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 last straight line and wonder if they will be able to maintain the stays or not" , testifies Anne Carayon, director of Jeunesse au Plein Air.
At the Education League (Vacances pour tous), "the result of cancellations linked specifically to the lack of supervisors concerns just over 200 children", out of some 17,000 welcomed.
A figure which could still increase because "we do not necessarily have enough to absorb any withdrawals" from supervisors, underlines Benoît Fontaine, director of the League's holiday service.
To cope, camp organizers have recourse to expedients: "We are working on requests for exemption from state services in relation to experienced but unqualified facilitators", explains Vincent Clivio, from the National Federation of Rural Families. .
On the side of the leisure centers, "there is absolute urgency", alarms Laurent Bruni, general manager of the Ufcv (French Union of holiday centers).
“We have preventive closures, limits in the reception capacity”, echoes Mr. Clivio.
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 take Bafa training (the certificate required to be a summer camp facilitator, editor's note) due to the pandemic", explains Laurent Bruni.
"Colos" canceled, leisure reception closed: after two years of Covid, the animation sector lacks arms AFP PHOTO MYCHELE DANIAU MYCHELE DANIAU AFP / Archives
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.
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 volunteering for the firefighters, so as to be clear vis-à-vis the young person”, affirms Anne Carayon.
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 almost always part-time contracts, a lack of recognition and a lack of training...
Aware of these difficulties, the government had organized from November 2021 to January 2022 "Assises de l'animation".
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.
"The objective is to see how we can have more porosity between all the professions of childhood (...), to ensure that the qualifications are homogenized, that there are bridges which 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.
Mr. Blein is pleased that the device of "learning colos" has put the sector back in the spotlight, with "significant aid".
"Afterwards, it must not be a + one shot + (...). It must be recognized that this is unfortunately not the subject above the pile, while we are asking many questions about the social mix, + living together +. We know how much the colos can contribute to this, "he says.
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