Chiro in English
Chiro Flanders: a presentation
Flanders has a remarkable tradition of youth movements. About a quarter million children and youngsters participate weekly in one of the various youth movements active in our part of the country. Chiro is one of the biggest: in about one thousand local groups, Chiro Flanders unites around 100,000 members. In almost every municipality, Chiro is active in one or even several parishes.
Local groups are autonomous and are guided by young people (17 years and older), who form the leadership team. Every Sunday afternoon, the five sections (peer groups) meet up to play all sorts of games.
Which are our objectives?
Chiro is much more than the Sunday meetings; Chiro truly is a way of living. Our Chiro dream can be summed up in the three values, based on our Christian background: loving each other, integrity and justice.
Every one of us deserves to be loved. However, you can only develop your talents and possibilities to their fullest if you're loved and cared for. These are chances we certainly want to offer young people in Chiro.
Integrity is a value we counter superficial and consume-driven life with. We make conscious and well-considered choices and are not afraid to think about what our motivation is to participate in Chiro. This reflection makes us strong to realise our dreams.
We make a stand for a just society, where everyone has equal opportunities. As long as these opportunities are not equal for everybody and people are marginalized, Chiro will speak up for people who risk falling by the wayside.
How do we want to realise this?
In a playful and active manner, we look for an alternative way of living with children and youngsters. We don't need pompous words for this: every week we experience small details that turn a normal afternoon of games into a real Chiro Sunday. Rather than just talking about Chiro, we allow children and youngsters to feel and experience what Chiro means. Their own intuition is important in this process.
A local Chiro group is more than the sum of the different sections and the leadership team: local Chiro groups are small communities on their own where young people can feel at home. We usually work in peer groups, but group activities are equally important to create a feeling of responsibility for each other.
Lastly, a Chiro group is not an island but part of a larger community, both on a local level and in the Chiro family. A Chiro group is supported by the community and also commits itself towards this community.
We work in an experimental field where young people have the chance to take up their responsibility as a leader, but where members also have a voice and every opinion is taken into account.
For every group, the highlight of the year is without a doubt the summer camp in July or August.
Working in sections
Since every age group is different, we meet up in peer groups: the sections. In approximately one third of the groups, the sections are gender mixed. Children of six years and older are welcome in Chiro, because we believe that children can only enjoy group life after that age.
The youngest section is called Speelclub (6-10). Together with the leaders, members dive into the fantasy world of forest bears and princes, put on a puppet show or dress up as a witch. Sometimes they go on a hiking trip filled with games, funny songs and crazy tasks.
Ten- to twelve-year-olds are expected in the Rakwi section: they fool around, or create crazy figures in clay. Most of the time, they are almost exhausted from running around. In secret, the boys make fun of the girls (and vice versa) or they tell each other blue jokes.
The Tito section (12-14) already goes on day trips by bike, or travels to the next town for a huge search game. Open field games can be their favourite, especially when they have to use some strategy. Sometimes they put on crazy faces or even use make-up, and in summer they may wet their leaders.
Looking for adventures, going on two-day nature hikes with a backpack and a compass, or building a float; it is all typical for the Keti section (14-16). They get exhausted in an self-invented sport, or re-arrange their group room. Who knows, they might even shoot a movie about a mysterious crime, with themselves as the movie stars.
In the Aspirant section, young people from 16 to 18 years old enjoy their time together, and switch between rough games and meaningful conversations in the cosiest corner of their room. At certain times they pitch in with the leadership of a younger section and test what it could be like as a leader; after all, that is their very near future. They are not afraid to go on a ropes course, or participate in a workshop on graffiti or percussion. At big events you might meet lots of Aspi sections.
De Banier and Chiro accomodation
De Banier, your Chiro store
In ten Flemish cities you can go shopping in a Chiro store, called De Banier. Beside Chiro clothing and publications, you can find a large variety of hobby materials here.
Chiro Flanders organises staff training in four centres, called Jeugdverblijfcentra. However, these spaces are not just let out to Chiro groups. Other associations, schools or families can make use of the accomodation for a wide range of activities as well.
Chiro is a member of Fimcap, a federation of parish based Christian youth organizations. Through this federation we are in contact with 36 organizations of 27 countries in 4 continents.
In Europe, exchanges on local level are stimulated for older groups. In Fimcap these exchanges happen through Roundabout.
Dubbelpunt is the national magazine of Chiro Flanders and is published on a monthly basis, with the exception of July and August. The magazine is written by Chiro animators for Chiro animators. It contains informational sections, pedagogical articles and suggestions for activities. Subscription is optional, but each year more than 8,000 animators choose to subscribe to Dubbelpunt.
For all members over 14, Vlam spreads an intense Chiro feeling on a bimonthly basis.
Staff members are informed on a twomonthly basis in a staff letter, the Kaderbrief and The Mix.
Spoor ZeS is our service for spirituality and solidarity. They edit several publications, a methodology for schools and youth movements among others. Twice a year a booklet is published, one for children's supporters, one for teenagers' supporters and a meditation booklet for youngsters.