Life Love Youthapss was a Training Course held at the Inn at Dromoland located in Co. Clare from the 25th till the 30th of May 2014.
This training was part of a ToT experience: it was a training designed, implemented and evaluated by a group of trainers as a part of a long term training course for trainers organized by SALTO and Léargas – Youth Work Service (National Agency).
Trainers of this project were Laura Pierfelici (Vicolocorto, Italy), Clara Ciberga (Sci Catalunia, Spain) and Sophie Breuker (Fishbowl, Ireland).
The logistical support was guarantee by Alan Mac Mahon, who supported us also through his funny stories and traditional fairy songs. He did so great job! He even organized a dinner out in a restaurant on the grounds of Dromoland castles!
As part of a learning process, we (yes, I was one of the trainers, yuppi!), we had a preparation meeting in Ireland at the beginning of May where we created a first draft of the programme after the previous two seminars in Sweden (October 2013) and Spain (January 2014) and so many skype meetings and emails among us.
This Training Practice had one-day final team evaluations concerning the participants, the programme and our learning process immediately after the training itself and then, after a couple of weeks, a week of evaluation in a seminar in Calabria, Italy, where we took time to evaluate our individual roles and our learning outcomes.
Coming back to the training itself, the 4 days of it were aimed to improve the quality of the Youthpass process for the self-assesment and the recognition of the learning outcome of the EVS.
For that reason 15 EVS mentors and EVS coordinators from Spain, Ireland, UK, Poland, Germany, France and Hungary took part to the project discovering the philosophy behind Youthpass through a journey into the learning process using non formal/informal and self-directed learning, to explore Youthpass as a tool for learning and improving competences on transferring the learning outcomes into the Key Competences of the Youthpass certificate.
Among all the methods, there is one I personally loved: the M&M!
In this activity each participant could explore the role of being a mentor while at the same time being mentored by a peer. The support and dialogue created on this space was wonderful and it gave a voice and a shape to their learning.
Participants says about it:
“I really like the M&M idea. It gave me better idea about being mentor an it was good to have someone to bounce ideas off in a one on one situation”
As a results of the whole training, on the basis of the final evaluation, we can assume that the participant’s organisations have benefit of arising the professional competences of their staff, in particular someone in the role of mentoring, who is now able to coordinate or support EVS projects with higher quality regarding the learning impact on participants and learning outcomes analysis and, not less important, is really motivated on doing it.
“This is a great course for anyone considering being a mentor. It really give you a great perspective about what is involved, what your responsibility is, what to expect from your EVS participants and what they can expect from you. It clarifies about Youthpass and helps you to see where learning is achieved in order to help them fill in Youthpass. Formal/non-formal & informal learning. I would recommend this course.”
What we did?
After one day focused on group dynamics and getting to know each other, personally and professionally in our role and NGO context, we jumped into the topic exploring the learning process through different aspects (context, learning styles, recognition, validation).
“The doubts of others and mine too learned and defined more the concepts and made me realize that it´s not that difficult to find learning in every context of our lives (including personal and professional mixed or separated)”
These concepts were essential for participants to not only recognise how they learn but also how to support others in the learning processes.
“I hope to be able to apply in the best possible way what I practiced here in the volunteer´s everyday life. I really believe that awareness of the learning process is the key for the satisfaction of volunteers, in order for them to take the best from the EVS experience.”
The next step was to jump from learning process to learning assessment and the facilitation of this process: when does learning actually happen and how this can be transferable to different contexts and environments?
For many in the training this was a totally new concept but it was also a big ‘AHAH’ moment of the value of understanding and assessing one’s own learning.
“I can see learning now in places where I never would have soon it previously”
“Helped a great deal from the inside out. When you understand then you can help others understand”
Then, finally at the third day we start speaking about Youthpass and its key competences!
Could you ever imagine we did everything till now without speaking about this certificate?
Well, it was one of our purpose to stimulate participants to think “out of the box”, it was an hard challenge but we did it successfully!
Then, the final day was aimed at closing the whole training process sharing resources from within the group. Our group of participants came from different ranges of experiences within EVS, some had previous experience of being an EVS volunteer and now a mentor, others were simply mentors and some even first time mentors just starting their journey into receiving or sending volunteer, additionally we also had EVS on-arrival and mid-term trainers.
As a result we had a massive resource of knowledge within the group on all aspects of the EVS programme.
Quotes from participants:
“Was great to talk to others with experience and share informations and tools, it was great getting answers to the questions I had. I have made great contacts and people… I am sure I can contact in the future when I have questions.”
“I’m gonna use a lot of the tools that we shared. For me, it´s easier to use tools to understand things”
“Some of the tools are amazing starting points for our action plans. We still have to adjust but being able to receive and give meant a great deal for me.”
How everything ends?
Well, we took some time to create our own action plan for mentoring EVS volunteers and to fill our Youthpass with the support on their self-assessment of their peers and M&M.
And what about us?
We initially received almost 100 applications to attend to this course and the final evaluation filled by the participants show us we were able to reach the objectives of the project and to fulfilled their personal and professional expectations
It was hard and tiring experience but the special “spicy” group dynamic in our trainer’s team made our job easier thanks to all the laughings and jokes among us.
We are not the only ones who thinks that, because participants also says about us:
“I feel really comfortable and you were sharing good humour, good mood, good energy and passion about learning and about reflecting of the learning process.”
Keep following us and see you at the second edition, we will do our best to repeat it, be ready!