Infotech Summer camps facing a shortage of facilitators

Summer camps facing a shortage of facilitators

colos cancelled, leisure centers closed… the entertainment sector is short of arms for this summer, so much so that a sector committee will be set up in September to try to find solutions.

For the organization of stays this summer, “There is a tension at the level of the animators, the directors but also the kitchen teams. Some organizers are in the home stretch and are wondering if they will be able to maintain the stays or not.testifies Anne Carayon, director of Jeunesse au Plein Air, interviewed by AFP.

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To the Education League (Holidays for all), “the result of cancellations linked specifically to the lack of supervisors concerns just over 200 children”, out of some 17,000 received. A figure that could increase further because “we don’t necessarily have enough to absorb any withdrawals” supervisors, underlines Benoît Fontaine, director of the League’s holiday service.

To cope, camp organizers resort to expedients: “We are working on requests for exemption from state services in relation to experienced but unqualified facilitators”explains Vincent Clivio, of the National Federation of Rural Families.

As for recreation centers, “It is absolutely urgent”is alarmed Laurent Bruni, general manager of the UFCV (French Union of Holiday Centers).

€23.67 minimum per day

The Covid pandemic, and the confinements that accompanied it, explain a good part of these difficulties. “Over the past two years, 17,000 young people have not been able to follow Bafa training [le brevet requis pour être animateur en colonie de vacances, NDLR] due to the pandemic”explains Laurent Bruni.

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But the causes are deeper. Summer camps operate with young people recruited under an educational commitment contract, for a low daily allowance (23.87 euros gross minimum per day) in view of the expected availability, 24 hours a day.

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It is necessary, in the opinion of the officials interviewed by AFP, to revalue this allowance, to make the aid to pass the Bafa more legible, but also to put forward the meaning and the value of this commitment. “We ask for volunteering for the animation, as we have a volunteering for the firefighters, so as to be clear vis-à-vis the young person”says Anne Carayon.

Great precariousness, part-time…

Leisure centers and extracurricular reception throughout the year operate with professionals. The Department of Youth, Popular Education and Community Life (Djepva) estimates the shortage in this sector at 10% of the necessary staff. In question, a great precariousness, low remuneration with contracts almost always part-time, a lack of recognition and a lack of training…

Aware of these difficulties, the government had organized from November 2021 to January 2022 “Animation sessions”. A plan emerged with 25 measures, and the creation of a “sector committee” to apply this roadmap. Former deputy Yves Blein took over the chairmanship of this committee, and a secretary general has just been appointed, Benoît Coquille, former adviser to the State Secretariat for youth and commitment.

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“The objective is to see how we can have more porosity between all the professions of childhood […]to ensure that qualifications are standardized, that there are bridges that allow these people to benefit from real working time”, explains Yves Blein. The Aesh and Atsem, who assist the teachers during school time, depend on the National Education, and the leaders of the communes.

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Yves Blein is pleased that the system of “learning camps” put the sector back in the spotlight, with “meaningful help”. “Afterwards, it must not be a “one shot” […]. It must be recognized that this is unfortunately not the subject at the top of the pile, while many questions are being asked about social diversity, “living together”. We know how much the colos can contribute to this ”he said.

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