This is a reference for Elena A. Russo

TC A crew for better sailing the youth work

The training activity took place
in Torino, Italy
organised by Associazione Eufemia
13-21 Nov 2019

Aims & objectives

So called soft-skills are key factors (or better competences!) for successful results and smooth process in youth work. The TC explored specific competences interlinking awareness, coworking, problem solving, effective communication, conflict transformation, leadership and coaching. All of them are first lived by each participant as a person and then as a youth workers.

The overall goal of the project was to empower 24 youth workers and 8 organisations (from Italy, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria) through gaining more awareness on their soft skills, raising the quality of their educational work, value their impact on the target groups and also their working atmosphere.

The specific objectives to reach such an aim were to encourage participants to:
- Improve competences of youth workers according to the youth labour market interest and needs; as a youth worker trained in personal development is more responsible and able to respond to his/her target group needs, knows better how to cooperate with others and gains serenity facing the issues youth work encompasses.
- Acquire/boost abilities like: coworking, self-awareness, creative problem solving, conflict transformation, effective and empathic communication, leadership and coaching.
- Discover how different cultures, traditions, intercultural learning can enrich participants’ learning and professional experience to be applied in their own community with the purpose of a qualitative youth work framed in the wider value of the European Citizenship.
- Understand how non-formal education can positively influence participants’ work in their realities.
- Develop the ability to create new structure learning exercises and training programs.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

Participants were 24 youth workers, from Italy, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.

The training team and support staff was composed by 3 Italians, a German and a Latvian persons.

Training methods used & main activities

During the TC, trainers facilitated by non-formal education and experiential learning (learning by doing) strategies, methodologies and methods.

The main pattern of reference was the Kolb’s cycle of experiencing and processing the learning outcome derived event-wise. This means that all sessions included 4 phases each: 1. Direct experience/doing, 2. Reflective observation/reflecting on the doing, 3. Abstract conceptualisation/set the learning outcome from the doing, 4. Conscious experimentation + connection with life out of the activity/ bring the learning outcome of the doing to everyday life and to following activities.

Trainers planned to carry out individual activities, as well as in pairs, small teams and with the whole group; with the intention of directing training styles and methods to the different learning styles of participants, as well as to their interests and needs (NAOMIE).

To stimulate participants, the work happened in different settings, according to the features of each activity and alternates indoor and outdoor activities, as well as talkative, active and reflective ones. Finally, each activity included the enrollment of participants’ heart, mind and hand, to make out of the experience a holistic learning opportunity.

A meta-level of reflection has been always included to shift participants learning from the TC to their practice in youth work, in order to support them enforcing and updating smart and wise their toolbox.

Outcomes of the activity

During the last 2 days of the TC participants have created some dissemination tools for sharing the project results and have dedicated to partership building for common follow/up. Their cowork has started already there, while planning and running an evening session of non formal education for volunteers and members of Eufemia association vising us for the final night, in fact they have offered guests a story of the TC, introduced themselves and a workshop on communication.

According to informal feedback and sharing as well as from sessions dedicated to the learning outcome and the project evaluation, participants stated to have developed personally, through growing their self esteem and be more aware on how to overcome their limits. This brings to a more conscious and smart use of their soft-skills, mainly because of the challenges they have accepted and taken during the TC. Some of them have already outlined concrete possibilities of follow up, such as simple sessions with their usual target group and with partnership building for further implementation of the TC. Crew for better sailing youth work n.2 has been requested, with a special focus on coaching techniques and conflict transformation.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I have co-designed the TC since the idea was first formulated. Then I had written the educational part of its application. Finally I was trainer, escpecially on the sessions dedicated to: trust building, coworking, activities on judgments and different points of views, conflict transformation, body movement, performing.

I worked on this training for 8 days as a full time trainer.

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