Lenka, Erasmus+ intern at Zavod Voluntariat, shares with us her impressions of the training Upgrade Yourself, organised in cooperation with INEX-SDA in the Czech Republic in which she actively participated last month.
Being a volunteer is an essential part of mylifestyle and every chance to help me improve my skills for this matter is a great opportunity. I am really glad that I managed to participate in the training Upgrade Yourself in Maribor, as I am eager to upgrade my skills 🙂 The training was organised in cooperation with our Czech partner INEX-SDA that I already knew because I am studying in the Czech Republic and was involved in one of their project as a volunteer for about 2 years. My expectations were therefore really high because of my previous positive experience with this organisation. And, to be honest, I was excited to speak in Slovak with ˝our brothers˝ from the Czech Republic (we still understand each other perfectly since our country split into two in 1993). It was really nice to change English for my mother tongue for a while.
I was a bit curious about how the training would look like. I had participated in Youth Exchanges and I knew trainings are supposed to be more intensive. At the same time I joined the training just on its second day, since I went for a short visit to Slovakia to attend 2 weddings (in the same day :)), so I was tired as hell when I arrived in the evening and I tried to remember at least some of the names, especially of my roommates. It did not really work out and I failed miserably, but I managed to get to know all the participants until the end of our training.
The issues that we covered were really broad; from coaching techniques and tools, non-violent communication, leading of meetings, creativity and motivation to evaluation tools. If you are curious about how we managed to squeeze all this topics in 5 days I can just tell you that we had a loaded programme and the best trainers. My favourite session was about motivation because it made me think about it in more depth and I saw new connections with motivation in my everyday life. I also enjoyed the creative way in which the session was carried out. The session on non-violent communication was very enjoyable for me. It started with a brainstorming about a situation that involved an orange. We were introduced to a situation where 2 kids are in the kitchen and they notice that on the kitchen table there is an orange. Our task was to come up with the most possible scenarios that could happen with that orange. It might sound ridiculous but our answers were connected to the concept of non-violent communication and all the participants enjoyed this session greatly. We were also introduced to an app that is being developed by Voluntariat and INEX-SDA that should help you track your volunteering experience and convert it into competences. I find it incredibly useful because sometimes it could be really hard to realise what competences you gained during your voluntary experience. If you are curious you can check this link that enables you to download the app: http://improve.inexsda.cz/. Currently it is available in English but soon it will be translated to Slovene, too.
The participants of this training were truly inspirational people who motivated me to be even more involved in voluntary activities. As I am now doing my internship in Voluntariat, I cannot wait to be involved again in my local community and in my university. All the people that I met had vast experience with working with young people and project management. For me, sharing the good practices is always an invaluable asset. I had such a great time with them that I am positive that I will definitely grab a beer with someone during me next visit to Prague. All the participants created an open environment and we really clicked together as a group. The activity that strengthen our relationships the most was the appreciation session. There we appreciated each others for a few minutes. Who wouldn’t like being appreciated, right? It was a great way to finish this training for me personally, I could express my respect and admiration for all these wonderful people and their great work. I didn’t felt this good and inspired in a really long time and this training was definitely one of the best experiences of my internship in Voluntariat.