When I was Eleven

“When I was Eleven, I went to see I AM ELEVEN at Broadway Theatre!” The theatre was packed tonight with eleven year olds and eleven year olds at heart for the first ever Saskatoon screening of the documentary “I am Eleven”.

The documentary touches the heart strings of many CISVers as age 11 is the first and founding program of CISV called village. When the MC asked the crowd “What is a CISV Village?” A confident 11 year old voice from the back of the audience declared, “it’s a place where eleven year olds from twelve different countries come together to become friends”. The voice was from Addison who is waiting patiently for her chance to attend a CISV village in El Salvador this July.

The documentary made it clear to me that age eleven is something truly special. An interview with a child age eleven asked “what do you have in common with eleven year olds around the world” his answer, “everything, we are all basically all the same”. Asking the same child two years later the same question was quite different. “The only thing all kids my age have in common is using Facebook way too much”. Eleven year olds seem to feel a connection to each other, they have an open mind and are optimistic. The world is a large place full of possibilities. The things they experience at age eleven seem to influence their thoughts and opinions on things for the rest of their lives. The value of giving 11 year olds the experience of cross cultural friendship and intercultural living? well it might be endless!

It was great to see past, present and future CISV members along with a large crowd of general public attend the event. A nice treat was having Ana from CISV Luxembourg, attending the U of S for a short time, join us for the showing. Her response was “Everyone in CISV is talking about this documentary, I can’t wait to see it!” To imagine groups of CISVers all over the world organizing events like this one in their home cities make the world feel like such a small and united place.

A huge thank you needs to go out to CISV International for showing the film at their international global conference last summer which inspired CISV Canada to challenge all their chapters to host a screening in their city and Chantelle Edwards for answering the call for a local organizer. Laura Scrivener of Polar Refrigeration, a lifetime member of CISV Saskatoon and long time supporter of the chapter, offered to purchase the screenings for the chapter to encourage a high profile event!

The documentary does not make any mention of CISV because they did not learn about the organization until after the film had finished, since then the documentary’s maker has been fascinated with the organization and attended a few programs to interview attendees as well as participated in the global conference in Norway last summer. Maybe there will be a time when we will see CISVers up on the big screen in a future documentary? Until then we will remember the affects CISV has had on our lives and the lives of so many others.