Contact with nature and challenges in the open air. These allow you to calm down and reach for your true potential and needs. How to use this knowledge after returning home from the environment and not fall back into everyday habits? This “transition” was mentioned during a meeting of trainers and coordinators of the FOLM project from Scotland and Poland. For two November days, they exchanged experiences and best practices in work with young people in Olsztyn.
You are standing, closing your eyes, feeling your legs touching the ground and your body locating in the forest space. You are here and now, relaxed and calm. After a while, you open your eyes and look for an object around you, which symbolizes what will probably happen in your life during next week. What awaits for you after returning from a trip. What are you afraid of? How do you see your reality? This simple exercise shows the patterns and fears that are stuck in the subconscious. It gives to coaches and trainers tips to work on attitudes, overcoming blockades and shows young people that they have the driving force over what will happen. And especially the direction of thinking. These are elements of the “outdoor learning” method developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the non-profit organisation Venture Trust. Their representatives visited Olsztyn just before the last weekly trip to the forest of another group of participants of the FOLM project this year.
– The most difficult moment for participants is to return home after a week full of new challenges, acquaintances, relationships– explains Dorota Wardyn, coordinator of the FOLM project in Warmia and Mazury. – Staying in the forest is a reset, a stepping stone from everyday life, and returning to it can be difficult. However, you can anticipate certain patterns in advance, prevent them, and develop a new approach to problems. Catch a distance and look from the side at everyday life, habits, relationships with loved ones. Get rid of labels assigned by the environment and yourself– she adds.
Group games, tested by coaches from Scotland and Poland, are there for it. Example? The stage and the audience are arranged. One of the trainers takes the “microphone” and conducts an interview with one of the participants: “What will be the first thing you do when you get home?” A serious question given in a light way. Fun called “time machine” is a mental leap to the future that influence, better understand and correct our habits. It teaches not only planning, but also sharing your feelings and thoughts. The program of the workshops, that took place in Olsztyn, also included exercises to get quick feedback from participants, which is important for trainers to provide information about emotions and feelings in the group. And also exercises for engaging the body helping to understand oneself, emotions and thoughts. Because according to the research of scientists, fear, shame or uncertainty find their way into various organs, they are manifested in tension or breathing problems. Workshop participants also created the symbolic silhouette of the “perfect trainer”. Among the necessary features were, incl. patience, empathy, charisma, mindfulness, modesty, responsibility.
– During work with young people, discover their potential and predispositions, first we must discover our own– explains Tomasz Jendryczka, prepper and field trainer in the FOLM project. – And this was the purpose of the exercise to indicate our own strengths and the function that we bring to the group by going on weekly trips. When we name our competences, it’s easier to share tasks and functions. And also to inspire young participants of the expedition to discover and name their predispositions and talents– he sums up.