Besides of youth meetings and summer workcamps, those were described in my reports before, the hosting organization I am doing my project for (ICJA) organizes preparation of workcamp leaders as well as leads the seminar after the workcamp's season, detailed analyzing experience of each single camp leader he/she got during the workcamp.
This year the preparation seminar took place in Halle with more than 20 participants. Within three days we were able to talk about the positive and negative experiences of previous years, learn a lot of interesting methodologies, get basic information about the personalities we are going to have in our work camps (based on their profiles), learn to be one strong team.
First day we started with get to know activities. At the very beginning we started to use different games and methodologies applicable for workcamps as well. To remember participants names we used a specific game. The group built a circle, the first person told his/her name and a noun/adjective starting with the same letter as his/her name and showed some specific movement (up to his/her decision), the next person had to repeat the previous participants’ names-nouns/adjectives-movements. All the participants were free to help during the game.
During the second day we talked a lot about previous experiences of other workcamp leaders, how to organize daily schedule as well as what to do during the days-off, checking the group dynamic, etc. . Big time spot were provided for solving the cases. We were split up to 5 groups and got three tasks describing problematic situations happened in the workcamps before. We had to present these situations to the whole group and propose our solutions for it. As an example, five participants went out for a party. Four of them were passing the face control successfully but the fifth one was refused to enter the night club. How to solve it? Basically we decided that it is the task of team leaders to explain how dangerous as well as unpleasant this situation can be for the fifth person. Or the budget the team leaders got for the work camp were not enough for the workcamp. We proposed to have detailed plan of expenses for each day. At the beginning team leaders have to calculate the average amount of money per day they can spend - it should be considered as basis.
The last third day we learnt methodologies/games helping to keep the good memories about the group and workcamp. Some of them are: Secret Santa (secret friend), farewell letter. Secret Santa (Friend) game is a way of a fun present-giving and socializing, and it is conducted like this: in the middle of the workcamp a raffle is hold to pair every member of the team so that every person is given a ticket with his/her friend's name which has to be kept secret. Having a "secret friend", everybody discreetly sends their friends presents and /or anonymous letters (a compliment letter or even a love one). Anyway, it is a lot of fun to keep your identity secret until the very last day. Finally, on the last day of the workcamp, everyone gets together and the team leaders, who has the list of the secret pairs, calls participants by turns to discover the real identity of their secret friends. At the end, everyone gets to know (even better) the person who is their secret friend.
Farewell letter is usually used some days before the end of the workcamp. Team leaders prepare separate envelopes with each single name of the participants and put it in the common area. Participants are free to write some nice words to each other, put it inside the envelope and on the last day take the envelope with. Finally traveling back home participants will open their envelopes and have nice flash backs.
This meeting of future workcamp leaders prepares young people for unexpected situations happening in the workcamp you would never ever think about. It gives the opportunity to talk to experienced in this area people and learn more about leading the international group and group dynamics.