VSS News

Good bye, Summer Summit 2018!
VSS 2018 is over

This years' EFIL Volunteer Summer Summit is over and it was like in all the 10 years before a great success. The beautiful landscape of Norway, the great participants and teams, and the unique island of Utøya made this Summer Summit a very special one. The certificates for the workshop tracks and workshops have been prepared and are now available under My Summit

The outcomes (of the tracks, workshops and more) will be published soon and you will be able to access them under Outcomes.

Remember the VSS 2018 Prep Team!

In this video you can find the prep team members with their names, their tasks and some answers on special questions.

Remember the VSS 2018 Support Team!

Here you find again all the members of the support team in this funny video.


About the VSS

Whether your origins in AFS were as a programme participant, a host-family or simply as a world citizen, if you’re an active volunteer in AFS in Europe, this event is for you!

The initial idea of having a Summer Summit assumes bringing together around 250 AFS volunteers in order to share best practices in AFS volunteer work, to exchange tools, tips and tricks, and to create a spirit of international unity.

A large scale meeting, targeting a wide group of AFS volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, is an important need recognised and addressed by EFIL. Next to the usual smaller European training activities for specific volunteer groups, in 2008 EFIL introduced a yearly Summer Summit for all interested AFS volunteers, both from within and outside Europe. A meeting of this shape contributes not only to enriching their skills but also to creating a stronger spirit of international community between national and local volunteers from different countries.

VSS Theme "Civic education against extremism"

This year’s VSS will take place on the island of Utøya in Norway and will focus on the topic of "Civic education against extremism". Although this might seem like a bold choice, a long reflection has gone into why it is appropriate to host the event there. After the tragic events that took place in 2011, Utøya has been reopened as both a place of memory and a workshop for democracy and civic education; it now hosts organisations to empower people to stand against extremism through learning, reflection, dialogue and the purposeful re-habitation of the island in the face of extreme violence. The theme has been thoughtfully chosen to reflect the history of the island and to act as a catalyst for an open and honest discussion about extremism in its many forms, and how to counter it through civic education. As AFSers, committed to creating a more just a peaceful world, and an active citizen, we believe participants of the VSS have a role to play in making our society less polarized, less extreme, less violent, and more inclusive. At the VSS they will have the chance to gain motivation, knowledge, tools and most importantly relationships to have a real impact. The programme of the Summer Summit is designed to offer many different settings and activities to explore the theme, get to know each other, learn more about Norway, about Utøya and give back to our host community.


Through a track system participants will be able to choose 2-4 workshops that will focus on one aspect of the topic and explore it from different specific angles. Following a track will offer the chance to go in depth and guide participants on a coherent journey through the topic. This year´s tracks are:

  • Intercultural Learning in Civic Education [ICE]
  • Shaping Public Opinion [SPO]
  • AFS as a Stakeholder in Civic Education [ACE]
  • Civic Global Activism [CGA]
  • Peace through Inclusion [PTI]



What is the track system?

This year’s topic is ‘Civic Education Against Extremism’. As it is a very broad and extensive topic, there are several thematic paths to address it. That is why we have divided the programme into different thematic tracks:

  • Intercultural Learning in Civic Education [ICE]
  • Shaping Public Opinion [SPO]
  • AFS as a Stakeholder in Civic Education [ACE]
  • Civic Global Activism [CGA]
  • Peace through Inclusion [PTI]

Each of the five tracks addresses the topic in its own way and each of this year’s workshops is linked to at least one track. And all of our trainers collaborate to link workshops with each other. This ensures that we can get the most out of each track and gives a broader context to each workshop.

So, what does this mean for you?

  1. In the next step of the application, you will choose one of the 5 tracks that you want to follow.
  2. After this step, you will be able to choose from different workshops: you will participate in 4 workshops of 3 hours. Some workshops are longer and have 2 parts of 3 hours.
  3. At least 3 of the 4 workshops need to be linked to the track that you selected. Bear in mind that most workshops are linked to more than one track.

We will zoom in on the different tracks in future updates!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org


Call for Participants


Click the sunflower to view or download this years' call for participants!


  Start End
Step 1: Participants' Application 1-Feb 25-Apr
Step 2.1: 1st confirmation from offices 16-Mar 23-Mar
Step 2.2: 2nd confirmation (for those who applied after the 1st confirmation) 26-Apr 04-May
Step 3: Registration Part I (rooms etc.) 23-Mar 15-May
Step 5: Payment 23-Mar 25-May
Step 6: Final registration (workshops, travel) 2-May 10-Jun

June 29, 2018
VSS 2018 Info Booklet

Click on the picture to open the 20 MB Info Booklet (PDF file).

