Tales from the volunteers

Croatia news

At their return from their Vocational Educational Training (VET) project in Croatia, young trainees from Askham Bryan College created a poster about their experience. This poster has been displayed at their college to show class mates what they did in their project and what they learnt.

Project part of Moving Feet Opening Minds, co-fundeded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and organised with Askham Bryan College and Velebitsko Kuterevo.
 
 

 
 

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As part of our Vocational Educational Training (VET) project Moving Feet Opening Minds, young trainees produced a presentation about their sport coaching project in Sweden. Back in the UK, they showcased the following PowerPoint to their class mates.

They all seemed to have a great experience out there, developing skills in sport coaching at IDEUM.

Project supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and organised with Newton Rigg / Askham Bryan College.

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Thanks to the “association Youth In Town” (in Martinique) which is partner on the project Moving Feet Opening Minds, Guénaël AUMIS and I went to United Kingdom from 4th to 17th of February 2018.

We met the staff of “Everything is possible” coordinator of the project who organized 2 weeks of trainings in Kirklees College and Wigan Warriors center where we learnt a lot about sport and coaching.

We have spent our first week at Huddersfield at KIRKLESS COLLEGE. The first day was intended to visit the school. Thereafter, we have animated French language lessons and presented Martinique to students group who came in our island from the 14th to 28th February. Guénaël and I get also the opportunity to participate and animate training sessions of KIRKLESS COLLEGE football team. Finally, we have been able to attend courses concerning injuries in sport and leadership. When Friday arrived, we have gone to Wigan in order to meet the three groups which will travel towards Martinique for a meeting oriented by Clair BROWN (Director EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE). Throughout this meeting, Guenael and me have the occasion to present Martinique to WIGAN WARRIORS and ASKHAM BRYAN students.

During the week-end, as football fans, we went to Manchester to attend Premier League game opposing Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium. A wonderful performance! The next-day, we had the chance to visit the mythic stadium of Manchester United called Old Trafford: The Theatre of Dreams! What a pleasure!

In the beginning of the second week, like the first one, we visited the facilities of the educative centre of WIGAN WARRIORS as well as the stadium shared by the rugby team (WIGAN WARRIORS) and football team (WIGAN ATHLETICS). Between training sessions of rugby that we made as coaches and as players, French language courses animated, physiology and gym courses that we followed, showed that we didn’t ease off. This second week was as intense as the first one.

We had a new opportunity to satisfy our thirst of experience around football in assisting to the game of Wigan Athletics against Blackpool, thanks to invitations offered by our partners of WIGAN WARRIORS.

Professionally, it was a very rewarding experience. The possibility to alternate theoretical courses and sports practice was interesting. The way to approach courses sessions is different from what we known before in the French system. Students are always working in groups and more empowered by their teachers. Personally, this period of two weeks in United Kingdom permit us to acquire experience and permit us to open our minds about various practices discovered in a foreign country.

This stay permits us to discover educative and sportive practices of British, to compare the habits and the whole educative system of our collaborators. Their welcoming, their rigour, and the education was the three aspects which impressed us particularly.
François-Xavier LABOURG

 

FRENCH VERSION

Deux semaine d’immersion en coaching en Angleterre

Dans le cadre de notre participation au projet « Moving Feet Opening Minds » grâce au partenaire « Association Jeunesse Dans La Ville », Guénaël AUMIS et moi-même tout deux représentant de « l’Union des jeunes de Monnerot » du Robert de Martinique (UJM), sommes partis en Angleterre du 4 au 17 février 2018, à la rencontre de la structure « Everything is possible » partenaire coordinateur du projet.

Ce dernier nous a mis en relation avec trois structures éducatives valorisant le sport et ses métiers. Ainsi, nous avons pu rencontrer des partenaires au sein de deux structures d’accueil :
- KIRKLEES COLLEGE
- WIGAN WARRIORS

Nous avons passé la première semaine à Huddersfield à KIRKLEES COLLEGE. Le premier jour était destiné à la découverte de l’école. Par la suite, nous avons animé des cours de français et réalisé une présentation de la Martinique au groupe d’étudiants attendu sur notre île du 14 au 28 février 2018.

