Published: 29/05/2013 16:12
Where am I going? Where am I heading? What country is this around which I am wandering?
No better way of facing up to ourselves than summoning up the courage to push ourselves beyond our limits.
Trivial questions that become essential when attending the training course "Exploring new shores: great changes create chances", at which the challenge was to transform the problems arising from circumstantial changes into professional and personal opportunities.
Here we are, set in our ways, unable to escape from the minutia of our lives. Counting the days, the hours and the inactivity that becomes truly oppressive. Most of us, when we're young, can already envisage ourselves going our own way as our path in life unfolds. But the future is still rather daunting. So we need to throw ourselves into a project, something completely new, do some team work, something for others, with others and under the orders of other people. It's not that easy to move from one environment to another; to move from being a young person to being a young adult. The five-day course "Exploring new shores: great changes create chances", which took place in the Jura, addressed these types of change and questions such as: Where am I? Where do I want to go? and How do I want to get there? Twenty-two participants from various different European countries got together to learn how to change themselves in order to change others.
Emotions as a means of reflection
In order to achieve the goals of this training course and be able to set goals and understand one's skills so as to make good use of them in voluntary programmes in particular, Oliver Schneitter, President of the Naturkultur association and organizer of the training course "Exploring new shores", gives us this roadmap: In a world that is too rational, often devoid of sensitivity, our emotions are undermined, and all we have left to think with is our head. We need to get back in touch with our emotions to think differently about people, the world and ourselves. No calculations are needed, we just need to be alone with ourselves and learn to make decisions that are not irrational but more in harmony with our skills, our needs and our ambitions.
Informal training through play is used to help participants discover that emotions are ubiquitous and cannot be excluded from our thinking process. The setting in which some of the more sceptical participants had the most memorable experience of their lives was certainly rather special. To show that emotions can help to guide us and see the risks that each of us is prepared to take in order to achieve our goals, the venue for this journey of sensory discovery was an adventure playground. But rather than just the aerial walkways and the pride the young people experienced in challenging their own limits, it was the support and mutual assistance offered by the group that enabled the participants to feel confident.
Group dynamics or the importance of other people
The small group size was a major advantage according to Oliver Schneitter, as it facilitated sharing, discussion and solidarity. Another parameter came into play in the desire to be together – the course took place in the Jura mountains. Far away from everything so as to prevent constant external activity interfering with personal development tasks; sometimes it's necessary to be alone. Throughout the week, the focus was on the group's energy and dynamics. Close cooperation is a kind of wave that sweeps everyone onto the same shore and is essential in voluntary work.
After this first attempt at trying to change where they were, where they wanted to go and how they wanted to get there, to change themselves in order to change others, the participants summed up their motivation and energy in the following declaration:
“We are friends from different countries, We follow non-formal education, We believe in Youth in action, We only eat chocolate and cheese, Now we are part of the game, With enthusiasm and energy, We are here to make a change, We are here to share our skills, Exploring new shores during 5 days, It’s a challenge but we’ll succeed, We create the world today”, youth is what the future needs!