VSS registration step by step

Step 1: Apply
By logging in to MySummit here on the webpage, you can register for the VSS in a few minutes! Once you have filled in all the required information, you will receive an e-mail from EFIL confirming your registration.

Step 2: Confirmation e-mail
Your national AFS organisation has to confirm that you are a volunteer and that they approve your application. Once we have a reply by the office, you will get an email telling you whether you have been approved or not for participation.

Your office might have a selection process to decide which volunteers they sponsor and which not. Approval to participate in the VSS doesn’t mean your office will contribute financially so make sure to check with your AFS organisation. - In case you cannot participate to the VSS because you did not get a scholarship, you still have to cancel via email to alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org. Only cancellations to this email are valid!

Step 3: Register
As soon as you get your confirmation email to the VSS, you have to fill in the online registration form with your My Summit account. Here you will have to choose your room type, inform about dietary restrictions etc. Do it soon as there is limited number of beds in each category.

Step 4: Make the payment
The payment can either by done via bank transfer or PayPal.

Step 5: Book your means of travel to the VSS
Please make sure to keep ALL receipts and tickets for your travels to and from the venue as you will need to hand them in once you arrive at the VSS.

Step 6: Finish the registration
After the confirmation of your payment, you can sign up for workshops. You will only be able to sign up for workshops once you have transferred the registration fee and provided us with your travel details.

Step 7: Get final confirmation
If the final registration is done correctly, you will get an email with the final confirmation including your workshops and room type.

Participation Fee

The fees are set according to the table below. Be aware that you will have to pay them in advance to the event and that, by doing so, you agree to the cancellation policy.

Lodgings type Fee (EUR)
Tent 290
More-bed Cabin 330
New more-bed cabin en suite 370
Double bed room 710
Single bed room 820
Add-on for volunteers of AFS organizations outside EFIL (applies to all categories) 50
(All fees are calculated per person. No early/late application fee applies.)

Tents: Participants will stay in tents equipped with portable pop-up beds and sleeping bags. All tents will have access to bathrooms and showers. The tents are tall and fit for camping in Norway in summer.

More-bed cabin: The cabins are equipped with bunk beds and share bathrooms with other cabins and tents. Bathrooms are located in common areas.

New more-bed cabin en suite: These are the new, more modern, cabins. Equipped with bunk beds and shared bathrooms inside of the cabin.

Double bed room: These rooms are in a hotel on the mainland across from Utøya. The participants staying in this accommodation will be transported between in the morning and the evening.

Single bed room: These rooms are in a hotel on the mainland across from Utøya. The participants staying in this accommodation will be transported between in the morning and the evening.

Cancellation Policy

In case you cannot go to the VSS or decide to withdraw your registration, you will need to cancel your registration by sending an e-mail to Alma Rikardsdottir in the EFIL office. Please note that these cancellation fees will be charged:
  • If you cancel after the 2nd of May 9th of May 2018, we will require a 50 Euro fee.
  • If you cancel after the 1st of June 2018, you will be charged 50% of the registration fee.
  • If you cancel after 18th of June 2018, there will be no reimbursement.
Once you register on the website, we assume that you will be a participant and accept the terms and therefore the cancellation policy.
If the cancellation fee is not paid, we will have to exclude you from other EFIL activities. Exceptions can be arranged for visa applicants.

Social media

To stay up to date with the event’s preparation you should follow the VSS Sunflower on Facebook and on Instagram and Snapchat (@efilvss). Looking forward to share pictures, expectations and ideas with you online!




The EFIL Volunteer Summer Summit will take place on 10 - 15 July 2018 in Utøya, Norway. The theme will be Civic Education Against Extremism.

My Summit

Please note, that this is an event
only available to AFS volunteers!

Workshop and track certificates available

You can download the certificates for your attended workshops and tracks now. Just log in!

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VSS FAQ 2018


Q: How do I recover my password to MySummit?

A: Send an email to Alma (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org), she will help you.

Q: How do I change my accommodation type?

A: Send an email to Alma (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org). She will see if there is free room in your preferred accommodation and make the changes for you.

Q: How can I cancel my participation?