Nous avons également eu l’opportunité de participer et d’animer des séances d’entraînement de l’équipe de football de KIRKLEES COLLEGE. Enfin, nous avons pu assister à des cours concernant les blessures dans le sport et le leadership. Le vendredi arrivé, nous nous sommes rendus dans la ville de Wigan, afin de rencontrer les trois groupes qui voyageront vers la Martinique pour une réunion orientée par Clair BROWN Responsable de la structure EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Lors de cette rencontre, Guenael et moi avons pu présenter la Martinique aux étudiants de WIGAN WARRIORS et ASKHAM BRYAN COLLEGE.

Le week-end arrivé, en tant que fanatiques de football, nous nous sommes rendus à Manchester afin d’assister au match de Premier League opposant Manchester City et Leicester City à l’Etihad Stadium. Un super spectacle ! Le lendemain nous avons eu la chance de visiter le mythique stade de Manchester United appelé Old Trafford : le Théâtre des Rêves ! Quel plaisir !

Au début de la deuxième semaine, à l’instar de la première semaine, nous avons visité les installations du centre éducatif des WIGAN WARRIORS ainsi que le stade que partagent l’équipe de rugby (WIGAN WARRIORS) et l’équipe de football (WIGAN ATHLETICS). Entre les séances d’entraînement de rugby auxquelles nous avons participé en tant que joueur puis coach, les cours de français que nous leurs avons administré, les cours de physiologie et de musculation que nous avons suivi, montrent que nous n’avons pas chômé ! Cette deuxième semaine fut aussi intense que la première.

Nous avons eu une nouvelle occasion d’assouvir notre soif d’expérience autour du foot en assistant au match des Wigan Athletics contre Blackpool, grâce à des invitations offertes par nos collègues des WIGAN WARRIORS.

Professionnellement, ce fut une expérience très enrichissante. La possibilité d’alterner les cours théoriques et la pratique sportive était intéressante. La façon d’aborder les séances de cours est différente de ce que nous avons pu connaître dans le système français. Les étudiants travaillent perpétuellement en groupe et sont plus responsabilisés par leurs professeurs. Personnellement, cette période de deux semaines au Royaume-Uni nous a permis d’acquérir de l’expérience et nous a permis de nous ouvrir l’esprit quant aux diverses pratiques découvertes dans un pays étranger.

En effet, ce séjour nous a permis de découvrir les pratiques éducatives et sportives des britanniques, de comparer les habitudes et le système éducatif de nos collaborateurs. L’accueil, la rigueur, et l’éducation ont été trois aspects qui nous ont particulièrement impressionnés.
François Xavier LABOURG

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In February, a group of students from Kirklees College in Huddersfield took part in a Vocational Education Training (VET) project in Martinique. During two weeks they were involved in activities organised by our partner Youth In The Town (Jeunesse Dans La Ville); teaching various sports to young people and coaching them.
This project is part of Moving Feet Opening Mind, funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Tyrone: “My favourite training activity was football because the children were really enthusiastic and that made me really enjoy coaching them”
“Professionally I have learnt how to coach children of different ages as well as how to overcome language barriers”

Alex: “During the project I have taken part in many different activities such as athletics football, gymnastic and synchronised swimming”
“My favourite activity was gymnastics because it was great fun to working with a large age range of kids and being able to teach them and guide them in their activities”

Qamar: “Each and every kind of activities was my favourite because the children I thought were very positive, very bubbly and also enthusiastic. They were very easy to work with and engaging at every session we took part in.”

Leigha: “Personally, I’ve learnt to develop my speaking skills, and being more confident in speaking to groups.”

Afzaal: “Professionally, I’ve learnt how to adjust sessions to meet the requirements of young people.”

