A Rocha Encounter Scheme
CCCW provides two bursaries each year for those seeking a short-term research and practical action placement that furthers the understanding and care of God’s creation. In volunteering you will meet people from all over the world through thoughtful, hands-on conservation in areas as potentially diverse as ringing birds, surveying dragonflies, leading children’s programmes, making meals for large groups, and working with Geographic Information Systems. CCCW welcomes applications for part-funding from individuals who have been accepted to work in one of A Rocha’s field study centres outside of the UK (Canada, France, Kenya or Portugal).
On this page you can read about the experiences of previous A Rocha Encounter bursary recipients, and the scheme conditions. You can find out more about why caring for creation is important and our partner A Rocha International here. A Rocha’s sister page on the scheme can be found here.
A Rocha Placement Examples
On their return, three common themes emerge from the reflections of A Rocha bursary recipients: an expanded sense of community, a heightened cross-cultural understanding and a significant impact on career development.
Placement Example: Jonny - Geography PhD Student
Jonny and his family spent a month at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre and Farm in Canada in 2016, with three aims for the placement:
- 1. To learn about the running of Christian community farm;
- 2. To learn how to engage with low-income and asylum-seeking families;
- 3. To learn about running a food business, and how that dovetails with running a charity.
He was planning to establish a cooperative business in Ireland, integrating “care farming, community-supported agriculture and conservation education and engagement – alongside a creation care charity that inspires churches and Christians to consider agriculture and environmental issues as part of their mission and discipleship”.
Jonny found that the most important lesson the family learned, however, was not one they had sought out. “Despite wanting to set up a Christian community farm, as confirmed introverts we were distinctly more comfortable with the “Christian” and “farm” components of the project, rather than the “community” bit. But the intentional and integral community we encountered at Brooksdale changed that. We encountered a beautiful relational balance between individuals of all types in community with themselves, with each other, with the rest of creation and with God.”
Jonny is in the process of turning his dream of a cooperative community farm in Ireland into a reality. You can find out more about Jubilee Farm here.
Placement Example: Freya - Gap Year
Freya spent three months living at two field study centres in France during her Gap Year in 2017. At Les Tourades Freya was involved with scientific work such as butterfly, dragonfly and reptile surveys and crop-mapping. She was particularly moved by the overnight bird ringing sessions: “It was a blessing to be a part of this work, not only because of how interesting it is, but also because of the intimacy it allowed me with God’s creation: a reminder of its beauty but also its fragility”.
At Les Courmettes, Freya’s tasks revolved around the life of the centre and community through cleaning, cooking and gardening. “One of the pleasures, and for some challenges, of working with A Rocha France is not only the work you get to be part of but also understanding how to integrate yourself into and find joy from community life… It provided the opportunity to form relationships with many interesting and faith-driven people, as well as providing a sense of ‘family’ that I really valued for my first extended trip away from England.”
Freya’s placement had a profound effect on her: “From the intimacy of holding the warm bodies of swallows in my hands by torchlight at Les Tourades, to the sense of awe provoked by standing at the top of the Pic des Courmettes with the coastline and hills stretched out before me, I was reminded not only of why we should want to love this earth as our father God loves it, but also why it is beyond worthy of our awe”.
Placement Example: Emilie - Geography Student
Emilie spent three months volunteering for A Rocha France at Les Courmettes field study centre in 2016. Her main task was to help edit a book about Christianity and Climate Change which involved liaising with editors, authors and translators, as well as learning a lot about creation care along the way. “I hoped to work in the environmental sector… the time I spent at A Rocha reading and discussing these issues has been really important to me.”
Not only did A Rocha provide professional development, Emilie also “found that living with others, particularly those who come from a range of different backgrounds and generations, is a great opportunity to learn”. She lived in a diverse community of staff, visitors and volunteers, spanning a wide range of ages, languages, occupations and religious beliefs. “Despite the initial difficulties of moving to a new environment, I was surprised by how quickly we become rooted to new places and initial strangers become close friends.”
After completing her Geography BA Emilie went on to study for an MSc in Environmental Management. She now works in the environmental sector as a research assistant with the Stockholm Environment Institute.
1. Visit Opportunities with A Rocha for current openings at their field study centres in Canada, France, Kenya or Portugal and apply for a placement. Mention in the ‘Why do you want to Volunteer’ section that you will be applying for the CCCW Encounter Scheme.
2. Once you have secured a placement with A Rocha, then fill in the application form for CCCW. You can find tips on filling in the application form here.
3. Normal conditions of the Encounter Scheme apply:
- You must have a Cambridge connection;
- You must be aged 18-40 or a mature student;
- Placements must be a minimum of four weeks;
- You may apply for up to £1000 and no more than 2/3 of the total cost of the trip;
- You do not need to be a Christian to apply, but should be sympathetic to the Christian nature of the Centre;
- You must have appropriate supervision during the placement;
- Your hosting body will be responsible for you for the duration of the project in all areas regarding living, location and well-being.
4. Your CCCW application form and two references should reach us by May 7th 2018.
5. Disclaimer: A Rocha have no part in deciding who receives CCCW bursaries. CCCW does not guarantee grants, so you should make sure you have a back-up source of funding.
6. CCCW will be offering 2 partial bursaries for this scheme in 2018. Applicants will be notified of the result of their application by 24th May 2018.
7. Bursaries are conditional on attendance at an Induction Day (Saturday 9th June), Debrief Day (Saturday 20th October), and submission of a 2000 word reflective report.