Last week Matthew from the YMCA Perth Staff team & Laura from YMCA Scotland flew to Paris in France to take part in the second ever YMCA Europe Leadership Academy.
The Leadership Academy exists to equip young people from YMCA’s all over Europe with the skills to manage projects, plan strategically and understand the needs of our communities as so we can best empower young people within them. Each year’s academy is delivered over three sessions spread out throughout the year with homework assignments in-between.
30 participants from 15 different countries attended and took part in a full week of training which covered topics such as YMCA history, mission and needs analysis. The Leadership Academy was facilitated by Olga Lukina from Belarus; Annika Thomsson from Sweden; Anastasia Larionova from Russia & Martina Hudcovska (Slovakia) who led us brilliantly by covering many topics in a relevantly short space of time.
Early focus was put on team building, group work and a good amount of time spent learning everyone’s names! It wasn’t long until the real work started which continued through to the very last day. Early starts and late finishes were a regular occurrence but this didn’t hinder the energy of the group who were all eager to learn and gain the most from this unique experience.
Matthew said: “This was a fantastic experience for so many reasons. Everything from the topics covered, the venue and especially the group of people taking part made this such a worthwhile trip.”
Highlights from the trip included fun adventures into the very scenic Paris to see such sights as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Games where a big part of the trip and many were played but one truly stood out for the whole week. Introduced by Thanassis from Greece, a simple game which included the lyrics, “I am a ping pong ball and I jump and I jump and I jump and I never ever stop” kept us going all week. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things to keep us entertained and energised.
Social mini projects were discussed in detail with each participant expected to deliver a project that meets the needs of their community. Many projects where discussed addressing issues such as immigration, environmental care and even cancer support. In Scotland, Laura and Matthew will explore the mental ill health stigma using the success of the #IAMWHOLE campaign already launched through YMCA England and Wales. We can’t wait to see and hear more about this project.
A big thank you goes out to YMCA France for hosting the first session and we can’t wait to take part in the remaining two sessions this year.
To find out more about the YMCA Europe Leadership Academy then please feel free to get in touch with ourselves or see YMCA Scotland’s website at www.ymcascotland.org