truancy or how to prepare for the start of the school year with the scouts

Ziyad, Gaétan and two companions have made it their mission to build a hut there. This is a first for students. ‘Guys, be careful when you use the axe! No one in front or behind, warns Tanguy Dassonville, the camp director. To be effective, the ax must be placed at 45°. Gaétan immediately interrupts him: “Oh no! Math is tonight! »


The manual workshops at the camp are many and varied.

Philippe Griller

double hat

“It’s the perfect illustration of what truancy is,” the manager enjoys. For a week, the teacher at the college of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (Gironde) supervises 36 young people trained in his establishment and in the primary school of Saint-Denis-de-Pile. Launched in 2021, the operation was revamped by the National Education funding it. It is mainly aimed at children who cannot go on holiday. “I have the double hat. I am a teacher, but also a volunteer at Les Éclaireurs, which simplifies things”, emphasizes Tanguy Dassonville.

All participants sleep in tents.


All participants sleep in tents.

Philippe Griller

“Children are less autonomous, they are not used to being given responsibilities”

“School is my least favorite part,” Hatim analyzes with disarming candor, toothbrush in hand. The schoolboy got up after spending the night in the tent. “It was too hot,” he testified, much to the surprise of his roommate: “You’re crazy, I was too cold! »

As the elderly joke and challenge each other at nightfall, the young learn to get out of the comfort of the parental home. “The first night I was a little scared,” admits Laura, trained in CM1. But things have gotten better since then. »

The day starts early.  Brushing your teeth is mandatory.


The day starts early. Brushing your teeth is mandatory.

Philippe Griller

authorize

“For them, everything is a discovery,” depicts Tanguy Dassonville, who is used to guiding seasoned scout camps. There the children are less autonomous, they are not used to being given responsibilities. This requires more supervision. Children and adults together established a framework of rules to be respected for the week. Everyone has to contribute to the preparation of the lunch, to the washing up or even to the maintenance of the common areas. One rule created even more frustration: the ban on cell phones, except from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

“I use it all the time to write messages, go on social networks and even know the time,” Nora portrays, weaned from the screen for part of the day. To compensate, she participates in numerous workshops, as well as during the compulsory class time in the afternoon. It consists of reviewing part of the school curriculum of the past year, converted into practical cases. “We realize that children in difficulties in the school environment do much better here”, assures Laurine Penot, teacher at the school of Saint-Denis-de-Pile and responsible for the youngest pupils of school truancy.

Without mobile phones, children are called upon to develop their creativity.


Without mobile phones, children are called upon to develop their creativity.

Philippe Griller

Dry toilets

The manual workshops will start from mid-morning. First step, adjusting your scarf, to show that you are becoming a real scout. Alissandre has chosen to improve the manufacture of paracord survival bracelets, which have to bear a weight of 100 kilos: “I will return it to my parents”, promises the schoolgirl who chose bright colors. The little ones are invited to “draw” mud faces on the trees. “They are sad”, Manon, Lise and Ness whisper in unison. The trio therefore chose to represent Groot, the comic book hero – who is a tree – on a real tree.

The cabin is taking shape.


The cabin is taking shape.

Philippe Griller

On the other side of the camp, the four builders of the hut have been busy, even though the decision to build the shelter on top of a slope has slowed down their business considerably. The moment we attack the roof, the sighs intensify: “Can we be ready tomorrow? ask the kids. The spirit of competition will draw them to their last strength. “Now it’s the one who gets the biggest piece of wood,” jokes Tanguy Dassonville.

Construction will take several days. What does it matter! The fry already have a shelter to sleep and eat. And of course to relieve oneself, in dry toilets installed in a tent. A way to discover the hut at the bottom of the garden.

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