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Volunteer opportunities in FRANCE

Building eco huts in the Natural Park of Vercors
Vassieux en Vercors, Rhone-Alpes          July 28 - August 11, 2014

Volunteer project: The project is based in an outdoor nature camp in the heart of the Vercors Regional Natural Park, a protected area of forested mountains in the Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France.

Volunteers will help build eco-huts on the site of the camp. Guided by a professional carpenter and facilitators of the place, the group will perform various tasks: construction of the floors, framing, setting up and installation... You will also be asked to take part in other activities related to the operation and maintenance of the site, such as gardening, writing a blog, crafts and various construction works (e.g. building a solar oven), preparation of an open day for visitors, etc. The volunteers, with the support of the team leaders, will also create a theatrical performance to promote the local heritage and environment.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: With the help of the group leaders, you can organize numerous activities for leisure and discovery, group games in nature, introduction to Aikido, hiking, visiting local producers, creating a radio show. The Vercors plateau is known for its great acts of resistance during the Second World War - you can also explore this piece of local history on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the resistance.

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in tents on the camp site. Mattresses will be provided, but please bring your sleeping bag. The camp host pays special attention to the management of resources, energy and waste on the site, but also to the source of materials and food. Whenever possible, meals are prepared with local and organic products.

Location: The campsite is located a few miles from Vassieux en Vercors, a mountain village at more than 1000m above sea level.

Terminal: Die

Age range: 14 - 17 years old

Extra fee: 350 Euro




Footpath restoration in Rhone-Alpes
Pontaix, Rhone-Alpes          August 3 - August 23, 2014

Volunteer project: You will participate in the restoration of a footpath that connects the village center of Pontaix to the ancient castle: clearing bushes, removing branches and stones, possibly also: creating and putting in some protection gates and rebuilding a stone wall. You will be supervised by some local volunteers. You will work 4 to 5 hours every morning, 2 days off per week.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: During this project, you will have the opportunity to visit Die, and maybe Valence, and why not the famous vineyards of Clairette de Die (bubble wine, really appreciated in the region). You will also have the opportunity to swim in the river “Drôme” and to hike in the beautiful landscapes of Diois area. Other possible activities include swimming in the river, canoeing, visiting the hill-top villages, visiting caves, meetings with locals, hiking…

Accommodation: In tents in Pontaix.

Location: The village of Pontaix is located in the South East of France, in the Southern Alps, just at the feet of the Vercors mountains and by the river Drôme. Pontaix and its valley are dominated by the Glandasse mountain (2041 m high).

Terminal: Valence

Age range: 18 - 30 years old



Volunteering in an Emmaus community
Etoile, Rhone-Alpes          August 3 - August 23, 2014

Volunteer project: Emmaus is a community that welcomes marginalised and homeless people, mostly men. They are called "companions". The community provides them with a place where they can live and work. It is a place where people live together in a spirit of solidarity. Some companions live there temporarily while going through a tough phase in life and the community supports them towards social reinsertion; others see life in the community as an alternative way of life. There are 3 founding principles in all Emmaus Communities: welcoming people (everybody, regardless of their origin and their past); working, which is seen as fundamental for a sound life and as the way to reinsertion and reconstruction of self esteem; sharing is the third pillar of life in the community.

The group of volunteers will work from Tuesday to Friday, 7 to 8 hours a day, as the companions. Days off on Sunday and Monday. Volunteers have to be motivated and have to respect the timetable at all times (it is very important for the companions to have fixed schedules).
The work will consist in helping the community in their everyday tasks such as: sorting out second hand clothes, sorting out second hand furniture, materials or books… helping to collect second hand items from the people's houses (only strong volunteers can do that), selling the books, clothes, furniture to the public, tidying up the different little “shops” in the community… and finally, any job that can be useful for the well-being of the community.

Special requirements: Coming to Emmaüs means a commitment to respect both the companions and the rules of the community. You will be expected to show tolerance and open-mindedness. No special knowledge or competence is required for this project, except being motivated, curious and loving to work in a group. Motivation letter should be sent with application.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Discovering Crest (visit of the tower, abseiling...), and various sites of the Drôme valley such as Die (old town, and cooperative cellar), Saillans (magnagnery), Aouste (oil mill)...; visit of the town of Valence, Montélimar (museum of the miniature and manufacture of nougat), Romans (the shoe museum); excursion to discover the Vercors; sports, rides, hikes, swimming, canoe (Drôme). The community will organize leisure activities for the volunteers such as concerts and visits outside the community.

Accommodation: You will be hosted in a building in the community. Mattresses will be provided but you have to bring your sleeping bag.

