Programme & action: Youth in Action programme, action 3.1. training course
Venue: Slavske, Ukraine
Dates: 10-17 October 2013
Participants: Michal Žižlavský, Petra Spurná
Training course Volunteer Direct took place between 10th and 17th October 2013 in Ukrainian mountain resort Slavske, about 2 hours train ride from Lvov. The main topic of the training was volunteering, voluntary service and management of volunteers. The Czech EYCB team was represented by Michal Žižlavský and Petra Spurná and for the first time in my Youth in Action experience, the Czech Republic happened to be the most „Western“ one among the participating countries. The idea of the organizers was to bring together a group of participants from solely Central and Eastern European countries and share their experience among each other. Besides us, the group composed of young Moldovans, Lithuanians, Poles, Bulgarians, Turks, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Georgians and of course Ukrainians.
Such unordinary composition of the participating group lead to frequent funny and challenging situations. Most importantly, it was very questionable if the official language of the course was really English, as Russian seemed to be used on a much more regular basis. And even better, some of the participants didn’t speak English at all and the communication with them usually required creative use of body language.
The program itself was very well structured and it was intended to introduce volunteering even to a complete newbies and guide them the whole way from understanding the basic definitions to advanced managerial techniques. The methods used were based on active participation and group work, often spiced up by various games and role playing. We tried to get the best not only from our different cultural background, but also from the varying levels of experience of the participants. The more experienced ones gladly shared their knowledge, for example through the “open book method”, when they chose a topic and explained it to a group of others, answering their questions and teaching them about the best practice. Special focus was paid also to the Youth in Action program and other various ways of funding voluntary work.
The formal part of the training was of course complemented by the informal one. We learned a lot of new and fresh techniques for ice breakers and energizers the program of course peaked during the intercultural evening, specific again by the composition of the group and the high number of participating countries. Besides that, we profited from the beautiful Ukrainian countryside during an afternoon trip to mountains, visiting a medieval fortress and a natural waterfall.