What’s the B.A.F.D.?
Similar to the B.A.F.A., the B.A.F.D. is a nationally recognized child care certification program in France. As you may have already deduced, the Brevet d’Aptitude aux Fonctions de Directeur is the B.A.F.A. equivalent for seasonal camp directors. Through a series of formal training sessions and on-the-ground work experiences, seasonal camp directors can obtain this certification in order to manage camps during school vacations.
What’s different between the two programs? Well, a lot.
For starters, the majority of people that enter into B.A.F.D. are already B.A.F.A. certified, the director’s training program is not based uniquely on the day-to-day interactions with the campers. As a director is required to know how to manage all the “hidden” aspects of the camp, so that counselors can do their day-to-day, this training program is focused on the camp’s functioning as a whole. This includes aspects like camp accounting, relationship with parents, transportation, communication with the employer, health & safety regulations and how to deal with different types of emergencies, and of course, the famous “Projet Pédagogique”.
What’s the projet pédagogique, you might ask?
The “pedagogical project” is the backbone of any child care program in France. The American Village Camps pedagogical project has been crafted over time and is updated by me each winter. It is a document comprised of around 15 pages that is given to each director to read upon hire. Our Projet Pédagogique is identical for all camps, but leaves space to innovate on the counselor level - each counselor is expected to bring his or her ideas to the table for activities, games, skits, and how to better foster camper relationships and a healthy positive ambiance at camp! By reading our Counselor Handbook in full, our staffers are aware of all the overarching ideas that are established in our projet pédagogique.
We do not expect directors to mindlessly apply what is explained in the “projet péda”. We expect directors and counselors to mindfully work together in order to ensure that our camp program reflects the values set forth by American Village and uses our methods at every one of our locations across France.
That is what campers and their parents are expecting when they enroll in our camp!
Going Further : If you live permanently in France and are interested in learning more about the B.A.F.D., visit the Youth and Sports Ministry’s BAFD webpage here : http://www.jeunes.gouv.fr/bafa-bafd
Going Further : It is possible to be American Village Director without the B.A.F.D.. These positions are only available during school group sessions. Our criteria include French fluency, 21+ years old, management experience and relevant experience in a French camp (for example, for foreigners, experience working at our camps as a counselor beforehand is essential). The full job description is here (link to page Directeurs)
Amanda B, Assistant Program Director
American Village counselor and director since 2006