Full name of the organisation:
When did the organization start?
The first movement we recognise are called patronates. They were linked to the Sunday mass for Christians. The movement changed and the emphasis shifted to play and activity. In 1934 founder Jos Cleymans first used the word ‘Chiro’ to name the movement. It stands for the letters ‘Chi’ and ‘Rho’ in the greek alphabet and means Christ King.
When the organisation was first founded, it was only meant for boys. Later on girls were allowed, but activities were still separate. Nowadays 282 local groups are for girls only and 237 are for boys only, while 397 of our groups are mixed.
How many members do you have?
The Chiro consists of 104.598 members. And counting! These are not only the members and leaders of the local groups, but also the volunteers that participate in the management of the organisation on a national level. It is the largest youth movement in Belgium.
What kind of activities do you do?
Each local group organises activities in their parish. The majority of the groups organise their activities on Sunday afternoon, some on Saturday afternoon. The leaders prepare these activities during the week. The activities are game-activities and are mostly active.
The members are divided into groups according to their age and this group stays the same for a whole school year. By doing this, leaders can get to know each member of the group and develop activities that are specific for their interests and needs.
Do your members wear a uniform or use any kind of symbol?
Chiro-members wear typical clothing. We choose not to call it a uniform but rather Chiro-clothing, since members are not obligated to wear these clothes. Chirojeugd-Vlaanderen hopes this aids the movement in being accessible to children of all origins, especially those who have difficulty making ends meet at home.
The clothing colours are beige, red and blue. Members can buy a skirt, shorts, T-shirt, sweater, shirt, socks and even shoes at our own Chiro-shop.
Do you have a year theme?
Our national year theme this year is ‘Geef kleur!’ (translated: ‘Give colour!’) The story tells us about a white raven that is being bullied by a parrot because of the lack of colour in his feathers. The raven and his friends decide to go and find him some colourful feathers. During their trip, they meet all sorts of other special and unique birds. With this story, we want to visualise that a big group of people is composed of individuals that are all unique in various aspect: ethnicity, skin colour, character, background, intellect,… Together, we form a very nice colour palette. The purpose of this year's theme is that everyone can be himself or herself in the Chiro. And that everyone must be respected for who he or she is.
Are you in a partnership or do you do some international activities?
Krinkel: an event that takes place every four years. All the leaders and oldest members of the local groups are invited to participate in a camp organised in one place. The camp duration is 5 days. The international committee has its own international campground. We invite members of our partner organisations, organise a buddy-system so they are guided by a local Chiro-leader and organise and participate in activities.
Chiro Railways: it’s a road trip with the train through Europe. We make a stop in several cities of Europe and we play games and try to organise exchanges with other youth groups in Europe.
Chipadag: is an event every two years. Chiromembers between the age of 14 and 16 are invited to play one day together with the Patro in Brussels. The Patro is the youth movement of Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium).
Roundabout: local groups often ask for information considering an international camp. We try to help them set up an exchange with a local group of a partner organisation.
Do you publish a magazine or newsletter for your members?
We have Dubbelpunt, it is a magazine for the leaders of the local groups. They can also subscribe for an additional newsletter with hot topics in their mailbox.