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Let the silence speak to you – Insights from Laguépie, France

Discussions about shaping young minds has been a significant topic in recent years, especially in areas related to education. Allowing space for creative exploration, emotional expression, and the freedom to joyfully immerse yourself in activities seem to be at the heart of effective youth development. Fortunately for me, I was given the opportunity to explore these concepts during a training course I attended, “Youth exchange: From the idea to the project” held in the charming town of Laguépie, France. This project came at a very significant time in my life, as I am starting to delve deeper into putting these concepts into practice that will have an impact on the lives of youth.

The training lasted five days and was filled with interactive exchanges, games, activities, and icebreakers. I believe that it was the perfect mix of cultures from all parts of Europe, which created a dynamic and engaging learning environment. One of my favourite aspects was the diversity of the participants, which added so much richness to the discussions and collaborative efforts; having the privilege to hear such profound stories from people with rich personal histories simply elevated the entire experience in a way that was unexpected for me.

I am grateful that I had the chance to reflect on my personal style as a facilitator and mentor to youth. This opportunity was incredibly valuable for me, as it helped me understand my strengths and areas for improvement. I had the opportunity to facilitate my own creative workshop, aimed to inspire participants to step out of their comfort zone, which in the end, was both challenging and rewarding. Making sure that all instructions are clear and each participant feels comfortable and included is no small task. Luckily for me, the facilitators of the course and my fellow participants were constant sources of inspiration. Their dedication, creativity, and enthusiasm for youth development were their guiding light in every interaction and activity. Learning from their experiences and observing their approaches contributed a lot to my understanding and provided me with new strategies to implement in my own practice.

The element that sowed the entire experience together was the natural beauty of southern France, which provided such a serene and calming atmosphere, perfect for moments of introspection and peace; the charming town of Laguépie offered the perfect setting for our learning journey, and a holistic approach that nurtured both the mind and the spirit.

Lastly, I want to share one of the most meaningful lessons I learned over those 5 days: how to sit comfortably in silence. When we are immersed in an activity and look to always achieve a positive experience, sometimes, we forget that the most valuable lessons are learned in silence, in moments where we can sit comfortably with ourselves and others, not feeling the need to fill the air with unnecessary statements. This becomes especially relevant when working with youth, when we can learn to allow emotions and thought to exist all around us, not being overwhelmed with thinking of the best reply.

I will be forever grateful for this experience and training, which has equipped me with valuable insights and skills that I am eager to apply in my work with youth, hoping to create an environment where they can thrive and reach their full potential.

Georgina Kominovska

Georgina represented Volunteers Centre Skopje in the training course “Youth exchange: From the idea to the project” organized by Solidarités Jeunesses between the 1st and the 6th of June in Laguépie, France.