Project Description

Turn yourself into a story

The project’s idea is to offer a solution to the problem, related to engaging, motivating and keeping youth workers in civic organizations’ teams for a longer period of time. Practically, the “youth worker” should have a number of personal and professional skills, in order to be successful. He/she is burdened with the mission of supporting youths in hardship, working with them permanently and preventively, developing their key competences – civil, entrepreneurial, communicational, etc.on a terrain, where he/she encounters all kinds of situations. This means that he/she must first possess this complex of competences, which keeps enriching itself and demands constant learning and development, in the ever more complicated context of youth work. 

The project is based on the idea that a person has to know him/herself very well, find out who he/she really is and what he/she’s best at. We believe that a person can effectively help others only when he/she is motivated and aware of her/himself. Storytelling is a key moment of personal and professional development. Through it we express ourselves, declare ourselves to others and connect with them, entwining them in an exciting story. Passing on experience through stories (storytelling) is a skill, which is developed to have a transforming, motivating and inspiring effect.

Turn yourself into a story

The project’s idea is to offer a solution to the problem, related to engaging, motivating and keeping youth workers in civic organizations’ teams for a longer period of time. Practically, the “youth worker” should have a number of personal and professional skills, in order to be successful. He/she is burdened with the mission of supporting youths in hardship, working with them permanently and preventively, developing their key competences – civil, entrepreneurial, communicational, etc.on a terrain, where he/she encounters all kinds of situations. This means that he/she must first possess this complex of competences, which keeps enriching itself and demands constant learning and development, in the ever more complicated context of youth work.

The project is based on the idea that a person has to know him/herself very well, find out who he/she really is and what he/she’s best at. We believe that a person can effectively help others only when he/she is motivated and aware of her/himself. Storytelling is a key moment of personal and professional development. Through it we express ourselves, declare ourselves to others and connect with them, entwining them in an exciting story. Passing on experience through stories (storytelling) is a skill, which is developed to have a transforming, motivating and inspiring effect.

The training

Within the framework of the project, from 5th to 11th of September 2019, a seven-day training course was held in the picturesque Pirin town of Dobrinishte, Bulgaria. The training team is international, gathering professionals with experience on the subjects, who are familiar with the youth sphere, wield non-formal methods and are constantly approbating new training programs, methods and tools. 

The participants in the training were a diverse palette of interests, professional experience, skills, temperaments, worldviews, which made the training experience multidimensional and enriching. Engineers, actors, entrepreneurs, medics, psychologists, radio hosts took part in the program – some still students, others – young professionals. The crossing point between them is working with youths, including those with disabilities, which they have accepted as their cause. However, the motivation to self-analyze, develop and change, overcome their barriers and step out of their comfort zone, in order to expand it, challenge themselves, until they find the answers to their own questions, was leading for the participants.

The training was designed by VIA CIVIC’s team and is part of the mission to increase the organizational capacity of youth work. The intensive training program combines methods of informal education with the concept of personal branding, coaching, experiential modules in the mountains, improv theatre techniques and storytelling, in order to offer a unique training experience, which leads to tangible change. This integral approach could be used to accomplish different goals in life – discovering talent, finding a job, career advancement, overcoming “burnout”, motivating, starting an independent project etc.

The training

Within the framework of the project, from 5th to 11th of September 2019, a seven-day training course was held in the picturesque Pirin town of Dobrinishte, Bulgaria. The training team is international, gathering professionals with experience on the subjects, who are familiar with the youth sphere, wield non-formal methods and are constantly approbating new training programs, methods and tools.

The participants in the training were a diverse palette of interests, professional experience, skills, temperaments, worldviews, which made the training experience multidimensional and enriching. Engineers, actors, entrepreneurs, medics, psychologists, radio hosts took part in the program – some still students, others – young professionals. The crossing point between them is working with youths, including those with disabilities, which they have accepted as their cause. However, the motivation to self-analyze, develop and change, overcome their barriers and step out of their comfort zone, in order to expand it, challenge themselves, until they find the answers to their own questions, was leading for the participants.

