Living in a CISV Bubble

By: Kai Donesa

Explaining the experience of being at Village or in a CISV camp is a difficult and daunting task. There are just not enough adjectives or words out there to completely describe the feelings and experiences that you go through. And I would have to risk the use of numerous cliché metaphors or idioms only to inevitably fall short on the task. Be that as it may, I will try my best to try and describe what being an Adult Leader was like and what kind of experience I had in that one month of being at Village. But rather than explain what goes on in camp, I will share with you how it affected me as a person and how it has in effect changed my life forever.

At the get go, you become responsible for four young humans. For that one month, I assumed the role of legal guardian, older sibling, friend, financier, teacher, counselor, nurse, and referee all rolled into one. I had never in my life been more scared or anxious. But after getting used to it, I found myself thriving in my new multifaceted role. I found fulfilment in taking care of these kids, in making sure that their experiences were meaningful, and that they were learning from the activities at camp.

(I wasn’t kidding about the nurse part!)

We were becoming our own little family unit and as we grew together, so were the people at camp, both adults and children alike. The wonderful thing about Village is that it’s like living in a magical bubble. It was a bubble where people from different countries, who spoke different languages, who all came from different backgrounds lived together in an environment where you constantly felt safe and loved. Where friendships and bonds were made and you had fun almost all the time. For me, it was a place where I got to work day-in and day-out with like-minded people, people that were all working towards a common goal and where conflict was actually discussed and resolved. We didn’t always agree, me and the other leaders, but we respected each other and were genuinely open to hearing each other’s thoughts and opinions. In this magical world, it didn’t matter how old you were, what kind of background you came from, whether you were married or single, rich or poor.

We learned from each other everyday and we made it a point to have fun everyday too. The days flew by living in this little bubble we lived in and before I knew it, it would have been time to leave our magical CISV bubble. And so end it did and I was too busy to really think and reflect on the experience, having still to keep my multifaceted role until my young humans were back with their parents. It was hard to settle back into real life. Having lived in that bubble, though instilled something in me. I found myself less jaded about the world we lived in, more passionate about making that little bubble a reality. If it worked in CISV, why can’t it work outside? Believing again in the idea that one person, a small participation can go a long way. It’s easy to lose sight of that being in the real world.

People always ask me what my goals are in life – it’s a fair question for someone my age. But I don’t really have concrete goals. My goals in life are really simple and vague. It’s to try and live life everyday finding laughter and fun, sharing that with others and trying to make that bubble I lived in a reality. CISV has taught me that that’s okay.