Navigate your Inner Compass - Munkviken, Sweden, April 2015
Connected Elephant organised a training course on sexual identity in cooperation with A-net, an organisation from Sweden. This training course took place in Munkviken, in the North of Sweden. 22 participants from 8 different countries in Europe took part in this training course, which was supported by the Erasmus+ Youth in action programme.
The core of this training course was exploring our sexual identity. That is more than just talking about sex. This topic also implies these questions: where do I come from, how do I feel as the person I am now...? We focused on the body, relationships, patterns in our lifes and personal values which are related to sexuality.
We worked in four sessions: River of Life, Speed Date, Vulnerability and Methods and Tools.
River of life
Participants were encouraged to gained insight in their personal history by going back through key moments in their life, in an individual exercise. They shared their river in small groups, which showed that many of them had never looked at their life like this before and it was a touching moment for some of them. It set the direction for the personal reflection for many of the participants.
Debriefing outcomes on how participants felt were: "warmth and connecting", "safe and no judgment like with friends who know me." Trainers encouraged participants to answer questions such as "What can I do with what I know?" instead of answering these questions away.
Some participants had never looked at their life in such a creative way before.
Shaping their life in a river opened a lot of nuances for them.
This session helped participants discover their personal values and speak out in a meaningful way on topics which they never spoke out before. Reflecting and meaningful questions were asked during the so-called speed date. Participants worked in pairs.
In this group, this experience was a very emotional and deep way of reflecting about yourself. The participants got to know each other deeper and deeper. The whole group found a new profound level of exchanging personal information. Later on during the training course, some participants continued with this process on their own time in an informal way and very late into the night!
In a relaxed setting, participants were remarkably open about themselves.
The debriefing was quite emotional and connected very well the group for the rest of the journey.
Participants became aware of vulnerability in general and their own vulnerability in particular, with a combination of theory and confrontating exercises.
Theory input was based on the book of Brené Brown "Daring Greatly". The trainers believe that it is important to show your vulnerability, and definitely youth workers when interacting with young people on a sensitive topic like identity. Vulnerability was linked with confidence and in an exercise we tested participants' vulnerability in the "Paradise of the Senses". The debriefing showed that some participants felt comfortable whereas others were a bit uncomfortable. Some had to trust the parcours, others were very focussed on the end goal. This last remark rose the question about what is more important: the goal or being on the way?
The following session, "station to station", consisted in confronting participants to their own vulnerability.
The trainers are also coaches, and were available for a little chat and giving personal assistance if needed.
Relying on yourself strengthens your own confidence.
This is the key point for more vulnerability in your life and in our society.
Methods and Tools
Participants had an opportunity to share and try out their own methods and tools
The trainers gave the opportunity to the participants to share their concrete methods and tools with each other. This session was meant as a part of active participation of the participants: to share their successes with the group, but also to try out new thingscand ask for feedback in order to improve parts of their methods.
This session consisted in a mindfulness exercisee on the body, a contribution on how to inform young people on concrete sexual issues and work on emotions and trust in yourself.
Non-formal learning is about pioneering.
One of the progressive methods for young people to transfer information and much more is mindfulness.
Spontanious reactions from the participants on Navigate your Inner Compass 2015:
"This was one of the best TC's I've ever done - probably the best!"
"This training made a huge personal impact. I’ve done quite a few trainings but I’ll remember this one as one of the most exceptional ones. The activities were all very well commited to the topic, but never overshadowed the factor of enjoyment. I personally enjoyed how we succeeded in a very short time to be commited as a very tight and thrustful group of young people with a huge respect towards each other. (...)The trainers were rather invisible, and I say this with a huge respect towards them. They succeeded to guide the training without pushing themselves too much on the foreground."
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