YOUTH EXCHANGE: WHAT THEY GET OUT OF A YEAR ON THE “A-TEAM”
The A-Team, or “A-laget” in Norwegian, is an international exchange program for young people. Here, youth from all over the world both work and participate in activities across cultures. In the fall of 2019, the administration and management of the youth program moved to Germany.
By Johanne Reiersrud – Photo by BCC
The A-team has developed a lot since the beginning. The program has been around for more than 15 years, and it all began at Brunstad, where BCC holds Christian conferences several times a year. In fact, since 1956 youth have volunteered to support the church’s activities at this property.
Each year, between 300 and 400 people apply to the A-team, which is a popular option for young people affiliated with BCC. Most people apply because they want to spend a year combining work, Bible study, cultural exchange, language and fellowship. This good tradition is important missionary work and the desire is for it to continue.
Administration of the youth program is moved to Germany
After a few decades of busy activity at Brunstad, in the fall of 2019 the entire A-team concept was renewed. The administration of the A-team was moved to Germany in the summer of 2019, which was communicated in a previous article here at bcc.no. They coordinate applications, residency, and employment for youth who apply to the A-team.
For the A-team, this change also means that income from work the youth do goes directly to them, instead of the amount being redistributed for nonprofit purposes as before. This also means members have the same rights and obligations as employees.
Participants can save for the future
Although the A-team residency is no longer based at Brunstad, the new management still wants to make it possible for A-team youth to safeguard their own participation in BCC’s future conferences. Brunstad has been a gathering place for Christian youth for many years and continues to be an important venue for mission work.
A-team management has initiated a collaboration with Oslofjord Convention Center AS. Participants of the A-team are offered the option of saving for a future hotel agreement, which then guarantees them a place to stay at BCC events in the coming years. Their year on A-team therefore becomes an investment in their own future.
Participation is voluntary
Participation on the A-team has always been, and will be, voluntary, and those who apply do so partly because they want to be part of the missionary community at Brunstad during BCC conferences. The A-team concept is comprehensive, covering mission, language courses, cultural exchange, and educational instruction.
When their stay on the A-team is over, members can choose whether or not they want to continue their savings plan. It is also possible to terminate the entire agreement and receive a refund for what they have paid thus far.
What do applicants get out of their A-team experience?
The purpose of the youth exchange program has always been to provide the youth in BCC a solid foundation for their Christian life, and good companionship with their friends. This concept still applies for the A-team and YEP. For many, taking a year on the A-team is an experience completely distinct from education and normal work. They also have the opportunity for in-depth study and development of their Christian faith.
When young people from many unique cultures are together for a whole year, they develop an international network they can make use of further in life.
Many travel home with new skills and experiences that make them assets in their local communities and churches. The opportunity to save for their own hotel suite agreement at Oslofjord ensures that those who want it will have a place to stay at BCC’s conferences in the future.
BCC will also continue with its other youth program, YEP, which is for young people from countries outside Europe and the EEA. They receive training in language, culture and Bible studies, while working one year for BCC’s nonprofit activities in Norway. They work with media production, music, event planning, and other associated work. Read more here.