Summer camps: the lack of animators is felt – Bretagne

The acute phase of covid-19 may have passed, but its delayed effects continue to be felt, as in the summer camp sector, with a shortage of facilitators observed almost everywhere.

“As training for the Brevet d’aptitude aux functions d’animator (Bafa) was suspended in 2020 and 2021, we lost around 12,000 trainees over this period, i.e. almost half of our usual workforce, explains Maëlle Ribeiro, interregional manager of the holiday and childhood sector for the North, North-West and Île-de-France within the French Union of Holiday Centers (UFCV). Renewal is more difficult than before”.

The teams therefore take time to form, and some stays are even threatened. This is for example the case for one of the nine stays organized this summer in Brittany by the Wakanga association, which is still looking for around forty facilitators. The situation is also tense, and for the same reasons, for the sailing sessions offered by the association, based in Monfort-sur-Meu (35).

“We are recruiting a lot at the moment”

Within the UFCV, the composition of the management teams is also not without difficulties. “We are still short of around forty leaders on the five stays that we organize ourselves, not counting those of our member associations, notes Maëlle Ribeiro, even though we are recording a sharp rebound in children’s registrations. But none of our stays this summer are in question: we are recruiting a lot at the moment, so I am not worried”.

“We lost around 12,000 trainees over this period, almost half of our usual workforce”.

The head of the UFCV prefers to speak of an air pocket in the sector. “Once again this year, we have been in uncertainty for a long time, due to the evolution of covid and the health situation. Many young students therefore preferred to try to find other rewarding activities for the summer. But, little by little, those who have not found work are sent back to us. So I’m not worried about the future.”

The remuneration and commitment in question

The suspension of training in 2020 and 2021 is not the only cause of these difficulties in recruiting. Other factors also fuel a certain disaffection of the younger generations towards these activities. According to a survey carried out in October 2021 by the National Union of Holiday Organizations (Unosel), among 657 facilitators and directors, for 68% of them, the cost of the diploma is not really an obstacle to obtaining the Bafa (animators) and the AfDB (directors). It amounts to 1,000 euros but aid has been put in place to help young people to finance, from communities, CAF or the organizers themselves. The government has also released aid of 200 euros for 20,000 young people who would register for training as facilitators in 2022. On the other hand, the remuneration is considered unsatisfactory by 78% of those questioned. Framed by specific regulations, the educational commitment contract (EEC), it provides for a minimum salary of 39 euros gross per day for a facilitator (53 euros for a director position). Unattractive for many, especially since the supervision of children represents a heavy responsibility and that supervisors are expected to have unfailing motivation and commitment.

This decline in attractiveness is also noted by Jean-Daniel Lemercier, of Rural Families in Ille-et-Vilaine, who is still looking for two director positions for his reception and leisure centers in Brie (Charente) and Saint-M’ Hervé (35), as well as a facilitator. “We have to make reminders when usually all the teams are formed before the end of March. It’s like for restaurants, hotels or medico-social, I think that today many young people are looking for a better paying job and with more convenient hours.

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