This weekend I am in Elbasan with 40 students and about 16 PCVs from all over the country at the Outdoor Ambassadors Youth Leadership Conference. Despite heavy snows all over the country (even in Elbasan last night!), we all arrived safely and are immersed in the thick of project idea brainstorming, team-building exercises….and a bit of fun, too! We had to cancel the nature hike, but a riveting game of jeopardy with questions from the “worst case scenario” survival book was a great ice-breaker.
It’s still amazing to me to be involved in an organization that can bring people together from every corner of the country towards a common goal. I love seeing the students interact and feed off of each other’s energy. The two students I brought with me from the club I lead in Lezhe are so confident and independent…even in comparison to when we traveled together to the summer camp last June. Seeing this is inspiring for me in my frustrated-with-the-bashkia winter slump, and I am so proud of how far they’ve come.
Right now we’re working on developing goals and objectives for community projects, and we’re reassessing their film night project to try and see what steps they can change/implement to create a successful, effective project to promote volunteerism and care for the environment in Lezhe. It’s nice to let them develop the ideas themselves….and get feedback from their peers in other cities.
A big thank you again to all who contributed to the Peace Corps Partnership grant that helped fund this weekend conference. Two days may not be much, but for these high-school students it’s an inspiring experience of a lifetime. Oh, and it’s fun for me, too!