Myles: “Since being here, I’ve taking part in many different sports I’ve normally never get the chance to do; for example basket ball, gymnastics and athertics.”

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Intro:

My name is Greg Reeve, 28 from London, and I have come to Brazil to volunteer as a Rugby development officer in a disadvantaged community in Sao Paolo. I have previously worked as a community coach for Harlequins, and in various schools and clubs around the world and have come to realise that Rugby can offer so much to individuals on a personal and emotional level. It can help teach invaluable life lessons and skills that hold great importance throughout our lives.With this in mind, considering all the social and economic challenges they are presented with, I feel that young people in Brazil could really benefit from the values associated with rugby.

 

I am based in Eldorado, Diadema, in Sao Paolo. It is a very disadvantaged area and by all accounts pretty dangerous. Despite this though, I have found the people here among the friendliest I have ever encountered; Particularly the staff at Acer Brasil. Acer is the organisation who are sponsoring me being here. They work with the most ‘at risk’ young people in the community, and do some incredible work in the poorest areas. The staff here have really helped me settle in to making my transition as smooth as possible.

 

The project:

Our primary focus is to use rugby as a tool to support the social inclusion of ‘at risk’ or disadvantaged young people in Brazil and the development of valuable skills such as leadership. Furthermore the project aims to share knowledge and best practice in rugby with teachers, coaches and young volunteers creating a sustainable workforce, and ensure longevity in the sport. I am a firm believer that the future of rugby lies with the rugby clubs, both new and established. School delivery is important to introduce young people to rugby, but I feel longevity lies in getting links established between rugby clubs and young people living in the surrounding Communidades (favelas).

 

The players here have incredible passion, and demonstrate rugby’s core values better than most clubs I have encountered in England. There is a real sense of comradeship, both on and off the pitch, and between both women’s and men’s teams. These players/coaches will be invaluable in inspiring the next generation of rugby players and imparting their understanding of the core values to those young people who will benefit from them the most.

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Unfortunately though, there are numerous obstacles to overcome. One major one is a lack of anywhere to actually practice rugby properly. Sao Paolo in particular is incredibly densely populated, and often the only option available is a concrete court. To put this in to some perspective, Watford, where I am from in the UK has a population of about 120,000 people, in approximately 22km². I have always felt that Watford is quite densely populated. Diadema on the other hand covers an area of 30.7 km², with around 390,000 people living there. There’s just no space. The other option of travelling over 10km to train is also almost impossible, as the cost of a bus ticket there and back could be the same cost as a few day’s or a week’s worth of food.

 

Secondly is the sheer lack of knowledge about what rugby actually is. Football is obviously the main sport here, but rugby has so much potential. In order to grow as a sport, people need to understand what it’s about, and really buy in to it. Education and training about rugby is particularly difficult due to the education system here in Brazil. Different age groups study at different times of the day, not 9-5 like in the UK. As a result, the vast majority of young adults work all day (to pay for university) and then study at night. It is thus difficult to find people with much free time to spare.

 

In Summary:

I have only been here a month, and I am sure I have a lot of lessons to learn, but at the moment I feel I have a vision and a plan to work towards. I am incredibly excited about what the next 8 months will bring, and am ready to put 100% in to everything I do. It is such a different environment to live in, and gives a massive sense of excitement just looking out the window every morning.

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As part of their Vocational Educational Training project in Malta, two vocational trainees created a How To guide “Low Season Bird Keeper”.

This project is part of Moving Feet Opening Minds, supported by the Mediterraneo Marine Park Malta and funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

This project guide has been created by Clare Barker and Jessica Watson.

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Hi, my name is Danny Pollard and I am currently volunteering for Everything is Possible (EiP) in Diadema, Sao Paulo Brazil. My receiving organisation and partner of EiP is ACER, who have a strong mission statement: “To rescue the dignity of children and young people promoting the transformation of the social environment. Serving our community using strategies for social transformation that correspond to their needs, sharing them actively with organisations and the public power at national and international level”.