Location: Located at 10 km south of Valence, in the Drôme, Etoile sur Rhone (5,000 inhabitants) is a town which overhangs the valley of the Rhône. Its village, at the heart of the enclosure of the 15th century, reveals an architectural heritage of quality: a church, stone houses, a chapel and a castle. As for its countryside, it is characterized by very diversified landscapes (the rivers Rhône and Véore, agricultural and fruit bearing zones, hills and woods). The community is sheltered in a priory at 1.5 km from the village.

Terminal: Valence

Age range: 20 - 30 years old



Improving access to the medieval castle of Montaigut-le-Blanc
Montaigut-le-Blanc, Auvergne          August 3 - August 23, 2014

Volunteer project: The city of Montaigut-le-Blanc is hosting for the first time a group of international volunteers during the summer of 2014. This workcamp will be in partnership with a local association which is engaged in the preservation and enhancement of the town.

The village is crossed by many byways that provide access to the top of the village where the castle is located. The project will focus on these paths with the creation of a staircase and the implementation of stone. The objective is to facilitate access for people who want to discover this beautiful village. You will work 5 hours per day, in the morning, 5 days per week.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Many activities can be arranged for exploring the area. You will also have free access to the swimming pool of Montaigut-le-Blanc (located nearby the campsite).

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in tents next to the town center in a green area. Mattresses provided, bring your sleeping bag. Shops in the city of Champeix are located 3 km from Montaigut-Le-Blanc.

Location: The village of Montaigut-le-Blanc has an exceptional heritage making it a touristic village. It is characterized by its old houses arranged in tiers around a rocky outcrop which itself is crowned by a medieval castle.

Terminal: Champeix

Age range: 18 - 30 years old




Creating a fitness trail and preparing the village festival in Bonrepos
Bonrepos, Midi-Pyrenees          August 17 - September 8, 2014

Volunteer project: The city of Bonrepos sur Aussonnelle hosts this summer its second international volunteer project, to assist in improving the living environment of the town. The mayor wants to host a new international workcamp to take concrete actions towards improving the living environment and integrating volunteers into local life, especially during the village festival. Residents and local youth will give you a warm welcome and share rich exchanges with you.

Supervised by employees of the municipality, you will participate in the creation of a fitness trail in the town. This involves creating various hanging bars of timber, concrete formwork, assembling wood, etc.
During the last weekend of the project, the village festival will take place. The last week will be devoted to assisting in the preparation of the festival including the preparation of various activities (disguised rally, production of cars for racing soapbox, etc.). Any other ideas on your part would be welcome.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Walking and cycling tours, sports activities, adventure park “Tépacap”, visits to the city of Toulouse. Exchanges with the local youth will be encouraged for a better integration of the international volunteers in the local life.

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in two bungalows equipped with mattresses (currently youth room and TV room) located in the village. A kitchen and bathroom are available. Please, bring your own sleeping bag.

Location: Bonrepos-sur-Aussonnelle is a rural village of 850 inhabitants. Located 35 km from Toulouse, close to St-Lys and Muret, it is at the border of the Gers district. An ancient Roman way and a 15th century castle can be found there. During the 2nd World War, the French resistance fighters had a stronghold near the village. Surrounded by woody hills, Bonrepos overlooks the plains of the region of Toulouse.

Terminal: Toulouse

Age range: 18 - 30 years old





Cadip volunteer project review:

"I wanted to give you some positive feedback on my time in Clansayes, in France. I had one of the best times of my life. The program was exactly as I wanted, and so much more. I had wanted to travel to Europe, but not just backpack through the place. I wanted to get immersed in the culture to get a feel of how life can be over here. In Clansayes, I was totally in touch with the culture. The villagers treated me as a son, a brother, and a friend. The camp leader, Madj, was so diligent with regards to the positivity of our stay there. He was constantly organizing day trips, speaking with the villagers to request bikes for us, and anything else he could do to make our stay more memorable. I loved the people I was staying with. I met people from all over Europe, Russia, and Africa. I met so many people, but not only that, I had time to actually get to know them. I have learned so much from the late night political discussions with 2 serbs and 1 man from Spain. I spoke for hours, and listened for even longer. The mayor of the town was awesome, he took us swimming at his sisters house, he gave us the towns sound system when we requested music, and he pulled some strings to allow all 16 of us have a day of golfing practice. What a guy. I loved the way 2 or 3 of us would cook for everyone else, that allowed for some interesting meals, but also to get to know each other in a deeper way. If you cannot tell by my tone, I am absolutely endorsing this workcamp, I will speak extremely high of your organization and I will tell all of my friends in the states what a wonderful time I had. I believe that I am a better person for having this experience, thank you very much."

