First, let me introduce myself.
My name is Maja, and since March this year, me and another girl from YMCA Bitola – Ivana, have been participating in a two-year project by World YMCA called “Change Agents”, precisely because after the trainings we are expected, as young leaders, to contribute to positive changes in youth and in the community we live in.
In this spirit, in the period between June 10-14, I participated in a regional training in Switzerland, alongside 40 young people from several European countries. The training was held in a scouting style, i.e. we camped and hiked, which only contributed to the great atmosphere and experience! However, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea that we were only having fun, so I’ll explain a little more in details.
The four-day adventure began by gathering all participants in the local YMCA’s headquarters (Zurich, Switzerland), with an introductory speech by those in charge and an organized sightseeing of the city. After the walk, we headed for the mountain cabin in which we resided, and in the meantime we were getting to know each other.
We started the following day by hiking in pairs, changing every 20 minutes, while talking on given subjects, with the intention of additional acquainting among the participants. With several breaks and hanging out along the way, we arrived at the place where we camped in the following three days, and we built the greater part of the camp by ourselves in order to get close to one another and to develop some sort of collaboration.
The following days we had short lectures on subjects which concern youth everywhere, such as unemployment, civic involvement, health, environment, youth programs supported by Erasmus Plus, description of the work and the responsibilities of the Change Agents. The program was really well structured that we mostly had group and pair discussions on the above mentioned subjects.
Each night we gathered around the camp fire and we shared stories from our countries, cities, communities, about the inflicted injustices to youth, to marginalized groups, or about all sorts of decisions or actions involving the whole population. We ended the evenings with songs and characteristic desserts from different countries.
At the end, I will share impressions from the last camp fire evening, which I will remember for a long time. Every participant was supposed to give three sheets of paper to three participants (whether those were Change Agents, trainees, scouts who took care of our commodity and safety during the whole training) who left the biggest impression in the previous days, and throw a stick in the fire for someone who will miss them. It’s hard to depict it this way, but it really was a beautiful and emotional moment for all of us.
The trip to Switzerland is over, but the more important thing such as Change Agents has just begun, so wish us luck!
Photo gallery of the event.