I am a professional sports coach from Bradford, Yorkshire, 26 years old and always looking for a new experience. I was on a coaching course back in August when i met a fellow RFU employee who mentioned he had coached in Brazil. I felt an immediate sense of adventure, a thirst to help and a hunger to seize this opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to see the heart of Brazil, the true reality of the world for these kids and experience it for personal development and to help as much as possible?

My day to day activities include coaching rugby and football. There are 4 different locations for this, 2 “quadros” – indoor 5 a side pitches, a field and an astro turf facility a bus ride away. Initially i thought i was here to coach, to use my 9 years of experience across different countries and to help build the participation levels as well as ability. It took a week for me to realise i was wrong. It’s true i am here to coach, but thats my second job. My first is to help these kids, to bring them together, to rescue their dignity. Although these children have the basics of life, a roof over their heads, clothes and food (sometimes) it is the social and psychological area of their development which needs help. The roof over their heads is not pretty, the clothes they wear aren’t the best and the cruel reality is a lot of them will never experience life outside the urban jungle of sao paulo. ACER provides experiences, it has taken kids to Australia and to Hungary, soon they will host a trip to England. ACER provides volunteers like me to coach sports, teach art and music with the ultimate goal of showing these children an environment in which they are safe, no matter what they are experiencing at home, an environment they can feel confident, where they can thrive, where they can develop socially and learn that talking helps much better than physical reactions. My second job is the host for the first, a cover story, a disguise. Although i will continue to deliver the best coaching i can, i plan my sessions on enjoyment and on social dependency, encouraging them to feel as a family so they know in hard times and it feels they are on their own, they always have each other.

It’s not all work over here, i have a reasonable amount of free time which i spend with my fellow volunteer and house mate or at the local rugby club. I was lucky enough to click with Sarah and we get on really well. Which as anyone who has shared a house with someone knows, you can’t put a price on. I have been to the local football stadium to support the team (bought a t-shirt), been into sao paulo, a 2 hour multiple bus ride away, we have been to the beach and to the cinema, not as 2 people but mostly in a group of 5 or more. The people in Brazil are incredibly friendly and i consider myself very lucky to be amongst such genuine people. They have invited us out to family birthday events, down the local on a Friday night, round their house for a sunday bbq with their entire family. The novelty of having a gringo in town is quite a popular notion and everyone is always happy to meet us. I feel as though a lot has happened in the 2 weeks i have been here, a lot has changed for me and when reflecting i realise what a life changing experience this is and how it is helping me to become a more rounded, patient and empathetic person.

Why patient you may ask. Well, in my local area about 8 people speak English out of the 1000s that live here. When i was picked up at the airport Luiza didn’t speak English, my manager doesn’t speak english and nobody at the shop does either. It has been a steep learning curve and i work hard everyday to learn the language. When i coach i have english speakers with me, but they don’t always understand … it’s the most frustrating thing in the world! Trying to get an idea or notion across 3 or 4 times when it’s 30 degrees and you have 15 kids sat waiting to hear what you want to say and you can’t get the message to them! It requires saint like patience, but everyday i improve and learn new words. I have to, and i relish the challenge.

I think different people would react differently to this environment, the cultural shock of the infinite difference between England and this area of Brazil, Diadema – one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil. You could be intimidated, scared to leave the house alone. Never going out when it’s dark and feel isolated. I personally wanted to go out and experience, to make my own judgements and to see the reality first person. At a football game the other day i dropped $25 out of my pocket. A man covered in tattoos, stood in a gang of similar looking men in their 20s or 30s, the kind of men you wouldn’t want to see walking down the street at night towards you. He came over, picked it up, and gave it to me, saying something in Portuguese as he did so. I was so shocked, i think i might still be now! 10 years ago there were bodies in the streets here, crime and poverty at its worst. Today they are the same people, kind and honest at heart but just on the receiving end of a tough environment, when they can’t provide basics for their families or they get into an argument, they resort to what they know. Violence. They experience it at home throughout their life, the kids in the building now will experience domestic violence at home this week. We are all creatures of habit and we adapt to our environment. The Brazillians have adapted to theirs, and this has created a very unfortunate and sad place when you look beneath the surface. But if you give them a chance, if you catch them on the right day and if you are willing to put yourself out, you might just see something beautiful back. A culture of amazing people, friendly, creative and happy. Most of the time.

