From 13th to 18th August 2021, our Erasmus+ Training Course “Under Pressure – Wellbeing for Changemakers”, took place in the European Castle in Neumarkt in der Steiermark. 25 youth workers from Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Spain gathered together to share best practices, learn new things about wellbeing facilitation, and try out their own methods and tools. Our training targeted trainers, facilitators, and young people who are active in youth work. The training course was orientated on their needs focusing on their own wellbeing and supporting young people in their projects or activities. The training had a two-fold objective: Participants cultivated wellbeing, learned about their main challenges and ways to overcome them, and got to know wellbeing methods, activities, and tools. The content was tailored to the participants and, in a way, also co-created in an emergent way with them, as this is an important part of wellbeing.
During the first two days, we focused on theoretical input and reflection on the participants’ understanding of wellbeing. Important concepts that we discussed were, for example: stages of group development in terms of group dynamics, the comfort/learning/panic zone model, the PEMS approach to different learning styles (practical, emotional, mental, spiritual), and how to give and receive feedback. Together with the participants, we went from the personal level to the professional one, first elaborating what wellbeing means to each of us individually, and then on to how we can foster wellbeing as trainers or facilitators and ensure group wellbeing during different types of activities and workshops. The participants were actively involved in discussions in bigger and smaller groups, as well as in presenting results of group work. This was to ensure the relevance of our input and to make the outcomes as useful to our participants as possible. The second part of the programme was more practically oriented towards wellbeing facilitation and trying out different tools and methods. Our participants had the chance to sign up for different activities such as energizers, 20-minute workshops and 40-minute workshops. They could also choose whether they wanted to practice leading activities individually or in small groups of 2-4 people. After each of the activities that were facilitated, they had the chance to receive feedback from the others. In the evenings the participants had the chance to socialise and get to know each other. A lot of the time, the exchange of knowledge and experiences directly related to the topic of wellbeing continued during their free time in the evenings and throughout the day. Furthermore, by offering “fun” activities such as an Erasmus+ pub quiz and an informal cultural evening, we showed the (future) facilitators and trainers more ways to engage and educate their own participants in a less serious environment.
All in all, the training course “Under Pressure – Wellbeing for Changemakers” was a huge success for both the organizers and the participants as well as the partner organisations in the six different countries. A lot of best practices were exchanged, new methods and tools tried out and youth workers equipped with knowledge about their own wellbeing as well as how to facilitate wellbeing for others.
This project is funded by Erasmus+: Youth in Action, the Alps-Adriatic-Alliance, Land Steiermark – Bildung und Gesellschaft and Jugendreferat – Land Kärnten.