment and renovation work: painting, plumbery, electricity, construction work, landscaping, wood work.
– Cultural activities: concerts and music festivals organised in cooperation with local associations. Intercultural meals, thematic days.
– Discovery of the natural environment: hikes, fauna and flora, geology.
e) Collective life
Collective life is a key issue in the project. It is a support for meetings and exchanges between everyone. For this reason, everybody is supposed to act responsibly and to take part actively in everyday tasks (permanent staff, salaried people, volunteers, holiday makers, groups). Meals,
household, washing up and all the efforts to keep the area clean and tidy are carried out in turns and by small groups. The meals are taken all together between all the residents of the centre.
The European volunteers are accommodated at l’Hôtellerie, which is the main house of the centre. In the house, there is a “private area” reserved for the staff and the long term volunteers. The volunteers are accommodated in rooms of 2 to 3 people and have their own lavatories
Proposed activities for EVS volunteers
1) Possibilities offered to the volunteers in terms of training and services:
Concerning their personal development, the volunteers discover the life in a rural environment, they are faced with new social realities (people suffering different kinds of exclusion, in unstable situations, or handicapped), they can discover new cultures (through the meetings with other international volunteers), the life in an association (participation in institutional meetings), the life in a movement (participation in the gatherings and trainings organised by Solidarités Jeunesses) On the point of view of the acquisition of new technical skills, the volunteers can improve their knowledge of French and English language, discover manual work (renovation, painting, notions of electricity, landscaping, preservation of the environment), the management of a reception centre (welcoming the public, cooking), social and cultural activities (intercultural evenings, organisation of cultural events and concerts). These possibilities are offered to all the volunteers. The “level” of implication and the responsibilities endorsed by the volunteers will mainly depend on the duration of his/ her project and his/her personal motivation.
Services: Internet access, telephone point, transport to Veynes, Aspres sur Buech, Lus la Croix, railway station and supermarket.
2) Volunteer’s role:
The volunteers are part of the permanent team who runs the project throughout the year. They are involved in all the actions carried out by the association. They help with the management of the centre, orientate and inform the newcomers, lead some activities and facilitate interactions and cultural exchanges between the very different people who come at Vaunières. The volunteers can be responsible for specific activities:
– Promote the preservation of the environment so that the residents act responsibly: saving water (the centre is totally provided with natural
springs of water), saving energy, recycling
– Take care of the garden, the animals
– Organise debates amongst the volunteers, projections, intercultural presentations, international meals with the local community etc.
Activités proposées aux volontaires S.V.E.
– Promote international voluntary service and international workcamps to young people
– Organise activities such as sports, dance and music
– Organise outings to discover the rural environment: visits to local producers and local events (village celebrations, festivals, concerts)
– Help with the internal and external communication of the association: update the internet site (photographs, volunteer’s blog)
– Help with the administrative management : translation, statistics, illustration of reports
– French courses are given from the rural social centre of Aspres sur Buëch.
– Sports activities and visits in collaboration with local organisations and tourism offices
– Cultural outings (cinema, concerts, festivals)
Volunteer profiles and recruitment process
Solidarités Jeunesses does not ask for any particular competencies from the volunteers who wish to apply for the medium and long term we offer, and so we have never established a volunteer profile. At the same time we make every effort to provide our partners and future volunteers with as much detail as possible about the projects so that they have everything they need to make an informed decision. Moreover, according to the recommendations of the Youth in Action program, the European Voluntary Service must be open to all youth, without distinction of competencies, social background or sex. In sound accordance with the spirit of the program, Solidarités Jeunesses considers it
necessary to make volunteer projects accessable to everyone who is motivated and interested in participating. We expect the volunteer to have a good understanding of the global project and that he or she will have a desire to be a part of the group and contribute to the collective life. We look at volunteer service as an exchange between a volunteer who offers their time, talents and energy to benefit a project of collective interest and the hosting community which offers the volunteer a place where they can learn, experiment, and grow personally. Considering these principles, the most important element for the association is the motivation and commitment level of the volunteer. The volunteer also needs to keep in mind that the project is situated in a rural area, and that they will be somewhat isolated.
The idea of partnership is one of the fundamental values of Solidarités Jeunesses. Our voluntary activities are founded on the principle of exchange and are made possible by the grace of solid and dependable partners. A good understanding of the partners allows for the establishment of a working relationship that is based on reciprocity and trust. However, that does not inhibit us from establishing new partner relationships with associations that have the same values as Solidarités Jeunesses and who also desire to create
projects of significance for the youth. In effect, thanks to a sprawling network of partners and an uninterrupted participation in international activities – as part of the Youth in Action program, among others – we also have the possibility of coming in contact with new associations and collaborating with them. Our open projects are not only broadcast within our network, but also in those of dozens of other partner associations, as well as in virtual networks such as Youth NetWorks. As a general rule we have regular contact with the partner associations who respond to our calls concerning open places in our volunteer projects. These partners are the first to broadcast our projects to youth interested in participating in the European Voluntary Service. The rôle of the partner associations is essential as it assures not only the broadcasting of information but also the contact with future volunteers for the purpose of clarifying to them the value of these projects, the responsibilities of the volunteers and the hosting association, and the practicalities of the specific projects. After the first contact, the volunteers send their application to Solidarités Jeunesses and we take it, along with their letter of motivation, to the hosting organization, acting as an intermediary. These elements are used at the end of the project as educational tools and help to evaluate the project and the experience of the volunteers. Solidarités Jeunesses works to insure a good mix of cultures, genders and nationalities in each project in order to create conditions which enable a rich and fertile intercultural dialogue.
Risk prevention, protection and safety
1) Moral safety:
– Meetings are organised at the beginning of each week. These meetings bring together the permanent staff and the volunteers. These meetings are a good way to prevent risks since they make it possible for everyone to express difficulties, when there are some.
– Permanent employees and volunteers live in the same place and share the same project. Collective life, as well as the daily presence of the permanent staff allow a greater reactivity for the persons in charge of the project when a problem arise with the volunteers: homesickness, difficulties of communication etc.
– Regular contacts are instituted between the hosting association (Villages des Jeunes), the coordinating association (Solidarites Jeunesses national secretariat) and the sending association. This organisation makes it possible to find the most appropriate solution in case of a difficulty.
2) The hosting of volunteers aged 16 to 17 :
It is possible within the framework of activities specifically planned for teenagers and that have been declared to the appropriate authority (Local representation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports)
3) Physical safety:
As a reception centre, Vaunières has a specific agreement delivered by the Prefecture (classification ERP). This agreement gives authorization to host groups, individuals, schools, adults and minors. The standards of safety and hygiene of the centre are regularly inspected and controlled.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month)
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”. We ask all candidates to send a specific letter of motivation – why they want to volunteer with us rather than just a general EVS one.
-the complited application form
Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.
All documents written in english you can send to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Vaunières Francia”.