JUNIOR BRANCH | In a Nutshell
JB USA empowers youth through education to foster inclusiveness, social awareness, and action within local, national, and international communities. Contact a chapter near you to participate in a local Junior Branch.
Visit Junior Branch Website to learn more about the national organization of the USA’s chapter JB’s, it’s goals and the cool projects supported nationally!
JUNIOR BRANCH | A Year in the Life
Junior Branch, the youth-led division of CISV, represents an active and integral component of the organization. CISV’s Junior Branch members (JBers, typically between the ages of 11-25) are local CISVers, who develop their intercultural and leadership skills through organizing educational and local activities, with an emphasis on community impact. JBers often take an active and independent role in the functioning of their chapters. Through their national and international network, JBers develop confidence and problem-solving skills while driving the organization forward year-by-year. Junior Branch places young people in new and complex environments, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of college and life beyond. The JB experience results in a community of inspired, autonomous, and ambitious young people who have found their voice and are ready to tackle the world.
Leadership and Community Involvement
JBers lead the charge in committing CISV principles at the local level. Each local Junior Branch has a JB board that plans activities and projects for the year, connecting young leaders with their communities. Activities focus on experiential and hands-on work, bringing JBers from across the city together to navigate through critical issues on a variety of real-world concerns, including human rights and diversity. In addition to independent activities and ongoing service projects, JB chapters typically host Mini Camps – weekend-long themed programs full of experiential activities and CISV traditions. Some JB board members attend national and international meetings and conferences, and JBers serve on various committees and project groups to impact the organization at a higher level.
Learning by Doing
JBers are particularly talented at diving deeply into CISV’s education content areas – sustainable development, conflict and resolution, diversity, and human rights. Participants turn their passions into tangible, impactful projects – tackling complicated issues with unique perspectives. Junior Branch is a unique space that brings together people with different identities. JBers are dedicated to building diverse communities. This allows us to learn from one another and challenge our perspectives, but it can also help young people find belonging and solidarity.
Junior Branch is the “playground” of CISV. While other CISV programs must come to an end after a few weeks, youth aged 11-25 can participate in JB as much and as often as they’d like. Working locally, nationally, and internationally, JBers craft their experience and address the issues of importance to them – developing maturity, independence, and deep friendships along the way. Like a playground, Junior Branch represents a collaborative space where bold ideas are encouraged. Participants take creative leaps and experience the rewards of their efforts. They learn complex problem-solving, work in diverse groups, and become leaders in their local communities and beyond. Junior Branch is a rich, autonomous, thriving, and inclusive environment.
JUNIOR BRANCH | Typical Month-by-Month
September – First activity of the year! A typical activity might involve Participants meeting at a local corn maze for some fall activities. After some warm apple cider and a hay ride, the activity begins. JB board members hide in the maize and the rest of the participants divide into teams. As the teams work their way through the maze, they must find all the hidden board members and complete specific tasks related to sustainability.
October – Some JBers attend the National Junior Branch Meeting, a weekend-long conference and training where JBers can meet participants from across the U.S. (and sometimes Canada!). Weekend activities might include learning about chapter development, facilitation, and project management. Participants also share time in joint sessions with adult chapter leaders, fostering a sense of unity with the entire CISV organization.
November – JBers embrace the cold and explore their city! Participants might head to an exhibit at a local museum, then share a meal before taking part in a city beautification activity by lending their artistic skills to a downtown mural project.
December – In December, JBers share the bounty of the community by conducting a can-drive to collect non-perishable food for holiday food banks. At the end-of-the-year holiday party, participants prepare the food for delivery, and learn about diverse holiday traditions from around the world.
January – Movie night! Participants might settle in at a local JBer’s house for a movie about a refugee’s journey. After the movie, participants have a discussion about the experiences of local refugees, followed by a sweet treat!
February – JBers seek out a partnership with a local nonprofit, perhaps one that runs after-school sports programming for youth. Participants from both organizations recruit their friends for an ultimate frisbee tournament. JBers help the non profit by donating participation fees to the nonprofit’s scholarship program or activities.
March – Regional Mini Camp! The chapter gets together with 4-5 others to spend a weekend in true CISV fashion.
April – Local JBers might gather to work at a food and culture festival. Participants take turns exploring other booths and talking to passersby about CISV.
May – Some local JBers pile into a bus and head to the National Mini Camp, which takes place in a different city each year. At NMC, participants meet with over a hundred JBers from across the U.S. and enjoy the best of CISV – energizers, experiential activities, flagtime, lullabies, kiitos, and the company of other active, passionate global citizens.