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We are now four months in to our course and have been in Sicily for three of those months, as we spent Christmas and New Years Eve at home with family and friends.

Before we went home the Summer season had come to an end and we had plenty opportunity to explore mamma Etna as well as increase our knowledge in the area. We were able to do some staff excursions where me and Nathan would do the tour to our colleagues and they could give us some constructive criticism back about how we could improve. As well as getting some hints and tips about how to sound better while working, it also helped me come to terms with speaking in front of a group which I was a little nervous about. We had some tutors from four different colleges come out the last week before we left for Christmas. During this week we showed them around Etna and me and Nathan were given the responsibility to do a tour for them on one of the days. We had some worries in the week leading up to this but I think we succeeded in making an enjoyable and interesting tour for them. It was a massive boost of confidence to get my first full tour over with, I feel much better now about going in to next season.

Since we have come home to Sicily I have had two of my friends visit for the last week, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to show them around the area and give them a chance to eat the amazing food. They were lucky enough to catch a festival we had no idea about when booking the plane tickets, celebrating the local saint of our village, San Mauro. The fireworks at this festival were absolutely amazing and blew any I had ever seen out the water, and as if it wasn’t enough seeing them at night, they would set them off at twelve o’clock in the afternoon as well!

Another day, we visited Taormina where we walked around the city showing them the amazing buildings and corridor streets. We even caught a taxi up to the highest settlement in that region, Castelmola and drank coffee on a balcony with an amazing view over the bay of Giardini Naxos. In the afternoon we even braved the sea down at Isola Bella which honestly wasn’t very cold for the 16th of January and I was surprised we were the only people swimming.

I am now focusing on getting in to a routine of learning Italian daily and trying to better my knowledge of Mount Etna. We have also planned to visit Messina and Palermo in the near future which I am massively looking forward to!
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As the summer season came to an end in early November the number of tourists in Sicily has dropped, thus reducing the amount of tours on Etna. White snow now lies over the black ash and lava changing the appearance of the Volcano dramatically, and it won’t be long until the slopes are filled with skiers and snowboarders.

This break in tourism has allowed us to further develop our knowledge of the Volcano, as well as explore some areas we have never seen before. We have been able to delve deeper into the massive Valle Dell Bove which has changed our perspective completely. We’ve explored different caves and visited more natural and isolated areas around the Volcano. All this new information has really helped us understand Etna and has made it a lot easier when explaining things to visitors about it.

Outside of working hours we’ve continued to explore the eastern coast of Sicily and even took a trip down to the southern city of Syracuse although the day was cut short by a rain storm, something we haven’t seen much of during our time here. We’ve also continued to socialise in the evenings with friends and take on some really tough treks around Etna.

There has been opportunity for us to practice what we have learnt, and a few weeks back Walter and I led our first independent excursion. Seven tutors from various colleges came to Sicily to take a look at the project Walter and I are currently partaking in as well as to plan future projects with Etna Finder. It was up to us to firstly make sure they were safe as well as provide them with information about Etna and Sicily as a nation. It felt great to take what I’ve learnt and really do something with it. After a couple of nervous moments I think we both did brilliantly and the tutors really seemed to enjoy themselves. Although they weren’t paying customers as such, I think it has set us both up perfectly for a successful summer season!
This break in work has also allowed us to fly home for a month at Christmas to see friends and family. I’ve really enjoyed my time back in England but I’m really excited to get back to Sicily and hopefully try and enjoy some of the ski season!

