Representatives of all 11 CISV Canada chapters met together in Toronto Ontario for the annual National Board Meeting. Both adult board and junior branch send at least 1 member each. This year Saskatoon had 3 junior branch members and 2 adult board members in attendance. Over 98 of the most enthusiastic CISVers being brought together in one place was electric!
I’m not sure that I can completely explain the full effect these meetings have on CISV in Canada and Saskatoon but I will try to give you my perspective as a chapter observer in the adult plenary.
Some of the major issues with CISV Canada right now is the hardships of hosting programs, especially villages, as it is a strain on local chapters both financially and for man power. In order for CISV Canada to receive the number of invitations they want they must host at least 2 villages and 2 step ups each year. That means every chapter must host 1 out of 3 years and every 1 in 5 years it should be a village program. The entire host points system was explained to us by the national programs coordinator Allison Hastings of CISV Victoria. We discussed what the issues are and some ideas for solutions. Some ideas include regional hosting by partnering with chapters in a near geographical location, sharing resources and helping with recruitment of staff.
Another hot topic for the weekend was diversity of members, especially when it comes to socio-economical. CISV currently caters to families at a certain income level. International programs are very expensive and even participating at the national and local levels can have cost as a barrier for some families. Fundraising, sponsorships and bursary funds were all discussed. The Junior Branch even had a “dime drive” during the weekend to start collecting money to subsidize juniors who want to participate in international and regional meetings in CISV.
Goal Setting and problem solving were the main focus but we also had some time to celebrate successes and have a little fun.
Some volunteer recognition awards were given out:
JBer for Life – is an award that is given to an adult cisv member who was once part of the junior branch. They continue to give unlimited support to the jb and offer wisdom and enthusiasm. This years JBer for life was awarded to Steve Urchison of CISV Calgary and our past National President.
Brock Foster Award – is given to a CISV volunteer who has given enormous amount of their time and energy to the success of their local chapter. Brock Foster was the founder of the first CISV Chapter in Canada (Waterloo) and served on the international board as well. This years award was given to Jill Nuckles of CISV Calgary. Jill is the program coordinator and responsible for recruiting, selecting and coordinating many delegations for international programs (including the one that came to our Step Up last summer!) as well as creating a bursary fund for those facing financial hardships. She is so very friendly and welcoming to everyone.
Another fantastic part of the weekend is the JB “Eh-Team” elections. Each junior branch year there is a new National Junior Rep, National Camp Coordinator, Internal/External communications, Chapter Development Committee Chair, peace bus rep and Risk Manager. There are so many fantastic junior branch members from all over the country taking part on the national team, we are very lucky to have them.
We also had some inspiration, there was a guest speaker named Jeff who attended the 3rd village in 1954, hosted by Sweden. Back then there was only 1 village each year and only 1 program (no step ups or interchanges etc.) Jeff was part of the Great Britain delegation and was selected by his teachers to participate. Children were selected from 4 different schools each with a different religion attached to it. He was the protestant representative. Delegates were given a psychological testing before and after the program and activities were monitored by psychology students. It’s hard for us to imagine but back then they were gathering data on if peace was possible by starting with children. Jeff explained how his best friend and room mate was from Germany, his mother was a little hesitant at first because it was so close after world war 2 had ended and the general feeling towards Germans was still very negative. He spoke of very vivid memories of his experience at the 3rd CISV village in Sweden including a trip by steam train, the village newspaper, a visit from a diplomat from Russia and his first kiss with a girl, Annalise.
One of the most exciting parts of the National Board Meeting is the Hockey Draft! This is when chapters receive their international program invitations. It is based on a sequence draw in rounds for each program. Each chapter usually dresses in their hockey teams jerseys but we decided to go green this year
For more information on CISV Saskatoon’s International Program invitations click here