Last September week I commenced my second half of the EVS with perfectly organized mid-term training. The training took place in the beautiful city of Trakai just 22 km away from Vilnius, surrounded by wonderful lakes and greenery. This experience was elevating and uplifting in so many ways.
My mid-term training was filled with numerous sessions, workshops, debates and activities. For all of us it was time to collectively share and analyze the experience we had so far, learn from mistakes and appreciate the values we brought and were given as well. Trainings are usually lead by two experienced trainers, either from the field of pedagogics, psychology or social work, and they encourage participants to realize their own way, appreciate strengths and improve weaknesses, while not being afraid to ask for help or stand up for their own rights. For this particular training, it was Sandra, a professional educator and Kasparas, a social worker.
Apart from the workshops and sessions, we could enjoy a whole day of outdoor activities, specifically designed for volunteers to discover and observe their natural behavior and habits in team efforts of a group. This activity was particularly useful for me, as volunteer is never a deserted island, but cooperates with a number of people in any case. LGL is no exception.
The training was attended by 12 international volunteers, namely from Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine. Majority of the volunteering projects in Lithuania have to do with either social work or regional and national parks protection and maintenance. My project and my experience was therefore unique, as LGL is a human rights organization.
The usual mid-term activity used for evaluation and analyses of volunteers’ projects is “Six Thinking Hats”. This is a theory developed by Edward de Bono, a Maltese psychologist, who invented the term “Lateral Thinking”. His approach divides any situation into six parts, precisely based on 1) facts, 2) feelings, 3) positives, 4) negatives, 5) new ideas and initiatives and 6) the conclusions. For me personally this tool is exceptionally useful to approach any type of my daily endeavors, as sometimes it is very easy to forget that there is an opposite part to everything when facing challenges.
Besides the spa section of the hotel resort, my most favorite part of the training had to do with sharing and psychological support from the trainers. As I am mostly emotionally driven as a person, EVS can be a real rollercoaster sometimes. I think that it is essential for volunteers to know who they are and always draw from their own within. That is the only way magic happens. EVS magic as well.
LGL is carrying out the 10-month project “Democracy and Art Intertwined: Working Towards Empowered and Active LGBT Community and Allies in Lithuania” under the Erasmus+ program EVS (European Voluntary Service).