Becoming a Strong House in the EVS Realm | Becoming a Strong House in the EVS Realm

Becoming a Strong House in the EVS Realm


EVS Realm Logo

Between the 25th and the 31st of August 2017 we had the pleasure of delivering a fairytale training. We have prepared it carefully and passionately and we have been greatly rewarded by the beautiful people who have accepted our invitation to the magical EVS Realm.

Becoming a Strong House in the EVS Realm was the first training of the „EVS Realm: Masters of the Learning Path” project, that we started implementing in March 2017 with our partners Pro Vobis-National Resource Center for Volunteering (Romania), Politistiko Ergastiri Ayion Omoloyiton (Cyprus), ANAWOJ (Poland) and CEV – European Voluntary Center (Belgium), financed through Erasmus +, Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnerships – Youth.

The whole adventure took place close to Ruscova, a village in Maramures, in the north of Romania. We climbed a forgotten peak, hidden through green hills and beyond winding roards, where the strong air and the landscape inspired us every day.

We went meticulously through all the steps of EVS project management, focusing on the learning adventure of the volunteer, and understanding how organizations can support this meaningful learning journey. We have discussed about the roles of those who support the implementation of such projects, about concrete cases from previous experiences but also about the ingredients of success – liquors kept in bottles of various sizes and colors – helping us distinguish between common projects and real life experiences.EVS Realm1

We have learned and got inspired from the rich experience accumulated by Team for Youth Association from Baia Mare, host of over 190 EVS volunteers (short and long term). We had them as best practice example and as they were located nearby, we have invited them in our story. Juste – EVS volunteer from Lithuania and Steli – EVS volunteer coordinator visited us and showed us their way of involving volunteers, their methods of making sure the community needs are considered in the project development and their adventures of so many volunteers living together, that turned to beautiful memories after projects finished.
EVS Realm3

Each one of our participants went through a personal learning process, guided by the masters of the Realm. The masters gladly shared their tools, misterious wands and vast experience earned over years of EVS implementation, hosting, sending, coordinating as well as collaborating with the National Agencies, the trainers and mentors involved. Just like each EVS volunteer concludes their learning experience with a YouthPass, the 28 youth workers in the EVS Realm received their own certificates and the magic keys of the realm, where learning happens.

There are many things to be said about what we have discovered together during this fairytale week. Here are just some of the confessions of our newly assigned masters:

EVS Realm is located in a natural environment, far away from what we are used to seing in our daily lives. It is unique. I have leaned a lot about key moments in an EVS project, about different roles of the characters involved and, of course, about the importance of recognizing the acquired knowledge as it is described by the learner. I have met a lot of people I am now grateful for knowing.

Maria – Cyprus

 

I must say I have learned a lot and I am very happy I decided to come here. I am thrilled with the quality of this training. I have felt that everything has been carefuly thought out and proffessionally prepared, with great focus on detail {…| It was especially useful for those of us involved in Erasmus + projects, EVS even more, that we have had enough time to discuss and understand all the things we did not know before {…} The most important thing for a Host Organization is to design the project in such a manner so that it fits the needs of the community and the learning process of the volunteer. This ballance is very important because our projects are doing more than just bringing more people.

 Katarzyna – Poland

EVS Realm is a place in which you need to find the magic potion and the special voice of the storyteller to better understand and build a true EVS Strong House. This has a foundation, because everything starts from the foundation. Here is where we determine how everything works and how to prepare yourself. Then we start building and reaching our walls higher and higher. I already have some project ideas in mind and I am looking forward to start working on them.

 Sven – Belgium

 There is a huge difference between what is written in a guidebook and what you can learn by talking to people who have already had an experience. I found it invaluable for me to receive all these examples and form connections to people that have already gone through this kind of projects. I have now a list of „tips and tricks” that I surely would not have found anywhere else. I am very happy to have entered this Realm.

 Lorena – Romania

The connections among us grew stronger and stronger during the 5 days of learning and play, without us realising it. We got back home having more friends and future partners in developing quality international volunteering projects and with a common vision about what this quality is in European Volunteering and what each of us can do in our organizations to turn them intro Stron Houses, ready to overcome difficult times and host learning stories in the extended EVS Realm.

The good news for the first 28 inhabitants of the Realm is that our journey will not stop with this training. We have already planned to consolidate this new professional community and invite new Masters of the learning path in our EVS Realm and to support each other in our future projects. For the organizations that could not join us in the Realm at this time, we are preparing the first output of our project – the training design with which they can train their project coordinators themselves, as well as the future outputs addressed to the mentors, and their training course this summer, in Cyprus.

EVS Realm2