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Second annual plenary session of youth council

Consell inf6Composed of girls and boys from the island's primary and secondary schools, a plenary meeting of Formentera's youth council took place this morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council.

El Consell de la infància i la joventut is a participatory entity that casts young people as the actors in the decision making that affects them. Members introduce their own initiatives and voice their particular perspectives regarding the island. This morning's plenary was the second this year.

The day's session included discussion of what is being called el camí escolar de La Mola, or 'the school-children's trail of La Mola'. The idea – a safe route to school for children traveling alone – is to build autonomy without losing out on security.

Those council members who participated in the two countrywide assemblies held in November – one in Guadalajara and the other in the Balearics – related their experiences and gave accounts of the council's actions at this morning's plenary.

Initiatives such as this one were behind UNICEF's decision in October to award Formentera the designation of 'Child-friendly City'. This distinction will be valid through 2018, at which point local policies and practices will once again be reviewed before renewal of the 'Child-friendly City' label.

17 – 21 December, Diverespai offers fun play opportunities for children

foto diverespai 2010This year for the week immediately preceding Christmas day, the Formentera Council's office of youth services has organised Diverespai. With a host of different activities and inflatable games, the installation is a favourite for children ages 3 to 12.

The supervised play activities at Diverespai will run from 17 to 21 December, from half-past nine in the morning to half-past one at midday and then again in the afternoon from four to eight. The temporary set-up will be mounted next to the sports facilities at the IES Marc Ferrer secondary school and a staff of day counsellors will be on hand to assure the safety of all. The first three days of the week will be reserved for visits from Formentera schools.

Inflatable toys at Diverespai range from castles, giant animals, staircases, nets and obstacles – all devised to make the course more exciting. Staff on site will also lead different themed workshops like face-painting and arts & crafts.

UNICEF grants Formentera seal of 'Child-friendly City'

consell joventut2The reward at the end of a long road, Formentera has at last received the recognition of UNICEF's Child-friend City programme (CFC), an initiative whose objective it is to promote local application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and at the same time support the joint efforts of the different municipalities that boast the distinction.

The decision to bestow the island with the UNICEF programme's quality seal came after a round of assessment -which takes place only once every two years- determined Formentera to be eligible. An evaluation committee traveled to the island in September in order to establish whether the projects overseen by the Council met with the programme's criteria.

Among other factors, the committee took into account the active inclusion of children in the political process, the routine creation of local youth plans, and the promotion of policies that benefit children. The UNICEF seal will be awarded 7 November in a ceremony to take place in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The distinction is a nod for all of the work that the Formentera Council has conducted in support of children and adolescents. In 2012, the Comité Balear of UNICEF provided the Formentera Office of Youth Services with an acknowledgement of good practises as part of the fourth annual call to recognise promotion of rights of the child and effective local policy. The evaluation applauded local efforts to promote equality, the work of Formentera's youth council, and the efforts of the “Es Molí” Social Centre.

The decision to grant this most-recent accolade was announced 17 October, when the Formentera Council learned it would join the councils of Eivissa, Maó and Santanyí on the list of Balearic municipalities to receive the honour in 2014. A total of 119 municipalities in Spain have been awarded the 'Child-friendly City' distinction.

The jury that grants the title is formed by the Spanish chapter of UNICEF, the Spanish Department of Health, Social Services and Equality, the Federation of Spanish Municipalities and Provinces and the University Institute of Needs and Rights of Children and Adolescents.  

“A source of great motivation to continue in the struggle for youth rights”

Formentera's councillor of social welfare and youth services, Dolores Fernández Tamargo, hailed the distinction as “a source of great motivation to continue in the struggle for youth rights, not to mention proof of the work done by the adult population of Formentera to support its children and adolescents, the future of this island.”

According to Councillor Fernández, “not only does the UNICEF jury's ruling applaud the creation of the local youth council, it also acknowledges a host of other projects presented as part of the Formentera Council's bid, including both past efforts and projects that are envisioned for the 2014-2018 period.”

Councillor Fernández thanked the workers of local social services and educational institutions, and in particular acknowledged the important work being done by Formentera's primary schools and secondary school, before also recognising “the task of my colleagues in the public administration who have been so invested in the project.”

Registration for Escola d'Estiu summer school from 12 to 19 June

jovesempresaris webbonaThe Formentera Island Council will open registration for the island's summer school programme – dubbed l'Escola d'Estiu – next Thursday, 12 June. The sign-up period will last one week, coming to a close the following Thursday, 19 June. The formality must be completed at the Citizen Information Office (OAC).

L'Escola d'Estiu is an initiative consisting of fun and educational activities for boys and girls aged 3 to 12 (born between 2002 and 2010). The weekly programme is held Monday through Friday at three different local schools: Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andre (Sant Francesc), Col·legi de Sant Ferran i Col·legi El Pilar a La Mola.

Daily activities begin at 9 am and finish at 2 pm, with the possibility of an 8 am early start. The Formentera Council employs 22 individuals to work as counselors for the programme.

The summer school starts 1 July and extends through 29 August. Cost is 140€/month or 220€ for the two months for families with a valid empadronament (certificate of inclusion on the town registry). Families not registered must pay 210€ (one month) or 305€ (two months). Special discounts are available for families of two or more siblings.

 

Formentera Summer School creates solution for working families

escolaestiu2013 web2For yet another year, the months of July and August ushered in the Formentera Summer School, a programme of recreational activities for boys and girls from ages 3 to 12 years old. Proof of the initiative's success – the summer school programme permits parents to negotiate professional obligations with family life during the two central summer months – this year's summer school counted a total of 182 participants.

The goal of the Formentera Summer School is serve as a socio-educational resource during the summer months, and one that promotes viable, productive alternatives for leisure activities. One of the programme's many smaller scale objectives is to foster the creative development of its participants, in this way giving children the possibility to acquire an important knowledge base through play. In this same way participating children also learn values like solidarity, friendship, responsibility, trust and respect.

Summer school activities were held at Col·legi Públic Mestre Lluís Andreu, Col·legi de Sant Ferran and also Col·legi Públic del Pilar de la Mola, serving all three of the island's public primary schools.

Programming was held Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm, starting 1 July and extending through 30 August, and including the option of early morning start (8 am) at all three centres.

This year's programming carried the title, “SOM ARTISTES!!” (We're artists!!), and built a knowledge base around imagination and creativity, a starting-off point for various themes, which later included games, songs, arts and crafts activities, dance, gymkhanas and theatre.

Children had the opportunity to take part in outings to the municipal swimming pool, trips to different beaches, visits to different exhibitions, bike trips, a visit by island firefighters, and a get-together organised between all three centres and held at the Col·legi del Pilar de la Mola, where students took part in games, sports and other organised activities.

On 30 August the 2013 Formentera Summer School programme came to an official close with a gala held at the Cultural Hall (cinema), each group presenting a performance in which the dances, songs and other summertime activities could be put on display.

The summer school's directive team was made up of one recreational activity director, twenty counsellors, two counsellor assistants and one counsellor certified in special education.

Thanks to the day counsellor training courses offered over the course of the last several winters, the majority of counsellors this summer were also residents of Formentera. These training courses have been an important factor in maintaining high numbers of resident counsellors in past editions of the summer school. This is especially positive considering both stability it gives the project and the professional development opportunities it provides for Formentera youth in summer, affording an alternative to tourism sector-based employment.

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