Stephen M.,
Cadip volunteer 2007



Restoration of an ancient castle in the Pyrenees
Durban-sur-Arize, Midi-Pyrenees      August 18 - September 6, 2014

Volunteer project: The Castle of Saint-Barthelemy stands on a hill just above the gorges of Arize, in the municipality of Durban-sur-Arize, sheltering the remains of a medieval castle and a chapel. The aim of this project is to go further in the conservation of these buildings and continue the protection of the site, secure access to the castle and complete the permanent visitor and volunteer facilities. A group of international volunteers is invited to help in this work.

Supervised by a technical leader, the volunteers will take part in various maintenance and development projects on the site of the Château Saint-Barthelemy. This includes restoration of walls (masonry works), clearing of vegetation, etc.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Located in the heart of Séronnais, the site offers many hiking opportunities.

Accommodation: You will stay in tents on the grounds of the castle. Housing conditions are very simple and basic (dry toilets and solar showers). This is a project for nature lovers. Access to the castle is only by foot (15 minute up a steep path from the village).

Location: Located halfway between Foix and St Girons, Durban-sur-Arize, crossed by Arize, is a charming village in the Ariège part of the Regional Natural Park of the Pyrenees. The village has a remarkable built heritage with many preserved stone buildings. The Castle of Saint-Barthelemy is an ancient medieval fortress dated back to the 11th century.

Terminal: Foix

Age range: 18 - 30 years old



Renovating the village centre and organising a local celebration in Segur
Segur, Midi-Pyrenees          August 24 - September 13, 2014

Volunteer project: The municipality of Ségur will host this summer its fifth international workcamp. Located in Aveyron, this little charming town decided to receive international volunteers to help to renovate the center of the village and to organise the national finals of the Shepherds Dog competition. The population and the municipality are expecting to share great moments with you.

Supervised by municipal employees, you will work on restoring the heart of the village and the improvement of people’s lives. You will work on the Fountain Square, doing various heritage restoration works (calade fountain for example). You will also work in landscaping (planting trees, shrubs and flowers) in various areas of the city: the church square, along trails for school children, etc.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: In your leisure time, you can visit close-by waterfalls, lakes or go hiking. In the surroundings of Ségur, you can organise trips to Roquefort caves, Laissac market, micropolis museum, viaduct of Millau, medieval castles, etc.

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in an old school. Mattresses will be provided.

Location: Located between the two most important cities of the Aveyron département: Millau and Rodez, Ségur, crossed by the Viaur river, is a charming village. It has remarkable architectural heritage such as its high church. Ségur is located in the center of the Levézou region, known for its lakes and its cultural heritage. Nowadays, it is also known for its many wind generators.

Terminal: Rodez

Age range: 18 - 30 years old



Help running a vacation program for people with disabilities
Saint-Maurice, Rhone-Alpes          August 31 - September 19, 2014
Saint-Maurice, Rhone-Alpes          December 19, 2014 - January 5, 2015

Volunteer project: The project is in support of a centre, which runs adapted camps for physically disabled people. You will help a person with disability in his/her daily life during the vacation: showers, meals, etc., but moreover you will be with him/her during the different activities organized by the centre. The first 2 days of the project will be dedicated to a special training in order to allow you to learn the good behaviors and techniques to help the people. Former volunteers will tutor you during this training. You will work directly with the staff of the centre and under their supervision.

Working at the centre is a really intense experience: days of work are going from 7:30 am to after dinner. Sharing the residents’ daily life requires constant investment and a lot of energy, however, supervisors and other volunteers will support you at all times. Once a week, you will have to take on the night watch; the day after will be your day off (only one day off per week), for resting or visiting some local attractions with the group.
The group will be of 4 international volunteers; there will be also French volunteers involved in the project who speak English, and you will be welcomed in a very familial atmosphere.

Special requirements: Please remember that your role here is to allow the vacationers to spend a great holiday and that you should show a great involvement in the project. You are expected to be motivated, open minded, patient, caring, respectful, creative and able to get along well with people. Basic French is welcome to facilitate contact, but is not obligatory for participation. Please include a motivation letter in your application.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: With the disabled people, you will participate in many different activities: adapted sports, manual activities, mountain leisure activities, swimming in a lake, visit of Grenoble or Gap... You will have many occasions to discover the region. Moreover the centre focuses on a regional approach to tourism and food ! You can discover French cuisine in the mountains !

Accommodation: You will be hosted within the centre with other volunteers. Dormitory or rooms of 2-3 people. Meals shared with the disabled people. Any food diet can be accommodated (gluten free, vegetarian...).

Location: The centre is located in the wonderful region of Trièves, surrounded by the Alps mountains, at 68 km from Grenoble and 67 km from Gap.

Terminal: Clelles-Mens

Age range: 20 - 30 years old




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