I am 32 years old and have been involved with CISV for 10 years.
Being a CISV leader is hard to describe because it is incredibly special and life-changing. It must be felt through experience, through moments that make your heart feel full.
With CISV I have had so many amazing experiences. There was the time I had to navigate around Budapest with four kids and no ability to understand the language. Another time, I had to explain to a delegate that life is not fair because there were kids her age begging for food in Cebu, encouraging her to help work towards changing these inequalities. Once I had to comfort a homesick kid by staying up all night talking about ghosts, even though I am so scared of them! And then there was that time a couple of days ago when I received a phone call asking for a reference for my former delegate. He is now applying to be a leader himself!
Thinking about all of these moments takes my breath away.
I look back in awe that I was able to take four kids across oceans to places I had not even been to myself. Being a leader is a huge commitment and it tests you in big and small ways.
From the moment your plane takes off and you realize the magnitude of what you are doing, to a kid looking for you at camp just to tell you that they can say “I’m not showering today” in Japanese. You are responsible for four kids and you are their “person” throughout the programme. Yikes! That is the job and I would not change it for the world. You will become that kids’ safeguard, their mom, dad, best friend, medic, you name it; you are it!
It sounds huge and it is. You will – hopefully – become their role model and will be opening their minds and your own mind to new cultures. You will be offering the kids and yourself a unique personal growth experience because you will be put to the test every single day. Full disclosure: you probably never be as tired as you will be after finishing a CISV programme; but it is worth every second you did not sleep and every minute you went the extra mile to help your kids.
Does this sound good to you?
Four out of seven CISV programmes require leaders and CISV sends 250 leaders per year. Do you want to be one? CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world. Easy to say, but can you do it? Are you ready to lead?
Don’t worry, you will be trained and given tools to help you be the best leader possible for your kids and everyone else around you. It is a climb but the view will certainly astound you.
By: Marcela Corrales, CISV Costa Rica