A: Cancellations are only accepted through email to Alma (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org).

Q: I can’t upload my travel documents to MySummit. What should I do?

A: Don’t worry. You can send the documents to Alma (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org), with the subject VSS18 TRAVEL DOCUMENTS_your name. PDF documents are preferable to forwarded email.

Q: Will I be supported by my AFS organisation?

A: - There will be two rounds of confirmations by offices. After each deadline those who have applied will be notified by Alma if they have been confirmed to participate or not.
   - Regarding financial support of AFS organisations this is up to each individual organisation and is not in the hands of EFIL. Please refer to your national organisation with questions regarding financial support.


Q: How long does it take to get to Norway?

A: - This depends on your location. We recommend using www.google.maps.com to find your route.
   - We recommend, if possible, that participants look into alternative means of travel to flying. This can be trains, busses, ferries, private cars, bikes, etc. These are all more sustainable ways to getting to the VSS and this makes our green hearts happy.
   - Websites like www.skyscanner.net, www.dohop.com and www.momondo.com can help you book your travels in case you are flying.

Q: Can you arrange pick-up at the airport?

A: - All participants will have to travel individually to the meeting point: Homledal (NOT HoLMedal) Attention: We have a new meeting point for arrival day: Sundvollen bus stop of bus n. 200. It is on the same bus route as previously mentioned meeting point. This is close to Utoya and a 45 min bus ride from the Oslo bus terminal. Participants will be transported to the venue from there starting at 15:30 on July 10th until 18:30. Make sure to plan your travel to be at the meeting point before 18:30 on July 10th.
   - Please make sure you put in Mysummit your travel information so we can plan arrivals and registrations accurately. Should you change your plan after you completed the registration make sure to update your details or let us know via email.

Q: Who do I contact at EFIL if my flight is delayed and what do I do in that case?

A: - If your flight is delayed by a short time there is no need to notify anyone.
   - In case your delay is long enough to affect your transfer to the venue on arrival day please contact Alma via email (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org) or the EFIL phone.

TRAVEL (continued)

Q: When can I leave on the 15th of July?

A: - There will be busses leaving the venue in the morning of Sunday July 15th taking participants to Oslo/the airport. More information about exact times will come later, once we have collected everyone’s travel details. In order to organized departure properly we need accurate information so make sure to fill in this part of the registration carefully.
   - We advise you to book flights that leave after 14:30 on the 15th of July. If there is an urgent reason for you to leave with an earlier flight please contact Alma (alma.rikardsdottir@afs.org) before you book. In no case we will be able to organize transport for you if you book a flight leaving earlier than 10:00am on Sunday 15th. Since our venue is located on an island there is no possibility to organize individual transfers to the airport.
   - Information about transport to and from the venue will be in the info booklet which we encourage you to have on your phone or printed with you during your travels to the venue.


Q: Is it possible to book your own accommodation outside the venue?

A: A part of the VSS is staying together at the venue and in the offered accommodations. It is not an option to stay outside of the venue.

Q: Can you recommend any budget hotels for before and after the VSS?

A: - We recommend checking www.booking.com, www.hostelworld.com or other similar webpages to find budget hotels to stay at before and after the event.
   - Such bookings have to be made individually and EFIL is not a part of this process.


Q: How will the weather be at the VSS?

A: - Unfortunately the EFIL secretariat does not have an especially tight bond with the weather gods.
   - What we can tell you is that the event is hosted in the middle of July and the average temperature at the venue in this time of year is somewhere between 12°C and 23°C. There is a chance of rain and it might get quite cold in the evenings. If we are lucky it might also be sunny and nice.
   - We recommend preparing for different weathers. Dress like an onion, then you can rather take off layers if it gets too warm than being cold.
   - We also recommend keeping an eye on the weather. You can find the weather forecast here: https://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Buskerud/Hole/Krokkleiva/

Q: What is the attire for the event? Formal? Casual?

A: The attire is completely up to you. There is no dress code at the VSS but to give an indication, people tend to dress rather casually at this event. On the other hand, we do recommend taking the weather into consideration when packing for the VSS.

Q: Can I bring my spouse or other family members to the event?

A: - If they are AFS volunteers and have registered, gotten confirmed and payed the registration fee: Yes!
   - If not: The VSS is an event held exclusively for AFS volunteers that are registered participants. It is therefore not possible to bring external people to the venue.


AFS Norge
European Youth Foundation
Council of Europe