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Youth centre celebrates tenth year

Casal 9The Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare and Youth Services announced today its programme for the Casal de Jove's tenth anniversary celebration. Friday March 31 marks ten years since Es Molí social centre opened its doors and, with it, the island's gathering space for children and teens.

Department chair Vanessa Parellada described the Casal de Joves (Catalan for “youth house”) as young people's source for both recreation and education over the last ten years. According to Parellada, the goal, helped along rules and qualified staff, was to create a leisure space where youngsters could learn to socialise and coexist with their peers. It has since become a yardstick for youth services, she says. The councillor pointed to a document billed as the island's “youth plan” that is currently being prepared in concert with Formentera youth to ensure the centre's continued ability to adapt to the needs of its users.

The party starts Thursday March 30 at the Casal with a foosball session, 4.30 to 6.30pm, to be followed by a slideshow with photos and video footage of the Casal's alumni since 2007. At 8.30pm free snacks and birthday cake will be offered in the spirit of celebration and from 9.00 to 10.00pm there will be music and karaoke.

For the big day, March 31, an array of all-ages activities will kick off at 5.00pm in Jardí de ses Eres, with storytelling from Xènia and Siri (“Les mil aventures del Pirata pedorreta i Carlota l'aventurera”) to get the ball rolling. Next up, Casal staff will lead two workshops—urban dance at 6.00pm and voice at 7.00—before Edgar Vilamajo guides attendees through an initiation to graffiti at 8.30. Finally, from 10.00pm till 2.00am, local performers El puerta, Elian.C, Reiminem and Juan Vidal will provide musical entertainment.

The Casal's birthday festivities are part of the Formentera Council's ten year anniversary celebration.

In response to Formentera youth, Council to build skateboard park in early 2017

foto ple de la infancia i joventutFormentera's youth participation council met today and celebrated their plenary session in the administration's plenary hall. Formentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer was there to welcome the 28 pupils from the island's three primary schools and secondary school that the youth council comprises. An intervention followed from the youth participation council's vice president, Vanessa Parellada, in which she spoke about the activities organised in support of World Children's Day.

Parellada, who in addition to her other functions is Formentera's councillor of social welfare and youth services, gave her take on improvements that followed proposals in past plenaries. Namely, she highlighted efforts by the CiF Office of Festivities to incorporate activities geared toward young people in events the administration hosts. Parellada spoke about a project now in development to build a skate park, as per requests from local youth. She told meeting participants that the new park could be expected as soon as early 2017. Parellada also reported on the opening of a children's park at the Sant Ferran school, something that until now had not existed. The park is staffed by CiF employees Monday through Saturday from 4.30 to 7.00pm and the site is used to stage youth activities, a push intended to revitalise the area.

Other members of the meeting, several of whom recently participated in the Balearic Islands' youth parliament, reported on their experience and the travails of refugees, especially children. Among other things, the Formentera youth were keen to learn of the grants offered by the Council as well as developments regarding the creation of the island's future nautical sports centre.

The youth council began to convene its plenary sessions three years ago and since then the gatherings have taken place twice annually. Formentera, classed as a Child-friendly City under UNICEF, was visited today by one of the organisation's reps, whose tasks consist in ensuring full protection of children's rights.

Formentera rolls out diverse bill to mark Universal Children's Day

foto dia de la infancia 2016Formentera's councillors of social welfare, environment and sports, Vanessa Parellada, Daisee Aguilera and Jordi Vidal, respectively, shared news today of the activities organised by the Council to commemorate Children's Day on the island. Universal Children's Day occurs on November 20 and, as last year, a programme of events has been tailor-made for local children and teens. Formentera is also recognised as a Child-friendly City, an honour bestowed on the Council October 17, 2014.

The programme gets under way tomorrow with two open conferences. Paco Pérez will give a talk entitled "El rosa y el blau ja no molen" (Why pink and blue just don't cut it anymore) and Virginia Vallejo will present another on sexual diversity and gender identity. For parents, guardians or anyone else interested, the two events will take place from 7.00pm in the conference hall of the Office of Culture.

Activities continue until November 30 with everything from storytelling for kids, theatre, film screenings and an open-house at the sports centre to reach out to Formentera young people and families.

This year also sees the return of two other initiatives: the community beach cleanups organised jointly with Formentera schools and an intergenerational space to facilitate exchanges between youth and the elderly. On Saturday, November 25, residents are invited to take part in a community bike ride, a first this year and just one of the many activities marking Universal Children's Day. See posters for more information.

Formentera's Casa de Colònies once again providing year-round service

Foto casa de coloniesVanessa Parellada, councillor of the CiF's Offices of Social Welfare and Youth Services, was joined today by Joan Ferrà, director of the Balearic Islands' youth institute (IBJove) on a visit to the local casa de colònies, a building that historically hosted children's educational events and camp-style activities and which is overseen by IBJove. Ferrà used the day's meeting to announce upcoming changes to the partnership agreement between the two entities that will allow the hall to remain open all year long.

Year-round use of the Formentera Casa de Colònies has been an aim of the Formentera Council since 2013, when the then administration of the Govern Balear shortened the site's operating season. Parellada hailed the change as an improvement. Additionally, Ferrà signalled a forthcoming increase in funding for maintenance at the Casa, with a total projected sum of €12,000. The 2016 allocation for such operations, €11,000, was already an increase from 2015 levels, when it stood at €4,115.

La Casa de Colònies de Formentera is located in the town of Sant Francesc. The building has a maximum capacity of 32, which, across the hall's four rooms, means space for eight people in each. It is equipped with a domestic-use kitchen, multi-purpose room, outside patio, toilets and showers. The Casa serves as a dormitory though there is no cafeteria service. Anyone interested in reserving space at Formentera's Casa de Colònies should contact the IBJove. Reservations are accepted for groups of 20 people minimum. The space is primarily used for training, school recreation or other activities that mix leisure and learning.

One hundred fifty children attended summer school

foto escola estiuThe Formentera Council's Office of Youth Services has reported that the island's summer school programme —the Escola d'Estiu, which concluded today, Wednesday, August 31— served a total of 150 boys and girls this year. The initiative centred on a programme of fun activities for kids aged three to twelve. Youth services councillor Vanessa Parellada said sixty children had attended the Escola d'Estiu at Mestre Lluís Andreu public school, and another ninety went to the programme at the primary school in Sant Ferran. The CiF councillor highlighted end-of-summer parties taking place today at both Escola d'Estiu sites, where she said “performances, water games and other activities” could be expected. According to Parellada, kids at both schools were also preparing a sampling of snacks and drinks for visiting parents.

The Escola d'Estiu is intended to be a fun and educational space for children during the summer months. Participating kids are encouraged to use leisure-time wisely by engaging in educational play. In addition, the aim of the programme is to help parents struggling to balance work and family life. Parellada says the last point is especially significant “given the high rate of employment on the island in summer”. “Children need to be looked after and kept busy,” she said.

One counsellor for every ten students
Activities are overseen by a team of 16 professional daycare counsellors. The schools maintain a ratio of one counsellor for every ten students, with one site director per school. Parellada said that all of the counsellors possessed the accreditation necessary to guide leisure-time activities.

Activities included arts and crafts, physical fitness, games, music, theatre, dance, movement, storytelling, cooking, trips to the beach and other field trips such as visits to the Council's hort infantil (“children's vegetable patch”). Children also had the option of swimming.

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