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25,000 young people will participate in the SNU this year

The application phase for the universal national service (SNU) ends this Friday, April 30. This year, 25,000 young people aged 15 to 17 will be selected to participate in this experience, the first edition of which in 2019 brought together 2,000 young people.

The confinement of last spring had completely prevented the 2020 class from participating in the high point of this service, “the cohesion stay” of 15 days in boarding school and in uniform. This year, despite the crisis, it will take place between June 21 and July 2 in centers spread over all French departments.

→ READ. Are we serious when we commit to 17?

“We have a real mix of profiles”, welcomes Sarah El Hairy, Secretary of State for Youth and Engagement. In previous editions, children of soldiers and boys were over-represented among volunteers. The services of the Ministry of Youth have therefore been on the ground to promote the system in the rural world, neighborhoods, vocational schools. “We have 57% of applications from girls, greater social diversity and profiles, especially young people with disabilities”, underlines the Secretary of State.

Promote brewing

The evaluation of the first edition of the cohesion stays, published in the fall of 2019, revealed a real enthusiasm of the participants. 94% of them said they were satisfied with this experience, with however a criticism of overly busy schedules and excess theoretical activities. “This year there will be fewer seated sessions and more outdoor activities, sports, practical exercises, for example first aid or rescue”, Sarah El Hairy promises.

The centers, which will bring together 200 young people (divided into households of ten girls or boys) will be run by professionals divided into three thirds, between teachers, educators and members of the “corps in uniform” (soldiers, gendarmes, firefighters, etc.) ). The volunteers will be directed to centers located in another department in order to promote mixing.

The second step of the SNU, after the stay, is the twelve-day general interest mission that young people are invited to carry out with associations, local authorities, institutions or bodies in uniform. Finally, young people are offered the opportunity to continue their engagement as a young firefighter, cadet in the gendarmerie or to perform civic service.

Objective, 800,000 young people

The SNU, the presidential campaign promise of candidate Emmanuel Macron in 2017, should continue to step up with the horizon, within a few years, of a whole generation, or about 800,000 young people. But the subject of the generalization of the device has since the beginning met the opposition of part of the youth associations who do not want to hear about a compulsory SNU. “Some of them have evolved”, assures the Secretary of State who insists on the fact that the SNU is not first “A time of commitment but a meeting with the Nation”.

The budget for 25,000 young people is 63 billion this year and the evaluations envisage an envelope of 1.5 billion euros for the mandatory version, or 1% of the current youth budget, argued Gabriel Attal, the predecessor of Sarah El Hairy who became government spokesperson.


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