This is a reference for Panayiotis Theodorou

“VOLU.M.E” - Volunteer Management Enhanced

The training activity took place
in Limassol, Cyprus
organised by NA Cyprus "Erasmus+:Youth in Action" (National Agency), co organiser, NA Italy (National Agency)
10-17 December 2015

Aims & objectives

The training course aimed at developing competencies of youth workers and organisations in specific topics of volunteer management and mentoring of EVS volunteers. The purpose was to enhance the quality of EVS projects as learning experiences in all levels, from the phase of writing of a project right through the closing and evaluation phase.

• Volunteering as a learning process
• Quality in Volunteer management
• Volunteerism movement
• Challenges in EVS
• Volunteer management steps
o Preparation of the organization for volunteer involvement
o Recruitment of volunteers
o Selection of volunteers
o Orientation and training of volunteers
o Supervision of volunteers
o Motivation of volunteers
o Recognition of volunteer merits
o Evaluation of volunteers and the volunteering project

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

Participants were selected by National Agencies of Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Spain, Cyprus.
Participants profile:EVS mentors/tutors, participants should be involved in EVS projects, EVS coordinators or Ex EVS volunteers. Participants had been involved in at least 1 EVS project;

Training methods used & main activities

Non‐formal learning methodology was intensively used during the training, making use of both individual and group methods, facilitated by trainers and taking into consideration participants’ learning needs with a creative and participative approach. Sessions were designed using experiential learning methods directly involving participants, their skills, previous experience, interests and potential for growth.

Examples of activities:
• Group building and team-building
• Brainstorming
• Group reflection and introspection
• Creative work
• Debates
• Working in small groups
• Simulations and role-plays
• Direct contact with the local community
• Thematic evenings

Besides the regular training activities and exploring of content, we placed a lot of emphasis on the opportunity to meet and interact with local actors in EVS from Cyprus, to understand better the Cypriot reality and support the development process of EVS organizations in Cyprus. The learning process for the local EVS organizations began in September 2015, when a local 2-day workshop was organized for Cyprus EVS accredited organizations, exploring the 9-step Volunteer management process and their challenges in EVS project management. The participants in this local workshop were invited to take part in the extended 6-day international TC – 2 of them were full-time participants representing Cyprus and another 6 local EVS coordinators and mentors took part in the open-day activities on December 15, 2016, consolidating their knowledge from the workshop and bringing their skills in EVS management to a superior level.

Outcomes of the activity

• We offered consistent time for the reflection process, a creative one, with multiple layers, offering time and space for participants to go deeper in their learning experience and express in detail what they acquired
• We gradually created a comfortable, safe, easy and enjoyable working atmosphere, intensively using the space available (indoors and ourdoors), the ideas and needs of the participants and the principles of non-formal and experiential learning, placing participants in the center of the entire process
• We placed the responsibility of facilitating the day of meeting the local community representatives on the international group, but only after carefully preparing them for this important and complex task
• We were amazed to see the energy, dedication and depth of the preparation participants went through, so as to ensure a meaningful learning experience both for themselves and the local guests taking part
• The reactions and involvement of participants in each and every single activity far surpassed our expectations, proving to us an efficient selection of the participants present as well as the importance of gradually building the group so as to perform in the content part
• We are very pleased to see extremely concrete results coming out of the training – 3 project ideas to be submitted for the February 2, 2016 deadline and potentially more in the future
• The cooperation and communication among the group was very intense and continued after the TC as well, using the facebook group created as well as personal, more direct contacts
• We feel the training course achieved its goals to a higher level and has had a very positive impact on the participants learning and also on a personal development aspect, after reviewing the evaluation and feedback that was given.
• The space offered was a crucial element for a proper learning process and we were fortunate to have a very diverse and beautiful working environment, which supported and enhanced the learning experience, aspect that was noted by all participants present
• We believe the format and structure of the TC, together with the methods applied and the mix of games and activities, as well as the general pedagogical approach and working principles have created a unique learning experience that can be multiplied and extended, in other settings as well, so as to benefit more organizations involved in the EVS implementation
• Participants appreciated the concrete level of discussions and debates, the sharing of very real experiences in everyday EVS management and learning from each other through this exchange, which is still more needed on the large-scale in the EVS movement.
• Volu.M.E as an ENHANCED training process for EVS issues is not for beginners. It is addressed to participants that have had experience and have faced or are facing EVS – Volunteer management – challenges. It has aimed in assisting and supporting participants with their specific needs in an experiential process also enhancing personal development within the topic. It achieved dealing with issues of a second and third level of depth concerning Volunteer management in EVS.

From the evaluation which we attach, we have extracted some of the most relevant and powerful evaluation points participants stated and which we think are really valuable concerning their own process and results:

“I have some ideas how to create processes that would end up in motivating the volunteer.”
Auli - Finland

“The most important is that we learned but we enjoyed at the same time, so for me it was amazing the feeling when we finished and a as a team we were thinking we did it together, it was great. I think I learned as a person and we learned as a group.”

“I learned a lot about the workshop through non formal methods and about me inside the group…”. “I feel more confident now about me in a group and my creativity. At the end if the group is here to support me …. “
Ben - France

“My most challenging moment was working in the groups and finding my own role and finding the balance. What I appreciate…, I honestly appreciate every moment. What I take back with me: knowledge, new friends, new connections and maybe a wiser me.”
Reka - Hungary

“Best moments are going along with my most challenging moments. The most challenging moments also have been the best moments, because these were the moments I was challenged and learned something, and had to get out of roles or see with a different perspective.
I appreciated that:
“It was first of all a well thought-through learning process or better a careful and sometimes nearly invisible guidance by you guys (facilitators), applied methods, composition of the methods, sometimes the invisibility of certain things which started on the first day and which just revealed, this was great moment they were packed just today out and this was a magic moment and I really enjoyed it.
What i take back with me: the achievement of all my 4 goals, an envelope full of memories and being one hundred percent sure of what we are doing is the only right thing to do.
Thank you for this fantastic week.”
Markus - Germany

“If you would ask me about my most challenging moment in the TC, I couldn’t give an answer. There was no one. It runs always in a really good flow and I didn’t feel me under pressure at any time. The trainers supported us in a very good way. They gave us a lot of inputs and let us many, many space to experience the topic by our self. Non-formal learning at the best. They show us, what could be possible if you trust your partners. Yes, I felt me as a partner not a student or something like that. And this was the best example, how an EVS should run.
Thank you to all who were responsible for that opportunity.”
Michael - Austria

“Lack of time does not exist. What exists is the lack of interest. When people want the dawn becomes daylight. Tuesday becomes Saturday and a moment becomes an opportunity !!!”
Ilaria - Italy

“I was impressed by the group support and how everyone built on each others skills and character. I really appreciated how the whole training was delivered, how trainers made us think, ask and deliver and especially how they brought everyone together. Also how everyone expressed themselves, their happiness, misunderstandings that might occur through the tasks and how everyone build on learning for themselves and from each other.”
Alexis - Cyprus

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I acted as a co trainer with Corina Pintea (Romania) implementing fully the activity in Cyprus. As a host trainer i was also responsible for the coordination with our National Agency ensuring the quality of all aspects, both content but also accommodation.

I worked on this training for 6 days as a full time trainer.

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