Over the past three weeks, I have spent both Saturday and Sunday at the Primaria (Mayor’s office) working on trainings for approximately 25 local youth. These youth have been participating in training sessions designed to give them a low-level of expertise in Project Management, Leadership and Volunteering. This is the second year of this project and the second year I have been involved in leading it (to read about the first year, click here). The goal of this project is to educate people in the community, in this case the youth, to solve problems within their local community through volunteering.
For the past three weekends, these youth volunteer to spend both Saturday and Sunday in these training sessions where they will learn new skills, meet other local youth, and hopefully be motivated to design, manage and complete a project in their community. During the first weekend the youth learned about Project Management, Project Idea and Design and Teamwork.
During the second weekend, we split the youth into groups and organized small sample projects in the community – some went to a local grocery story and collected food for an organization that helps patients with TB, another group conducted a survey about recycling, another group made cards for some older citizens, another group made a video promoting volunteering, and another did some trash pick up around the local lake. This is designed to allow the youth, some of whom have never volunteered before, a chance to experience volunteering for themselves. We also covered Marketing, Fundraising and did a review of their MBTI test that involves lots of hands on games and activities.
This weekend youth participated in a project simulation and learned about proactivity and advocacy. Today these youth selected projects, teams, and were assigned mentors to help them in their community project. They will have three months to complete this project.
And with that, the second year of youth trainings is done. All that’s left is to mentor and monitor the teams, making sure the youth finish projects and have any assistance they need in doing that. That means that for the next few weekends, I won’t be working.
It also makes me nostalgic for last year. This year was different. Its with a new team of Peace Corps Volunteers, with a new team of youth leading it (two of whom were participants last year), there are less participants this time around (by about 7 per day), there’s less turnover in the participants. But more than these superficial differences its different because for me, its not new. Last year at this time, I was seeing these trainings for the first time and now, I feel like I am seeing them for the last time. In some ways its nice, I know what to expect, how to manage a class, I can speak to the youth freely (my language is a year better), but in other ways its sad and frustrating.
It been great getting to see a new group of youth and interact with them. Its been great having so many Peace Corps Volunteers coming into town to see this project, because they are thinking of starting something similar in their own community. I look forward to seeing the great projects that this year’s crop of youth will complete.