Friday, September 11, 2009
I recently attended the annual Peace Corps Youth Conference with a counterpart and two youth from my community. And, I must say that it was absolutely wonderful! I could not have been more impressed by the work and actions of my fellow volunteers as they put on the conference. This year's theme was Dream, Believe, Achieve and we spent 3 and a half days setting goals for ourselves and discovering assets within. We were divided into teams and I was part of "Blue, We Can" along with two other volunteers and their groups. During the conference we spent a lot of time outdoors playing teambuilding activities as we worked towards a common goal. All the activities were similar to those we experience at school field trips and summer camp, but they were effective nonetheless. These activities were meaningful to the youth as they had never done things like this before, with the exception of "The Great Egg Drop". When this activity was announced, my group groaned, "We have been doing this since 1st grade!" It was hysterical.
Other activities included making team T-shirts, crafts, relays, a career information session, karaoke and making s'mores!
This conference was not only special for all of its' activities but also for the new experiences for my youth. We traveled by overnight bus to Bangkok, neither of the girls had done this before and then hung out in the Peace Corps Office all morning. They saw how Peace Corps worked and perused our ever-expanding library. From there we traveled the beautiful province of Nakorn Nayoke, the site of the conference. Not only did my students meet tons of volunteers from America but they made friends with Thai youth from all over Thailand. For students who have never travelled before, these experiences will never be forgotten. It was truly special for me to be with my students while all of this happened.
So what of the conference? Well, my students and counterpart want to train the rest of our girl's youth group in the self-development activities that we learned and then the group hope's to lead similar camps or trainings around our area and expand to the provincial level. I would be honored and pleased to help them with this goal and look forward to seeing what these girls can do.