The training was designed by VIA CIVIC’s team and is part of the mission to increase the organizational capacity of youth work. The intensive training program combines methods of informal education with the concept of personal branding, coaching, experiential modules in the mountains, improv theatre techniques and storytelling, in order to offer a unique training experience, which leads to tangible change. This integral approach could be used to accomplish different goals in life – discovering talent, finding a job, career advancement, overcoming “burnout”, motivating, starting an independent project etc.

The process – step by step

The training offered the participants an integral process of internal inversion, wherein their attitude and active participation was important. It began at the moment of mutual acquaintance and mixing of the characters in the group. It passed along the “River of Life”, so each one of them can find the excitement of different emotions from key moments of their personal story and change the perspective toward those of them, which were notable and sometimes very painful, consequently deeply hidden.

It reached “the reason to get up every morning” (ikigai), found in the crossing point of four primary elements, which the participants searched for for themselves.

Taking off masks, overcoming mistakes – our own and those of others, shifting the focus to playing, doing, acting – this was offered to the participants from the methodology of improv theatre.

The improv games unleashed the imagination, the emotions, they silenced the detrimental critic, whom we cultivate within ourselves and who stops us from taking new steps.

Training in storytelling – the skill to present ourselves to others and connect with them, to rethink ourselves and retell ourselves in a new and different way. The participants learned dramatic approaches, used in literature, cinema, theatre, through which some of the most exciting and impactful stories are created. They themselves began their stories, built upon their own experiences.

The training included an experiential walk on the paths of the Pirin mountain, in search of answers from “the wisest man on Earth”, amid silence and nature. A new focus, outside the routine and the known, earning time for ourselves and for the desires, people often silence, neglect and forget, swept away by everyday life. In the mountains the participants found their limiting beliefs, hindering their steps forward, and bravely rephrased them into positive ones. The process of finding or rediscovering oneself ended with a night under the stars, which left each participant alone with themselves, enveloped by the wisdom of the mountain.

And after that – storytelling! Sharing the experience, weaving it into stories, a game of form, content, presence, emotions…

Captivating stories, created by the participants, filled the air and proved that the world is big and stories lurk around each corner. We are the ones who can capture them and recreate them in an unforgettable way.

The process – step by step

The training offered the participants an integral process of internal inversion, wherein their attitude and active participation was important. It began at the moment of mutual acquaintance and mixing of the characters in the group. It passed along the “River of Life”, so each one of them can find the excitement of different emotions from key moments of their personal story and change the perspective toward those of them, which were notable and sometimes very painful, consequently deeply hidden.

It reached “the reason to get up every morning” (ikigai), found in the crossing point of four primary elements, which the participants searched for for themselves.

Taking off masks, overcoming mistakes – our own and those of others, shifting the focus to playing, doing, acting – this was offered to the participants from the methodology of improv theatre.

The improv games unleashed the imagination, the emotions, they silenced the detrimental critic, whom we cultivate within ourselves and who stops us from taking new steps.

Training in storytelling – the skill to present ourselves to others and connect with them, to rethink ourselves and retell ourselves in a new and different way. The participants learned dramatic approaches, used in literature, cinema, theatre, through which some of the most exciting and impactful stories are created. They themselves began their stories, built upon their own experiences.

The training included an experiential walk on the paths of the Pirin mountain, in search of answers from “the wisest man on Earth”, amid silence and nature. A new focus, outside the routine and the known, earning time for ourselves and for the desires, people often silence, neglect and forget, swept away by everyday life. In the mountains the participants found their limiting beliefs, hindering their steps forward, and bravely rephrased them into positive ones. The process of finding or rediscovering oneself ended with a night under the stars, which left each participant alone with themselves, enveloped by the wisdom of the mountain.

And after that – storytelling! Sharing the experience, weaving it into stories, a game of form, content, presence, emotions…

Captivating stories, created by the participants, filled the air and proved that the world is big and stories lurk around each corner. We are the ones who can capture them and recreate them in an unforgettable way.

Book of stories (only in English)

“Even though it only lasted a week, I feel that I learned more about myself and the World, than months before that. It was an amazing experience, which I would undoubtedly repeat again!”
Jose, Portugal

Book of stories (only in English)

“Even though it only lasted a week, I feel that I learned more about myself and the World, than months before that. It was an amazing experience, which I would undoubtedly repeat again!”
Jose, Portugal

This post is also available in: Български