Frequently Asked Questions
The information on costs explains fees and travel costs, but who pays for the Step Up itself (food, activities, utilities, etc.)
The host Chapter and participants pay for all operational costs for the Step Up. Participants pay program fees and the costs of traveling to and from the city or town where the Step Up is hosted, plus 1/4 of the leader's airfare cost. Each CISV Chapter worldwide is required to host a Step Up every few years (opposite of village hosting). When hosting a Step Up, the Chapter raises funds (in our case about $30,000) sufficient to pay for all costs to operate a four-week camp for 60 children, staff, leaders and junior counselors. When DC hosts a Camp, each Chapter member is asked to help in a variety of volunteer jobs.
What if we can't afford all the fees, preparation and travel expenses?
CISV is the greatest bargain imaginable for such a memorable, educational and culturally enriching experience. Regardless, the total cost can be difficult for some families. CISV encourages participation from the entire DC community, without regard for race, religion or economic circumstances. To that end, our Chapter has limited scholarship/financial assistance for those who have true need. The number and amount of financial assistance grants varies from year to year based on the number of applicants, the degree of need, and the amount of financial assistance funding available. For more information see the Chapter Information section of the website. All information regarding applications and financial assistance awards is kept strictly confidential.
How can CISV operate these complex programs as an all-volunteer organization — who does the work?
Volunteers like you and me! Thousands of dedicated people devote many hours to CISV programs around the world because they have experienced the special, rewarding feeling that comes from making new friends around the world and learning about other cultures and ways of life. These volunteers want others to experience the same feeling, and they want to give something back to the organization that means so much to them and to their children. When your family becomes involved in CISV, parents will have the responsibility to serve as a volunteer in some capacity. There are dozens of jobs that must be done...some big, some small, but all are very important to our success. We must have families who are willing to do their share so all the work is not done by just a few. Sixty countries...182 Chapters worldwide...22 USA Chapters...3,500 members in the USA alone. We hope you, too, will be a part of CISV and see why so many care so much!
If we apply for the Step Up program, must we first be chapter members? Is it an advantage in the selection process to have previous membership or CISV program experience?
You are not required to be a Chapter member to apply for the Step Up Program. If your child is selected, Chapter membership is a part of the participation fee. The goal of the Selection Committee is to choose delegates who form the most compatible, cohesive and representative delegations. The primary focus is on the child, and the family's willingness to support the chapter with volunteerism.
How are adult leaders selected and trained?
Leaders are volunteers, age 21 or older. The cost of the leader's travel is paid by the participating families. Leader applicants are screened carefully, including a criminal background check, through a selection process designed to ensure they are well-qualified and well-suited to lead the CISV Step Up Delegation during the preparation phase as well as during the three week Step Up. CISV selects leaders who will be responsible and caring and whose top priority is always the children's safety and well-being. Volunteer leaders may be parents, teachers, counselors or others who have the willingness and ability to work well with children and who will carry out their responsibilities in accordance with CISV policy. Many leaders are past CISV participants, and want to participate in the experience again as leaders. All CISV leaders undergo a thorough training process, starting at the local Chapter level and continuing through a mandatory CISV-USA national training weekend. Training includes the basics of CISV philosophy, program content, potential problem recognition, cultural awareness, risk management and conflict resolution.
Can we contact our child during the Step Up? What about international phone calls?
We encourage frequent letters and cards to and from the delegate. Phone calls are not allowed except in the case of family emergencies. Weekly Emails are usually welcomed. There is always a phone number provided for emergencies, and the policy is to contact your delegation leader should a need exist to contact your child. Phone calls usually create or intensify homesickness. Your child is with 60 people who love him/her and care about his/her well being. Three weeks will pass quickly once the routine is established and new friendships are made. Many years of experience have taught us that this is the best approach.
How are travel plans arranged?
The Chapter selects a single travel agency to coordinate all travel plans. The agency will understand CISV requirements, rules and regulations regarding safety and direct travel to and from the Step Up host country. We are assured that we benefit from negotiations for the best available airfare for which we qualify.