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My name is Walter, I am 19 years old and come from Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire. After attending high school in Harrogate I went on to do a two year Outdoor Adventure Sports course at Askham Bryan college in York. This course fitted perfectly with my interest in one day having a profession within the outdoor industry and taught me a lot about being a safe and effective leader in mountainous or lowland terrain as well as being able to manage a group in many different situations. I also learnt a thing or two about environmental science including geology and volcanology. After completing my college course and deferring my place at Cumbria university, I was ready to exercise the knowledge I have picked up from my course as well as enjoy the beautiful outdoors than here on Mount Etna in Sicily?

After six weeks here we have settled in to our home and the surrounding area brilliantly. We have felt amazingly welcomed by the Etna Finder team as well as the locals in the area we live, it seems everyone is very happy to help out where they can to make our stay as comfortable as possible and we have felt spoilt to say the least.

A typical working day will usually start by getting picked up in the morning by a guide, we will then travel to the pickup point for our guests and from there, begin the tour. We will visit a couple of places in the morning; the Bove valley, a vast plane of old lava fows in which the old and extinct volcanoes once stood or the Sartorious craters from 1865, named after a German scientist who mapped Etna so perfectly however two years after he died, the craters popped up which partially distorted his map and therefore taking his name in honor of his hard work. Depending on whether we have a full day or half day we will get a giant and important to note for us students, free lunch that will always consist of Sicilian cuisine – this is always very welcomed by me and my friend Nathan. After lunch we will visit a few more interesting and eye-catching sights around the volcano for example the Grotta della Neve, a lava tunnel or cave used to preserve snow for the production of ice in the 16th century. We may also see the old North side ski station where you can see the ruins of a three story hotel that was engulfed by lava flow in 2002. This place is particularly sad to visit for some of the guides who learned to ski in that area before the destruction of the lava flow as it is a much different place now, having seen pictures from before and seeing it now I can definitely sympathize with them and see how they find it hard to visit. One thing that is very interesting however is that they do not blame Etna for this because it is the nature of a volcano to cover land with lava, instead they try to hold the memories from before the lava flow in their hearts and try to see the land as a new beauty rather than dwelling on what it once was. They say you can’t adapt Etna, you must adapt to Etna in order to live there. And if you don’t like it you can happily move somewhere else.

So far we have mainly been observing the tours almost from a customer’s perspective and trying our upmost to take in information about different sights we go to, so that hopefully we can soon lead our own tours. The guides have been very good at making sure me and Nathan understand completely what they are explaining as well as our customers on the tour. Although I have learnt it doesn’t just take masses of knowledge about volcanology, geology and the flora and fauna on Etna but it is also about entertaining your customers so that they have as fun and interesting a day as possible.

In our free time we have explored some of the coastal towns, including Aci Reale and Taormina – these amazing places, both for history and for doing some snorkeling and sunbathing in the bays. We have also explored the city of Catania on various occasions and have made it a necessity to try the amazing seafood they have on offer within the city as well as discovering the intense nightlife, very fun! So far we have mainly been using public transport to get around, there is a reliable bus service to and from Catania that passes through a lot of the neighboring towns and villages which has been very useful to us. There is also a train service from Catania to coastal towns and also other parts of Sicily which we are yet to visit. In the last week we have acquired bicycles that Lorenzo, our tutor kindly got for us which are perfect as we have much more freedom to travel longer distances in our free time as well as doing some exercises while we’re at it.

One problem we encountered at first was the language barrier when in shops or a restaurant, for example asking for bags or making sure you don’t buy four bottles of lactose-free milk *cough cough*, however we quickly picked up the right things to say, not to say and not to buy and can easily communicate by this point. On top of this people are very quick to try and help you along, often pulling out there phones to use google translate or pulling in other people who speak a little bit of English which is very nice and helpful for us.

All in all our first six weeks have been amazing and I can’t believe how many different experiences I’ve had so far. I am very excited for the coming ten months!

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