First week of April, I was convokated to the On arrival -training organised by the National Agency. Normally it is organised for all ESC-volunteers before their 4th month in service. What I have heard, it is usually held in a bigger city gathering together around 100 volunteers from the whole Italy. Since it is mandatory to participate, most of the costs are covered from accommodation, travelling tickets and food. It is generally a good way to travel and discover new places during the volunteering period. There are some many people that you cannot even properly meet them all, but that is also the point: there will certainly be present like minded people with whom you basically party the 5 days.
So with these expectations, what would you guess was my reaction when I found out that the training will be held – surprise surprise – online? Well, at least I would meet new people, get familiar with different faces I am used to seeing 24/7 in Faenza. But don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those faces, in fact they are very lovely but some change is always welcome.
In these particular times, Covid-19 and stuff you know, the National Agency hasn’t been able to organize these trainings for a while so I am the only one – the chosen one – from our volunteer group to do the training this year. The lucky one or the poor one, depends on the point of view. I was of course suspended from all of my other activities because the training was full-time and actually quite intense with three different sessions everyday. I spent the week reflecting my ESC-experience, what I have learned, what I still want to learn (obviously there is still a lot of time). I got to know about the diversity of other projects going on in Italy; projects involving kids, teenagers, homeless people, women suffering from violence, environmental issues etc… Hopefully if and when the (municipality and eventually the region) borders will open again we can invite some of these people and in return, we could go exploring other wonderful parts of Italy. Of course, the interaction wasn’t how it would have been in presence but I liked these new faces.
The online implementation could have been more successful if the trainers had had more experience in operating online, but as the first on arrival -training ever organized online, it was a decent experience. I can understand that for exemple team building can be quite difficult to do online. You should also take to account that not all activities are suitable to be transferred online. Just because you have a handbook to organize a training in a traditional way, it doesn’t mean you have to do all the same things in this kind of situation.
After all, it was a nice change from my normal activities. And what did I bring home from the training? New acquaintances and a bunch of links to explore my possibilities after the ESC-period especially on an international scale. However, if there will be a mid-term evaluation reunion, I highly hope it will be in presence, because this year is all about people and human contact, isn’t it?