Apr 27, 2011

Third meeting of the Volunteers: a step forward

The vans taking the participants to the 3rd Meeting of Youth Volunteers organized by the Red Cross with the delegation in Braga left with a half an hour delay. Still, even while waiting for the trip to begin the volunteers of different projects began conversations especially during a so called “ice-breaking activity”, when they were given screws and bolts with the aim of finding a matching pair for themselves.
After a while the group arrived at the Diver-Lanhoso, a natural scenery, filled with freedom and heat that was awaiting them. The participants gathered by a sort of hut made ​​of wood in a rustic Portuguese style.
There was a climate of uncertainty and shyness during the first common attempt to understand the expectations of the participants about the meeting. Nevertheless, the first resistance to communicate was overcame since the main goal was to meet and integrate people working on other projects taking into account that due to the project diversities it is difficult to create relationships outside particular groups.
However, very quickly the shyness turned into curiosity and activeness during a group dynamic called “Legal framework of volunteering”, which objective was to consider the geographical distribution of population and economic wealth on the five continents. Together, the participants reached the conclusion that countries with the lowest population are the richest, contrary to those with a higher population.
These findings enabled clarifying an important role of volunteerism in society and addressing various aspects related to numerous types of volunteering, the volunteers´ rights, duties, etc.
The afternoon was dedicated to radical activities: paintball. Since it is a team activity it allowed the volunteers to intercommunicate and approach each other more.

Later that evening, there was a presentation on the values of the Red Cross
and various projects under both the delegation of Red Cross in Braga, but even more specifically the Youth Red Cross. The last presentations were prepared by the volunteers themselves, because they-better than anyone-know the characteristics, objectives and activities undertaken within their projects.
After the dinner, the volunteers had time for entertainment: they could talk, play cards, dance, etc.
The following day started with a training on "Youth Policy and Strategy ", where the volunteers could analyze and reflect-initially in small groups and afterwards all together- the various propositions contained in the document they were handed with respect to the youth policy and strategy matters.

In the morning the group played a game incorporated into one of the projects "Healthy Food", in order to realize in practice the essence of the project.

Just before it was time to go home, the volunteers had the chance to share their reflections on the meeting results. In general, the volunteers´ assessment was very positive, they were glad about the new relations built within the group, the quality of training and balance between the free time for socializing and training time.
What was sure is that the team has taken a step forward towards a more pro-active and cohesive group and despite the impression that the participants still had a lot to learn and do, everything was good…

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